“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you.”
One of my beloveds chronically gets smashed, headfirst, into the concrete of other people’s opinions. Today I wondered how much longer it would feel satisfying to come alongside and scrape the dust off him, showing him the shards and deconstructing with him the fact from the truth.
How often are we tape recorders playing back what we think, what we feel and who we are?
I have done so much work on this subject it is tip toeing on the edge of annoying me.
When I heard my daughter echo back to me, “No one chooses to have a lousy day. No one wakes up and says, ‘Today I am going to have a sucky day and I will make everyone I encounter have a sucky day, too.”
It was like I was standing in a mirror staring at myself. She took me aback. She has been listening all these years, hiding behind a shadow of indifference? Could she be sharing my words with others? I pray it is only ones like these, not others that I am afraid were spoken in haste, without much conscious thought.
I wonder how many parents look at their children in the morning and say, “Well, don’t you look awful? You shouldn’t expect chocolate milk with your lunch today because it is just not coming… for you anyway…”
I remember one of those defining parent conversation moments when my mother told me the story of my conception. I was thirteen years old and at the height of self loathing when she informed me I was a product of complete birth control failure.
I wasn’t only unplanned, my parents tried to be sure I wouldn’t be born. Granted, they didn’t know this me was me precisely, but they didn’t want a baby.
Somehow, even at my age of total personality malfunction I had the fortitude to cover that label of “I am a product of birth control failure” with “I must have a special, unique purpose to live – and that’s why I was conceived in spite of birth control failure.”
On really bad days, the other label still comes up, but there is a higher knowing that says, “This isn’t true and you know it.”
I don’t know quite how to help my beloved “get” this.
Is helping him “get it” part of my special, unique purpose or is it more self-imprisonment because as a product of birth control failure, I somehow need to earn my way out of the "unwanted" label?
I ask that rhetorically, please don’t surround me with well meaning advice or concern.
Responsibility is such a heavy word. My shoulders clench just hearing or reading it.
Today, excuse me dear Adrienne Rich, I will replace it with “Honoring…”. Let’s try it on:
Honoring yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you.
Somehow that feels better to me. It feels more right to me. It feels like something I can work with alongside my dear friend, who is a significant part of my life.
I will continue to listen for divine wisdom concerning when the honoring myself no longer corresponds to honoring him.
This makes me curious: how will you honor yourself today?
How will you speak for yourself, think for yourself, claim and name for yourself?
What will you make “honoring yourself” mean?
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© 2013 by Julie Jordan Scott