Saturday, November 3, 2012

Watch Your Step

  So I was out and about today. Running errands and being productive. While I was taking care of some paperwork at a help desk in a store I frequent often, I came across a clerk with such a sour attitude. You know the kind. She was radiating unhappiness and a bad temper. She was snappy and gruff. Asking the same few questions and not listening to the answers. Caught up in whatever was causing her turmoil. I took a half step towards the bitch that lives inside me. She peeks out wanting to get involved. To set this woman straight. But I did not. I took a deep breath and let her spin. I used patience, I do not always have and I bit my tongue. My temper was not needed. My ability to be a bitch on a grand scale was nothing to be proud of. And it would certainly not help this situation. I smiled as I handed her the forms. When she tersely asked for the money needed to finish our business. I calmly, with a nice smile pointed out that she was already holding it in her hand. I had given it to her with the paperwork. She said nothing. Just continued in her bad mood and I let her. I thanked her for her help and wished her a good day. She did not smile or answer me. And I left it at that. I do not know what dark valley she is standing in and I cannot bring her out. But, I do not have to shove her down. I do not have to add to her  mean season.

  I am growing. I can tell. I have always been quick to take up armor. The first to slice deep into an aggressor. I used  to say often. " I am not going to let anyone out bitch me" I had been through so much and I was not one to take a passive approach. I am not known for letting someone else attack me. No, I am usually the one who would say "you work in costumer service, act like it." Or some equally abrasive thing. But there is no great gift in returning in kind another's rude behavior. It is nothing to be proud of. And those few short moments when I would have felt vindicated. That I would have smiled inwardly for thumping her right back, are not enough. You see every time I land a blow, no matter how well deserved, I feel guilty. For days I will chastise myself.Angry that I let someone change my behavior. Upset that I stooped down to give a smack. Even as it may be warranted, it is wrong. That is not who I strive to be. that is not who am.

  Now, last week I had another chance. And that time I failed. I said something that was misinterpreted. By a few people who I thought knew me better. I tried to explain my meaning. But to no avail. I got hurt and then angry. How could I be so misunderstood? I was upset that someone would think so little of me as to even think what I was being accused of was even remotely possible? I was offended. I felt attacked and hurt. And then a few people, the really smart ones that I know, they gave me support and wise words. I knew they were right. I had been faced with a person who do not know me at all questioning my motives. Accusing me of a very mean thing. One that had never crossed my mind. At first I took their opinion and tried to think how they could ever believe that I could don that itchy, ill fitting personality that they had picked out for me. Coming from the place I came from, I seem to take everything to heart. I had t regroup. To remember no one else defined me. That the image they are projecting is a reflection of them. Where they are, what they feel and that it has nothing whats so ever to do with me.

  I am still working on things. Everyday is another chance to hone my skills. To be kind when it is not easy. To stay calm and not get drawn into a disagreement I do not wish to have. The hardest thing to do is to control the one thing we can control, ourselves. I am learning to walk away from conflict. To not  attend every argument I am invited to. That is a very hard thing. I have been fighting my entire life. What does a warrior do without a battle to wage? I must become that peacemaker I always wanted to be. I will keep my armor at arms length. I do not need to wear it always. I do not need to protect myself from those that I love. It is a very big "tell". That constant weight that draws my shoulders down. The pain is right there. So easily seen. That in it's self is reason to lay it down. The one thing that every abuse victims strives for is to blend in. To hide that scars.

  So, I will keep at it. I will try harder. I will not look for conflict. I will give more leeway. These are the things I must practice. I must become an expert in the art of peace. I am fluent in the language of war. It is no great talent. Wielding my words, so sharp and cutting. Comes so simply to me. But words have power and while I can damage so quickly with them, I do not have the power to heal up that wound. The one I create with a careless lob of ridicule. A badly placed remark. They can ruin so much. I am always astonished at the effect they have. I will walk more carefully. Gingerly picking my way through this world filled with so many others who are hurting. I must be careful were I place my feet. We are moving forward. Walking into a new day. One with less pain and more love. I hope you will come with me. All I ask is that you too watch your step. There are so many ways to misstep. Lets have an adventure, shall we?

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