2015 is a pivotal year for me. I decided to take stock of my life, my past failures and successes and examine where I went wrong. Things, events, thoughts that I pushed to the back of my mind because I was too embarrassed and too ashamed to think about them were excavated for post mortems. Some of these recollections would provoke a physical reaction that that awful feeling at the pit of my stomach, as if it’s happening all over again. It got so bad that I had to ‘pretend’ that some events never took place so that I wouldn’t think of them.
I examined why I have not excelled more in my life and why I haven’t achieved what I set out to do and why I always abandoned by goals mid way through them. I realized that my follow-through ratio was appalling and I was ashamed about that too. I was basically ashamed of everything that didn’t go right in my life and I always took the blame for it because I believed in total accountability of one’s actions. I didn’t do the victim thing where I blamed everyone and their grandma for my personal failings, I blamed me, the buck stops with me and that’s a mark of character. But as I took on the burden of shame, blame and guilt, it slowly consumed me over time. It’s one thing to accept blame and responsibility and move on but another to embody and become that shame, I was the latter. I became a shell of my former self because I was so overwhelmed by my feelings of shame and blame. It seeped into everything in my life, even in areas where it didn’t even seem applicable.
I begun to examine why I was so hard on myself, why I gave everyone else’s failings a pass except myself. Because I took the ‘personal responsibility’ thing so seriously, it hit me like a thunderbolt, that is why everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) had no problem sticking the blame to me for almost everything, whether it had to do with me or not. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I gave off that energy, that energy of I’ll take the blame, I’ll take the responsibility whether I should or not, so other people had no problem doling it out to me. When I say people, I meant everyone from my family, friends, co-workers, bosses, random people, everyone, and it pissed me off.
But nothing pissed me off more than when I was suddenly made responsible for the stupidity and incompetence of others, especially at work. When I was training a new employee, when I told him specifically NOT to misplace a very important document, he threw it in the trash by mistake, it somehow became my fault because I didn’t take it from him and keep it on my desk, despite my repeated warnings of being very careful with that document. When the temp girl couldn’t locate the FedEx drop box so she stuffed FedEx parcels in the regular US Mail outgoing mailbox for the postman to pick up, and when it was discovered that the FedEx parcels didn’t make it to its intended location on time, I was blamed because I didn’t take her by the hand, walk her downstairs and show her where the FedEx drop box was, oh and by the way, it was in the same mailroom as the outgoing mailbox, a room that was 5×5 but she somehow didn’t see the big orange and purple letters that said ‘FedEx’ on it but she saw the small outgoing mail slot. This shit actually happened, you couldn’t make this up. People blaming me for their shit because I didn’t tell them. If you are a college grad and you can’t locate a FedEx drop box, there’s officially something not right there, it’s certifiable. So I became hyper-paranoid, I was more paranoid that my co-worker was going to screw up his work and it somehow being my fault than I was doing my own work.
The last three years were tough, I had to juggle new motherhood with full-time work and all the changing dynamics that came with that. The responsibilities that I had to juggle nearly broke me, and going on the same vein of shame, blame and guilt, on top of being a new mother, we were also living with an elderly relative of ours who depends on me for transportation as she didn’t drive. But with a new baby, full time work I wasn’t able to take care of her the way she wanted me to, and I was blamed for that too. Well, in that particular situation, it was more of shaming than blaming, I was shamed for not being a dutiful child and put up with bullshit. This last cycle of shame, blame and guilt sent me into the depths anxiety, depression and near physical collapse. I thought I was going to pass out one day in the kitchen while I was washing dishes, after a long work day, no sleep as I had an infant and doing more chores at night before I get to rest, I thought then, now will people lay off me, now that I am about to collapse on the floor in the middle of my kitchen? Of course they didn’t.
When my sole income wasn’t enough to support all of our expenses and we fell behind on bills, guess who got the blame? Yep, yours truly. It was as if I had a sign on my back that said ‘blame me’, ‘kick me’, ‘shit on me’. I was so angry at everyone, when did everyone’s problems become mine? Why am I responsible for everything? Until it hit me one day, because I permitted it. My guilt and my shame for ‘not being good enough right now, as I am’ had seeped through every aspect of my life. Because I felt badly about myself, so everyone else felt they had license to shit on me. Because I took the blame for things I shouldn’t to appear tough, accountable and to appease the feelings of others, I became target for everything that’s gone wrong. I was just existing through life, not feeling, not being mindful or even aware of myself, my feelings and what’s going on with me internally. I was also suffering from a long term, mild to moderate depression in which I took no treatment for.
How I felt about myself on the inside manifested my life on the outside. So, this year, I made no New Year’s Resolutions, those are pointless anyway. I just wanted to work on myself, to become mindful and aware again and to not be a walking cliche. I am determined to not be plagued by mediocrity and later on in life wonder what the hell happened to me? Why a smart and resourceful person such as myself led such a mediocre life? I have potential to do anything, I know that, I always knew that but why was it obscured by my negative thoughts? I couldn’t live with that. But I was in a psychological rut so deep that I didn’t even know how to dig my way out. I was existing on fumes day to day, taking care of my daughter, pregnant with my son and working full time yet I was totally lost and directionless. I am a mother, it’s my duty to guide my children, to set a good example to them, to show them how to live a fun, carefree and productive life, how the hell am I going to do that in this fucked up mental state. I had much work to do and I had better do it quick. Children are sponges and can absorb all kinds energy and vibes. I didn’t want my vibe to them to be a negative one. I don’t want them growing up saying ‘mommy loved us but she was sad’. I wrote in my previous post about how I wasn’t empowered enough as a young girl so it led to feelings of low self-esteem and willing to settle for anything. It took me so long to even figure out what I deserved in life.
The saddest part for me was when I realized that I didn’t even deserve respect. I let everyone walk all over me, my family, my husband even my kids (both are under 4 years old). And it’s not their fault, I let it happen. I never accepted myself as I am, right now, in this present state. I always told myself that I would accept myself ‘when I accomplish A, B or C’ never now, just as I am. So what could I expect from others?
To learn mindfulness, I had to do a series of guided meditations everyday. It was like I learned to breathe all over again, to listen to my breath, to be mindful of how I breathed. Before my breath was shallow and fast, as if always in a huge hurry to nowhere. Now they are drawn out and long and I’ve rediscovered my intuition, to learn to respect and trust my ‘gut’. It was always right, always, every time I ignored my gut, it came back to haunt me, without fail, every single time. And lastly, in one of my meditations and prayer sessions, I decided right then and there that I will never be enslaved to the emotions of shame, blame and guilt again, EVER. And all the past events that made me so ashamed, I decided right then and there no more. I will not feel shame and guilt for things that happened 20 years ago, regardless if I had any control over it or not. It’s over and done with and if I’ve hurt anyone with my actions, I apologized to them and sent them God’s love and light.
It’s not to say that I will not admit my mistakes and pass the buck, but it’s that when I make a mistake, I’d take accountability for it and move on and not let it linger in my consciousness. Like it’s done and over with, move on. I look forward to a new chapter in life, a chapter of achievement, wealth and abundance. I am going to find my higher purpose and calling and execute it with precision without anything holding me back.