I only have two steps left on my 12 step journey to self-esteem growth, which is insane! I can’t believe this – considering I’ve done two posts on nearly every step. A part of me is grieving its approaching end. It echoes the wave of emotion I’ve felt when a set of counselling sessions comes to an end. You know you’ve put in the work and that you want to move forward independently but the routine and catharsis is so great that you wonder how you’ll cope without it. Luckily, I can still carry on with my blog after I finish the 12-step format but for the time being, I’m not ready to bring it to a close; so those two steps (self forgiveness and self permission) will have to wait until I feel ready to write about them.
In the meantime, I’m still continuing with my spiritual practice to the best of my ability – whether that means meditating and writing every day or only once a week depending on where I’m at mentally – and this always provides plenty of inspiration and material for me to write. Lately I’ve been working with the intention to notice when walls come up. By this I mean those moments when you start feeling averted to someone, frowning at them and just feeling like you cannot relate to them. Working in a bar, I feel this pretty often. For me, I feel it the most when I think that someone is ridiculing me or being condescending. It’s very easy to think: “Well this person is an asshole – fuck them!” I think this perspective can, in some ways, tie in with the idea of only surrounding yourself with positive people — no, wait, hear me out! Of course you want to be around people who love and appreciate you, what I mean is shutting people out that you cannot relate to and that you view as being “negative” or “difficult”. In some cases, these dynamics and interactions can be very toxic and in other cases, they can provide an opportunity for you to analyse your reactions and ask yourself: “Is it really the other person that is the problem here, or is it me and my ego?” Anyone who knows me will probably think that it’s funny I’m exploring this because I can be very irritable and judgemental. I’m getting better all the time but I certainly used to struggle with it a whole lot. I’ve hurt people close to me with my irritability and intolerance, I’ve jumped to conclusions and written people off – utilising black and white thinking more than any person should. In part, these traits are inherited from my father and in part, it’s just been me. I think I need to write about this more. Painting myself in a positive light has never been the intention of this blog but in writing about nurturing the more loving and resilient aspects of myself, I feel I might have fabricated this idea that I’m serene and kind all the time: This. Is. Not. True.
Once on Twitter, and it will likely stay in my mind forever, I criticised a singer I didn’t like because I got angry that everyone was praising her. She works from SoundCloud, like I do, and has a very loyal fanbase. It’s far bigger than mine and she uploads fairly regularly. She works with producers I dream of working with and I’ve just never liked her vocal delivery. It would be easy to say that it’s all down to jealousy but I genuinely don’t feel inspired by anything I’ve heard of hers. And I could’ve left it at that but when I saw one of these producers tweeting about how he thought her voice was the most beautiful thing he’d ever heard – I felt compelled to say something. I said that, conversely, I thought her voice was one of the blandest I’d heard and tried to balance it by saying “I’m sure she’s a lovely person”….so, not very kind right? And that was only a couple of months ago. The main reason I’m mentioning this is because one of her fans who replied to me angrily challenged me with asking how I could “blog about being kind” and then say something like that. This irritated me. Writing a blog about trying to become a better person does not mean that I am perfect but it still made me feel a fraud. It made me feel that, in some way, on this blog I am pretending. I initially thought that I was in the right – that there was nothing wrong with expressing my opinion in this way and that I was deconstructing an echo chamber formed of identical opinions; but feelings of guilt plagued me on and off for weeks until I DM’d the singer personally to apologise. I had a wall up between myself and her, a wall up between myself and her fans and those walls were composed mainly of opinions and my strong identification with them. And because of these walls I lashed out and brought more negativity into the world instead of love. That whole situation was a learning curve for me. It prompted me to make the New Year’s resolution to not say negative things about people on the internet. I slip up sometimes but I’m overall a lot more careful about the things that I say.
Recognising and dealing with walls in real life rather than in virtual life can be a lot more difficult. I was thinking about this at work on Saturday. One member of staff in particular was bringing out strong reactions from me. I think it’s because, in my opinion, she’s very abrupt, very contrary and I also find her quite volatile. I never know the sort of reaction I’m going to get from her. At one point during the night, I was scraping plates clean in the kitchen and “With Every Heartbeat” by Robyn was playing. I find this song really moving so I commented saying that I though it was a sad song. The staff member countered saying: “Not at all!” I’m laughing thinking about it because there really is no denying that it is a sad song – it’s about an incredibly painful break-up. I tried to explain myself further saying: “I didn’t say I didn’t like it, it’s just really emotional.” She replied saying, “Well that’s a better fucking word than ‘sad’!” I thought about this encounter for the rest of the night, trying to understand why she reacted the way she did and, more importantly, why it had irritated me so much. I realised that this person was probably in my life to teach me something but I just didn’t know what yet and I didn’t know how to learn from my irritability. I still don’t know. I saw a quote on Twitter the other day:
“Anything which is troubling you, anything which is irritating you, THAT is your teacher.” – Ajahn Chah
I’m trying to keep this in my head as I examine the walls I build around myself and hopefully through more meditation and self reflection, I’ll begin to understand where these feelings come from and what fuels the fear at the root of these walls.
Thank you for reading!
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx