Well if you have been reading this blog, you probably know I have a lot of time to think and self-reflect. I’m in limbo until I am certified to drive with hand-controls, so unless it’s a trip to LR or the occasional trip out for fun, I don’t leave much.
It’s hard. Being alone this much. You get to know yourself and sometimes you find out things you don’t like.
Self-reflection is necessary for growth. I had this theory my entire life that people are born and they are either evil, neutral or good.. or at least have a pre-disposition to fall into one of those 3 categories. I don’t believe that anymore. While yes, I do believe there are angels among us, as well as truly evil people, I think we are all capable being good, evil or neutral, which is really just a another word for being apathetic. You know, you don’t hurt anyone, but you don’t really help anyone either.
I’ve had to analyze my life so much lately, with so many negative changes and losses. I think I’ve come to realize somethings I truly didn’t know about myself. Some good, some bad.
I was never an athlete, never beautiful, never artistic or creative, but I was always a good story-teller and considered intelligent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ugly. I’m not weak and I actually can draw decently, but these weren’t my strengths. Every teacher I’ve ever had, written in bold red on the report card, “Joey is capable of so much more, he just doesn’t apply himself”.
I learned, as most divorced kids do very early on to adapt. To change with the situation and eventually to make the situation work to my advantage.
I could talk my way into or out of anything. Don’t get me wrong, the ability to effectively communicate is a gift, but when it’s a gift forged in turmoil, it can become a weapon. I learned early on to identify the weaknesses in others and exploit them when necessary.
One thing I can honestly say, I truly do care about the people I love. I value friendships and relationships more than I probably should sometimes. I’ve heard it said, your harshest critic is usually your best friend and I’ve played that role with people I cared about, much to my detriment.
Understand though, in my own way, it was out of love for that person. Watching someone destroy themselves, you want to intervene, my method of intervention wasn’t always the best, so for that, I can only apologize. I don’t think I need to call out who this is for, but know this, I am proud of you, your accomplishments and who you became as a man my friend and I am sorry that I pushed you this far away. I hope one day, we can rekindle our friendship, as I truly miss having you in my life.
And there is my first sin, pride. I always think I know best. My favorite quote was, “I can manage anybody elses life and make it perfect, but I can’t manage my own”. Because my intelligence was what was praised above all else, it became my most valued attribute. I used it to make a lot of money over the years, this ended up become my second sin. Greed.
I was so wasteful of my money, that I worked so hard for, because the little boy in me, who was never that good at sports, never the best looking and the classic under-achiever, felt an uncontrollable need to show you all that I was something and someone special. So the more I acquired, the more you would see how special I was. How nice my truck or my motorcycle or my W2 was began to define me. I forgot that I didn’t come from much money and that honestly, I never gave much of a care if people had it or didn’t. Please don’t think I ever looked down on those that didn’t have what I had, that was not the case at all, in fact I relished in helping others, I always have, but I loved to show off what I had, to validate myself with a hot tub my ex helped me buy or a huge house. All of these things I believed were extensions of my worth as a person. I forgot that your value as a person comes from listening to people when they need to be heard, laughing with your friends and enjoying your life, rather than telling them how rich you are. I forgot that women who want you because of the size of your house will never stay by your side during the hard times and those that could careless about your bank account, but by how you treat them are the greatest treasures a man could ever be lucky enough to have by his side.
My greatest sin, however, was not my pride or the greed that spawned from my insecurities, it has and probably always will be my wrath.
I have hurt people, women emotionally and men physically, due to my anger. God gave me a lot of skills, my ability to analyze a person is scary sometimes and in my anger, I’ve unjustly used that skill to break down people based on their greatest insecurities. I have an uncanny ability to identify what a person is most ashamed of and in my anger, use that to inflict the most amount of pain possible.
The sad thing is, I take no personal joy in this ability. I never have said a mean thing I didn’t want to apologize for almost instantly after saying it. It’s something I hate about myself and I realize it comes from having only a mouth and a mind to protect myself as a child. It wasn’t easy being the youngest kid in class or the skinniest and having a big goofy buck tooth smile. The divorced kid in me adapted and honed a very evil trait, the ability to take a person to their core and expose all their insecurities. It’s a defense mechanism, but it’s no excuse. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Recently I’ve done this to someone I loved and if I could, I’d take it all back and unsay every word. If they do read this, know that I don’t mean what I say in anger, I never have, I just react, because I hate to be hurt and you hurt me very deeply, whether you meant to or not. It’s no excuse, I’m done making excuses for bad behaviors.
Now if you are still reading this, you are probably thinking I’m the devil by now, but understand that this goes to my earlier point, we are all capable of being all things at one time another.
Though my pride in my intelligence wasn’t always a good thing, it also allowed me to lead a good amount of people through some very tricky situations. I’ve used this gift to try my best to be a good and loyal friend and give the best advice I could, which has in some cases really changed the course of the lives of those who sought it from me, for the better.
As for my greed, I’m not selfish with my things, if I have it and we are friends, you do too if you need it. Be it money, a place to stay or food in your belly. About the only thing I won’t give you is my lucky cigarette. This also has changed the course of lives for the better. I’ve been there for people who others had written off as a lost cause who turned out to be more successful than any one else I know and though it may be prideful, I am so proud that I was able to be apart of the success they achieved through the simple act of sharing what I acquired.
Finally, as to my wrath, while it’s never done anything but push those away I love, my ability to read people has given me another gift. I see people for who they truly are and I can usually tell a good person from a bad person. Though I may not have done this as much as I should and plan to do this as often as I can from now on, I can see the strength in others they sometimes they don’t even know they possess. I know I have the ability to motivate others to do great things, because I see them through a clear lens. My logical and analytical nature allows me to bypass their own self-perception, negative or positive and see them for who they truly are 99% of the time and though I may struggle with wrath, I am also sympathetic and empathetic to a fault and when I see someone needs a boost, I am quick to provide it.
The one gift I have that I am proud of, is my ability to forgive. Very few people have ever been on my shit-list for longer than a few days. I think I know how shitty I have been in the past and that allows me to empathize with people who have wronged me.
So now that I have truly learned these things about myself and for the first time analyzed them, what they have given and taken from me, what now?
I know I need to develop patience. Time is a healer and a gift. I know that I need to stop caring what others think about what I have and more about what I have to offer as a person, be it a friend or a relationship.
I need to be forever kind and even though I do have a dark sense of humor, sensitive to those around me who may not.
Finally, I vow to try my hardest to never again hurt someone I love or care about my words (and in my current paralyzed condition, I doubt any of you dudes who may not like me have to worry about me kicking your ass, lol).
So with all that said, if I have ever hurt you, regardless of who you are, I apologize, sincerely. For anyone I’ve wronged, I apologize and I really hope I have the chance to make it up to you.
All I can do at this point, is be the best version of myself, to learn that I control me and only me. I control what I say, how I react and nothing more. How others react, what they say or do, is not for me to control or even judge. Hopefully I will be the person I want to be, the kind of person people depend on and call when they need a friend. Hopefully when I meet the one, I’ll be able to give her what I failed in other relationships, a true partner who lifts them up, not breaks them down and someone they can depend on, loyal and faithful until my last breath.
I used to see some of these things as weaknesses, I now realize after 36 years, my greatest weakness was failing to recognize the flaws in myself that I so easily saw in others.
The truth is, we are all flawed, we are all angels and devils, some of us just embrace one side more than the other, for whatever our reasons and all I can do now is do my very best to embrace the good that I know is in my heart and realize that everyone is fighting a battle, whether they throw it out there for the world like I do, or keep it inside.