I just offered on a house here in Utah. It's sweet and small and white. I have visions of having a white room with hints of blue, my white kitchen with hints of green, and possibly a white couch...but I might be too sensible for that. It's just so beautiful.
Today, at the job I am trying SO hard to love right now, I had a moment.
The moment came in Senior English class.
I had a kids write down all the "shoulds" they get from everyone in their lives:
They should get good grades
They should go to college
They should lose weight
They should date more
They should date less
They should make new friends
They should go on a mission
They should do better
They should be more
They should be doctors
They should be football players
Then I had them write a list of all the "wants" they secretly hold in their hearts
I want to be a singer
I want to be happy
I want to my mom to leave me alone
I want to go to college, not go on a mission
I want to be a dancer
I want to learn to play the guitar
I want to be something
I want true love
I want to be peaceful
One Senior. Football player. Tall. Perfect for the sport. The epitome of a dream Quarter Back.
"I should play football."
"You don't want to play football?" I was shocked, honestly. On the outside, it seems like football is his entire life and passion.
"What do you want?"
"It's ok. This is a safe place."
" I, well, I want to do, you know, art. Like poetry. I want to be a poet." He said it in such a small whisper. And, in high school English, I have to thank God that no one laughed. They couldn't. Not when this big, hulking football player said it so clearly, so quietly, and with such emotion.
Today, a student left my classroom because I wouldn't let him use his cell phone. But it was more than that. Throwing his cell phone across the room. He left in a huff.
He went to the principal and told him that I was being cruel and mistreating the student. The principal came and pulled me out of the AP English class that I was trying desperately to understand some Old English version of Chaucer that seemed important at the time.
I left the classroom. Went into the hall. The principal allowed the student to vent. The student sat there for five minutes and called me every name in the book. He went on and on. I had no idea what to say. I had no idea what I had done to offend this kid. The principal didn't stop him, which, to me, seemed a little out of control.
After his rant he walked away to cool down. I went back into my class and tried to teach...the whole time wondering if I have chosen the wrong profession. After the class left, I called this boy's mother. We talked a long time.
She told me that he said I was mocking him and making fun of him.
I was baffled. I said, "But, Mrs. Student, I have only ever said one thing to your child in the few days I've had him in class. I told him he had one of the best memories for vocabulary that I have ever seen. I told him he was a VOCABULARY GENIUS."
"Yes, and he came home and told me that you made fun of him for being awful at vocabulary. He thought you were making fun of his lack of skills."
"I'm so confused."
"Well, the thing is, I just got him back from his father a few months ago. His father wasn't real good to him, you know. He sorta beat on him and left him to fend for himself lots of the time. And, well, I think he sorta thought you were pickin' on him cause he's never done real well in school. He's like, never really had no real compliments. So, I think he must of thought you were makin' fun of him."
Last week I thought about moving to San Fran. I did this because one person in my life (an important person) made me feel that living in Utah was probably less than what my life should be.
And I realized, after three days of debating about San Fran...that there was a more important question I should be asking.
Why do I care so much about what he thinks of me?
There is a deep part of who I am that doesn't want to disappoint the idea that he has of me. AND THAT...above any other choice I'm making right now, has totally baffled me. Hurmph.
So, I decided to take things to the extreme and examine:
At the top of one extreme is Jesus, the Prophet, or just orthodox Mormonism in general. I worshipped this extreme to the extreme. Under this extreme I was supposed to get married. I was supposed to have babies. I was supposed to give my power to a man. I was supposed to succumb. I was supposed to do A LOT of crazy shit that I never did. I failed. I failed miserably at being a good mormon girl. And while I can now give a standing ovation to that failure, for many years under the LDS umbrella, I felt pretty shitty for being such a failure. It hurt to fail that hard.
The other extreme. The most opposite thing from Mormon world I can get is the world that he represents to me. He's like the hot, chocolate Jesus of this world. This is a world of possibility, of power, of living your dreams, of knowing your dreams, of being in complete bliss with each of your actions, of being at the highest self-actualized point in life. And, there it is. And I have had glimpses of trying to tackle this world. The latest one was with BossLady. And I failed. Miserably. Terribly. And it hurt.
Now, dusting myself off again. I am taking a look at both extremes and finding where I want to fit in on the spectrum. I have, sadly, somehow made his opinion of me too high up on my list--maybe because he is male? because he is powerful?
I've gone around this week wondering why I care so much of what he thinks of me, and I guess it is because he represents so much of what I want to become....
The truth is, I have a game plan for my life--and it absolutely involves Utah at this time--but I was afraid to admit it to him.
And the reality from that is that I need to stop giving others my power and I need to trust my gut, my intuition, and my plan without doubting it when one person raises an eyebrow at it. Because if one person raising an eyebrow gets me to doubt my plan, then I need a new plan or I need to get back my power
The beautiful thing about my life right now is that I am knowing myself to my core. What if the job I took turned out to be the most horrific thing ever--who am I still? What if BossLady hates me--who am I? What if people think I bad at my job--who am I? What if Jesus isn't real and I've devoted the last 30 years of my life to him--who am I? What if the Mormon church isn't true, and my lame ass ex-boyfriend wasn't attracted to me, and my parents were sort of shitty, and I was abused as a kid, and my best friend betrayed me, and my paycheck isn't very big...then who the fuck am I? And if I can have a solid answer and know myself fully after all of that...and leave room for growth and freedom and changing my plans as I grow and change, well, then, San Fran may come and it may not...but I'll still be me :)
It is in every psychological thriller. Take someone sane. And then. Through a series of related and unrelated events. Make them believe that they are crazy. Make them believe that they are so crazy that the only person who can help shed any light on what is happening is the one person that made them "crazy" in the first place.
This, in fact, has a term. It is called gaslighting. I'd never heard of it before now. I never needed to know it's definition. But as I sift through what I saw my former boss (who we will just call BossLady) do to all of the women who came to her for help, I am now aware that this is what was happening.
The official definition:
Gaslighting is an extreme form of emotional, psychological, abuse, and as such, gradually erodes the victim’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem (or, in the case of BossLady--prays upon those with already destroyed self-esteems), with the outcome being; self-confidence destroyed. Alas, the victim adopts a confused, disorientated stance and thus renders herself exposed, moreso, to criticism and judgment. Henceforth, the roles are quite clear: the victim is considered “crazy” (mentally deranged) whilst the abuser is the “suffering soul.”
Then, if you're BossLady. Make claims that you are the only one who can heal them. And take their money. And then send them home unhealed and worse than before.
The NUMBER 1 tool of an emotional manipulator is to get others to trust YOU and not their "gut" (or intuition, or feelings, or reactions).
You have instincts. They are real. If your gut tells you that there is something off with one person in your life, but they allow you to feel normal and safe with the rest of your world. Think about it. Victims shouldn't exist. And they won't if we don't allow it.
I have the smallest handful of people who take the time to read my blog. To me, that is priceless. I love it. I love that you share in my life. I love that you go through some part of my journey with me. I love going through yours with you. So, here it goes, I'm finally ready to talk about this year. And I hope, honestly, that you can learn something from the hard lessons I have learned....without EVER having to go through them yourself.
I've had a year that basically started with everyone saying that I had the dream job. I was living and working in Switzerland and gallivanting off to Portugal, Norway, Italy, and France. It certainly contains echoes of perfection.
What I have never talked about was the nature of the work I did, the types of people I became exposed to, and the reason why I eventually had to quit and leave everything to come back home to America with a very large NOTHING staring me in the face.
Yesterday, two very interesting things happened. Well, actually, two very ordinary and uninteresting things happened.
1) I got a pedicure.
2) I saw Eat, Pray, Love with my girlfriends.
Not earth shattering by any means.
Here is how they processed out in my brain.
When you see the beginning of Eat, Pray, Love (and I'm not giving anything away here). Liz Gilbert gets told by a medicine man in Bali that she will have two marriages, that she will lose all of her money, and that she will return to Bali one day as a different person.
And she did.
And it turned out to be the most amazing experience of her life--bringing happiness, love, joy, and wealth.
I was standing in a random train line in Rome last June and I met a lady. A magical lady. A lady who was gracious, charming, loving, sweet, and made you feel the best possible way you can feel about yourself in her presence. She was famous. She was well-known. And, this lady, after spending one hour in line with me in Rome, offered me a job for the rest of the summer. I was thinking about it. I wasn't sure. I agreed to one month.
And once I agreed to the one month, she looked at me and said, "I know that you will come and work for me forever. You will come to my clinic in Switzerland and Portugal. You will."
And she said it with so much love and kindness, that I sort of felt my gut reacting to her, and I believed it was true. And I made the decision to go, because that is how you live life in large ways (like I like to do). And yet, before I took the job, I had very real, nagging moments that this was not going to end well. But, I pushed that aside, dubbed it by the name of "fear", and went on my way.
And so, I did it.
And it turned out to be the most heartbreaking, psychotic, emotionally manipulative time in my entire life.
And because I made the decision to go there. And it turned out so horrifically...I am finding it hard for me to make any decisions at all. At all. None. I'm a bit at a paralyzed standstill.
Thus, the pedicure. They gave me 50 colors of nail polish to choose from. I couldn't, for the life of me, make a decision. I finally choose one that was something completely different I have ever tried before.
The lady said, "May I be honest with you, I don't think this is a good color for your skin tone. Perhaps you can choose another one?" I got a little frustrated and stubborn and told her it was the exact one that I wanted...even though part of me knew that she was right.
And now, looking down at my toes. She was right. And while the nail polish is only a metaphor for my thoughts, it's just this small nagging reminder that I didn't follow my gut.
So, what happens when you keep making decisions that turn out badly? Because, for me, this has never happened before.
I'm a traveling super nova...living, working, loving, and breathing. I love the way a good Scottish accent sounds, I love singing in the kitchen while I cook, I dream in iambic pentameter (a side effect of all the Shakespeare plays I have directed), my favorite book shops are in Paris and Boston. I am trying to learn the art of feng shui. I like gratitude.