Schooled

We all think about ourselves first and foremost. What benefits us. What irritates us. What we love and what we dislike. And in doing so are really selfish. When we only consider how things affect us and us alone, is how we come to live in a society of ‘It’s not my fault.’ ‘I didn’t do it.” ‘Well he did it to me so I had to do it back.’  And it is hard to think beyond ourselves, our families, our little world to the world at large.
Once upon a time I only did what I had to do. I never looked beyond that. Garbage not quite full, well leave it for the next person. Sink full of dishes as I did not have time to wash them. A load of product to be tended to, they don’t do anything anyways. Selfish. What was easiest for me. And I have to be honest I am not sure what changed me or when, I only know that I made a switch in the way that I was thinking.
I went from it being all about me to being about the life around me. I began to think how the things I did affected people long after I have gone. How when I left unfinished work, garbage, dishes to be done, I was putting others behind in their tasks. When I didn’t clean up after myself, the person coming behind me would have to clean up my mess. And how was that even right? Why on earth should I be leaving tasks undone? I had more than enough time. I needed to structure better.
Now I am working to ensure that T is learning this. How his actions affect not only himself and me but his friends, his dad, even our neighbors. He still does not quite get it, after all he is 9, but he will.
I have so many things that I want to teach T about being a good person. How we should not lie. How we need to be polite and say please and thank you. To be pleasant and kind. To help others. To be respectful. To stand up for others. To not bully.
T schooled me this week. We had a small incident with the neighbor boy. He made a comment about me that was not appreciated. T decided that he no longer wanted to play with this boy. And I was giving him excuses to use. Little white fibs to make this boy feel better that T did not want to play with him. Because we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings even if they have hurt ours.
Finally T looked at me and said ‘mom I will just tell him that I do not want to play with him. I don’t need to lie.’ Okay, have to admit that I was a little embarassed when I realized what I was doing. I was perpetuating this idea of not wanting to hurt someone so tell a little white fib. This is the only time that it is alright to lie. Yet, on the other hand, I was preaching to T that he should not lie. He needed to be truthful. I was not acting the way I was speaking.
The doorbell rang and T went up the stairs. I heard the low hum of voices but could not make out what was said. T came back down into the apartment and I looked at him. Asked what that was all about. Sure enough the boy had come to ask T if he wanted to play with him. T told him no he did not want to play with him. The boy asked why.
This is where my child schooled me. This is his response to the boy:
“You were disrespectful towards my mom. And that is not right.”
I stared at my little boy and my heart nigh on burst with pride. I had tears in my eyes. I repeated over and over to him that I was so proud and his little cheeks flamed red. He came over and gave me a huge hug. I text the Ex to tell him what T had done. He responded with ‘Tell him I am proud to be his dad.’
My 9 year old son has more courage than I do. He saw a situation that he felt was wrong and he dealt with it. Not by fibbing to spare the other person’s feelings, but spearing directly to the reason why.
Not teling someone that you think the dress they are wearing or the hair color they have is not your cup of tea, you will hedge how you say it. For the most part I can find a compliment as the person feels good about themselves and it is not up to us to tell them that they are wrong. The other times I can’t I fall back on the tried and true momism: ‘If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.’
The pride I feel for T and how he handled the situation is indescribable. The maturity he showed and the fact that he stuck to his guns about not fibbing. And is that not what I want? Do I not want T to have these attributes? I do. Having boundaries that he is not willing to compromise. (See yesterday’s reblog about when to compromise and when not to by Grateful Single Moms.) Truth and respect. Bravery and strength of conviction. It is not my actions that T needs to mimic, it is I who needs to implement his.

Evolution

I am a dweller. When I have been through a situation, I will look at it from every angle to see where I could have done better. And will still be looking at that same situation three weeks later. I go over and over it in my head. It is the same with conversations that I know are forthcoming.
One of the steps in my counselling is learning to be present. Be in the moment. Once a situation is done it is done. No amount of dwelling on it is going to make a difference. As for the future, I am unable to predict that let alone know what is going to be said and how I will respond. So I need to learn not to dwell. Something I have done my entire life.
Yesterday as I was getting ready for my appointments, I began to think ahead to when I return to work. What that is going to be like. How will…….and I stopped. I shoved my face into the water, felt it cascade over my skin. Felt my wet hair clinging to my shoulders. My hands on my face. And the inside voice began: ‘Jay you are stopping this. You do not know what is going to be said. This does you no good to think about it.’ and like that, it vanished. The thoughts lol, not the voice.
In the evening when my Ex dropped off bread and milk for us, he was pretty curt to me. Thrust the two items at me and left even as I was saying thank you. I put the milk and bread away and asked T what was wrong with his dad. I know I should not have. T had no idea. And he had been off on Sunday too. I began to dwell. Trying to imagine what I had done or said that had upset him.
After a little while of this I realized what I was doing and shot off a long message to K1 (BFF in the United States). I explained to her what was going on. And as I did, the need to justify or figure out what his deal was, was not mine to make. I am no longer responsible for him. I no longer need to be concerned when his nose is out of joint. I only need to be concerned about what  T and me are doing. And as I did, it vanished.
This morning while working out, I began to think ahead again. To what I do not know. I had the same conversation with myself. I am responsible for myself and my actions. I do not know what someone will say to me or do in any situation I may find myself in so why do I bother dwelling on it? That doing so is not good. And as I had this conversation I could feel the beads of sweat that threaded along my temple. My hair glued to my back. The wet spot on my tank top. And I came back to now.
There are some exceptions to the thinking ahead and that is when you are planning something. A holiday to Mexico. Your wedding. The birth of your child. Submitting your work to a magazine.  To look ahead and imagine what that future looks like is normal. And exciting. That is not dwelling.
I really am proud of myself. I use that word a lot don’t I? The truth is though, that I never have really been proud of myself. I lacked the confidence and really felt as though I was not deserving of my own pride. I use to think I took pride in doing a great job at work, but that is who I am. It is an ethic that is ingrained in me. I learned it from my mom.  I take pride in T and all that he has accomplished but did not feel proud that I have been instrumental in this development.
Now though, as the days and weeks go by and I am learning about myself, I am beginning to feel proud. Proud that I believe in myself and that I am worthy of everything I want. Within reason obviously, wanting a castle, a pet dragon and a King to sweep me off my feel although well deserved is not going to happen. 🙂 Proud that I have not self-medicated in almost 60 days. 2 more days.
I am learning that I am stronger than I ever thought that I was. That I can look at myself see what is needed to change and go for it. Yesterday, I was telling my counsellor how after trying to teach T ’80’s’ math I started to flip through the pages. The first 15 or so pages were about addiction. A poem that I was trying to write. In 2015. Even then I knew but I was not at the bottom yet. Had not reached the point where my self-loathing came with a price that I had to pay.
I am going day by day. I am sorry to all who read this I bounced around a little bit. I am a woman on a journey. A growth that is spiritual in my own way, creative, as a mother and friend. I have come a long way in 60 days from who I was.
“I am a woman with dreams that I am finally ready to persue. I am beginning to think that this is my evolution and I am awakening from hibernation.”-Me today to a friend about myself.
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