Something amazing has happened to me in the past year. I am waking up. I started school about a year and a half ago. (Was it that long ago? Seems like yesterday!) Since then I have come to understand so much about myself that wasn’t readily apparent in the past. Let me rephrase that: it was readily apparent; I just didn’t have the tools or the will to see it.
I am excited to be waking up, excited to realize all that I have been previously ignorant to. Yet the experience is taking me into dangerous territory, the territory of Change. Change is always a good thing if it helps you to realize your full potential, to fully be whom and what you are meant to be; but Change can destroy all the constructs of the past, the comfort of what you thought you knew, the false comfort of familiarity.
Last night I was watching television with my husband. We were watching a news report that was covering a “pay-it-forward” phenomenon in which a person at a Starbucks drive-through had paid for the coffee of the person in line behind him. This action caused an unintended trend that continued all day, in which each customer who found out their drink had already been paid for was inspired to pay for the drink of the customer behind them. When the man who instigated the movement was interviewed he said he didn’t do it as a “pay-it-forward” gesture. He did it because the man in line behind him had been hurling insults and honking his horn impatiently. He said he’d made the gesture because he was trying to be Zen-like, to balance the negativity around him with goodness, and to bring awareness to the impatient man behind him. I thought this was noble and selfless and stated my sentiments to my husband. He just snickered. I told him that this news piece was ironic for me because earlier that same day I’d been researching “Zen” on the Internet and thought I’d like to know more about it. In response to this, my husband started cracking jokes about tea. I asked him to stop, I let him know he was hurting my feelings, but he pretended to be oblivious and kept cracking jokes about tea. I put up my hand, shook my head, and walked out of the room while saying, “I can’t talk to you about this.” He acted perplexed and amused at my “hotheadedness”.
I have thought about this exchange, and in retrospect I realize he was NOT oblivious to my feeling insulted, and that he was blaming the victim (me) by suggesting that the only thing wrong with our interaction was my “hotheadedness”. I didn’t even get an apology! Instead, I’m to believe I’m too sensitive and that the problem lies within ME.
Coincidentally enough, this is certainly a situation that calls for Zen-like introspection.
So the Change has begun. I am beginning to see behavior patterns that are unhealthy in my relationships and in myself. I am beginning to see how I truly wish- no, I demand- to be treated. I am beginning to realize that it’s okay not to feel guilt over a lack of willingness to self-sacrifice anymore. I am beginning to realize that self-development was denied to me, but it’s not too late to begin.
I am beginning.