“If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes the next time.” ~Nadine Stair
I received a letter in the mail this week. My address was handwritten, and I immediately knew who the sender was, and what that letter was about. My heart definitely started to tremble and beat more quickly as I stared at the very familiar script and the letterhead, wondering if I wanted to break that seal, wondering if I wanted to remember.
You see, this is the letter I wrote to myself on my last day of Miraval, in my final moments of a journey I took to the southern part of the state to go on a journey to try to find myself after allowing myself to accept I had let myself lose myself (ugh, I know! I so border on overly pedantic at times — I can’t really help that, though, for I believe it’s in my nature). I vaguely remembered the gist of what I had to say (to myself), and all I could recall was a bunch of “you’re stronger than this, you can overcome this, you will trust a man again, you will trust yourself again, you will forgive him… you will forgive yourself… and you’re strong! go girl!”
blah, blah, blah, bullshit…. The cheers we try to give ourselves when what we really want is to shuffle around a condo eating as much Ben & Jerry’s as possible… okay when I want to….
Well, not really, I think if I am going to be my worst critic and prosecutor I should also be my best advocate and strongest lobbyist, too. It’s only fair to have some of that balance. But, staring at the envelope bearing my name and address, written in my handwriting, I wondered if I really wanted to read what wisdom I thought I needed on January 2, 2011.
I feared an artificial pep talk, that might have felt good at the beginning of the year, before I lost Chloe, before I lost Pe-Pere, before I stumbled into Guy, before I let go of Parker (also known as Rugby Fellow), before I pulled the disappearing act on my friends, before work got — just — insane. At the beginning of April it felt as if I’d already had so much in the year and haven’t jumped off that playground structure that would spin and spin and spin to try to come over the dizziness and regain clarity and orientation of what I see.
I took a big inhale (BIG, BIG, LONG inhale) and exhaled, heavily. I opened the letter, and I started to read.
I kind of got a glimpse into why my friends frequently express amazement and surprise at what actions I do and words I let out of my mouth. I surprised myself. It wasn’t all bullshit. And who would have thought something I had to say to myself three months ago, from a completely different perspective with life, not yet exposed to my losses, stress, and new discovery that would be completely relevant? I guess, I do surprise myself when I realize I’m relevant… if anything, I consider myself random. And that’s fine, I totally embrace my randomness… it’s who I am (Sam I am, right?). OH! And in addition to the randomness is a (slight) penchant for being quite dramatic (Moi? Absa-frigging-lutely!)
An excerpt: … and you took that step… you let yourself go there. You let yourself expose your vulnerability and fear, and in the end, it was all okay. Everyone wanted you to be okay, and you were. And you have a lot of people in your life now who will be there to support you, who will be there to check to make sure you are safe. But you have got to check the safety harness yourself. Stop the blind faith. Parker was that message getting louder and louder — listen this time so the next… you don’t want to miss your chance for… because you were too busy/closed/scared to let the right… near you.
My words were written with so much more love and forgiveness to myself than I gave myself credit for being able to give to me. I like to talk up a great big game about valuing myself – I even lecture others about loving and prioritizing themselves…. But, I really have to tell you, I blamed myself for Parker. I was actually starting to believe that I must have somehow deserved the fallout… at the very least, my uncanny ability to make remarkably bad decisions regarding men was a reflection on me, and that Parker’s damage was the penance I had to pay for my mistakes. And, the truth is, I make mistakes! Particularly with men (hopefully not with Guy, I actually suspect not, I really hope not)! Phenomenally messy, comedically tragic, public service broadcast HUGE MISTAKES with men… usually, my friends and I do laugh at the follies… because, usually, they are frigging funny fallouts and make for excellent fodder over cocktails and sweets.
So, why are we generally more forgiving t others than to ourselves? Why is it, we will somehow validate a nasty thought that we would deserve something bad to happen to us, when we would wrap our arms around the shoulder of another in consolence?
I make mistakes, and that’s my nature. And although I wouldn’t have credited myself with being a forgiving woman, apparently forgiving might become a new forte of mine, soon to be in my nature? And, so, what’s the mistake… if we are willing to (finally, or maybe not) learn a lesson?