Jack and I got into a huge argument the other day. Both of us were basically saying, “There is something seriously wrong with you!” This doesn’t happen all that often (we have minor and petty grievances, against each other, on a regular basis) but this one was big. I took a drive and found the old default tape playing (in my mind). It goes something like,
“This is a problem that cannot be solved. We are just too different. Jack might be a good person (although at the time I am doubting this statement) but we are not compatible. I made a mistake marrying him, it was too fast, I wasn’t listening to my guidance back then when we got together. I was too desperate, lonely, should have known better…..”
And this talk could go on and on, and in the past it has. But I now know that this “tape” is my mental escape hatch. When I’m really angry it’s where my mind goes.
But one day I unmasked it and saw it for what it was: fear. And this fear is saying, “You are trapped (in something bad) and you did it to yourself.” This tape didn’t start with Jack either. I can remember feeling the same way in my teens, except the person/people who I wanted to get away from, were my parents.
What I have seen, during these times of anger/fear, is the one I want to get away from is me.
It is the thought that I am trapped, that traps me. And it is true. I remain trapped until I change my thoughts. Mind you, at the time, I do not want to change my thoughts. It feels like the hugest exercise in self-will to think a different thought, and thinking a positive thought about Jack? Well that feels like a slap in the face. But I do it anyway, because finally, even when I’m in the middle of a fit, a little voice says, “You know that you can’t live like this, and you are going to have to stop it eventually, so why not now?” This starts the process of changing my old self-talk, and then Jack and I also talk: we talk about our fears, we talk about our old tapes, and we talk about what we are doing right. At some point in all of this, we usually end up laughing at our own foolishness/humanness.
As I was writing today, Jack said, “Feel free to share my “tape” too. So here is a snippet of his default tape:
“I don’t need this! I should have stayed single. I don’t need this thorn in my side. I have plenty of friends, I’ve got a great dog. I want to be able to come and go as I please. I don’t have to answer to her. Being single is a lot easier…..”
One common thought is, “I don’t need this!”….and yet we do. We do need this, because this is life. This is pushing us to the edges of our small, little, self-defined boxes. And this is giving us the choice to stay small or to expand into more life….and we are both so grateful to finally have this awareness, and to be able to laugh at ourselves.
“The only nice thing about being imperfect is the joy it brings to others.” Doug Larson