My reflections meandered once again.

Another rambling introspective on what else but myself…

I promised myself I would live according to the principle of acceptance. No more comparisons with others. No more stubbornness, because “it shouldn’t have to be that way,” as if that justified a freak-out. It’s hard, because I have a strong sense of toddler-justice, flaring up at the sight of anything “that’s not fair!,” even when viewing situations that have nothing to do with me.

I can’t help rooting for the underdogs, and as I have nothing to lose at work, being too valuable (hard as that may be to believe), I can get away with championing the causes of the most downtrodden employees or taking on the blame for things myself.

Therefore, the principle of acceptance doesn’t extend to accepting the miserable situation of other people. Yet for myself, I have learned that meltdowns achieve precisely nothing. Do I have much luck advocating for others? I’m not sure. Maybe I buy them time. Or maybe I just buy myself the satisfaction of voluntary martyrdom. Either way, when you accept the smackdowns, either your own or those on behalf of others, you earn more credibility than if you whine constantly.

I used to cry and throw tantrums about everything. Sometimes I got what I wanted, sometimes I got slapped down. But the returns are diminishing, and after I had a public meltdown in which I humiliated myself in the most selfish way imaginable, not being the main victim of the situation yet making it all about me, I realized that I needed to change my ways. The best thing to do is stay calm, clench your teeth to keep your chin from quivering if you must, and tell yourself that you’re fine but others are not, so act accordingly.

I can’t stand it when I fail to do something because I forgot (I can’t help it, my seizure medication makes me forgetful), and someone will say, “Well you need to remember!” or “Well you can’t forget!,” or I fail because of the limitations created by my epilepsy or the meds for it, “That’s not an excuse!” or “At your age, you should really be doing X already!”

I used to be like that towards other people. Horribly judgmental and completely unforgiving. I was a straight-A student in college, Summa Cum Laude, honor societies, medals, awards. My portrait in college yearbook (which I didn’t buy, because I couldn’t have cared less about the rest of the student population besides myself, although I still feel the same way truthfully) displays a small, smug smile, almost a sneer, really.

I had everything and every reason to expect a bright, easy future. Well, it didn’t turn out that way, and small adversities proved insurmountable because I had never been really challenged before in my life. The smallest obstacle was a roadblock. Fast forward, and I’ve been working in retail at a local department store for the last ten years. The story of how I got from then to now is too long to take the detour to explain, so that’s for another day.

In my last post, I talked about how undiagnosed epilepsy affected my life greatly and negatively. No need to rehash except to say that it resulted in a loss of comprehension and memory. So for years I’ve abused myself because I’m not the way I was in college. I can’t do the same things now cognitively.

As hard as it was to realize, acceptance of responsibility for past behavior, acceptance of my cognitive abilities, has led to more inner peace than I experienced previously. In constant emotional turmoil, all I did was make myself sick and miserable and made all the people closest to me sick and miserable.

There is no use in comparing yourself to other people. It is the death of happiness. The past me may as well be a different person. Saying to myself, “I shouldn’t be doing this job, I am entitled to better” doesn’t make me happy or productive.

I’ve never half-assed my job (most of the time I don’t, anyway), but I’ve spent years being bitter and believing I’m above it. Well, no one is above anything. Jesus was not above being born in a barn or dying a criminal’s death, and therefore none of us are above anything. If we don’t possess enough natural goodness to recognize these things, circumstances will teach us the hard way when we are knocked down from our high places.

I am still an arrogant person at heart, and I often catch myself judging people, when any one of them might turn and say, “Why, look at your student loan debt, you big loser! How’s that fancy degree helping you pay it back?” Well, clearly it isn’t, judging by the fact I owe more than I borrowed.

If a forgetful one puts the carton of milk on top of the fridge and leaves the bowl of dry cereal in the bathroom, one can’t very well get on one’s high-horse with other people, can one? (See, I used to write my papers like that.)

My acceptance of my current state of things has relieved at least eighty percent of my unhappiness. Yes, I’m clearly still bitter, and part of my old self is probably secretly plotting a comeback so I can lord it over people again, but it’s such an ugly trait that I don’t even want to be like that anymore.

Can people change? I’m cynical and when I hear a story about how someone “turned their life around,” I inwardly scoff, because I don’t believe it, I figure it’s only a matter of time… But that’s not really fair, is it? Is it only that I decided I can’t change, ergo no one else can either?

The best advice I can offer is, if we can’t change our nature, then we can at least change our behaviors and make conscious efforts to do the right thing. Even if we had to struggle to do things other people do without thinking about it, at least we did it.

This post went off on a tangent from the very start, once again, and still I haven’t said what I wanted to say about accepting the facts of our life and the mistakes we’ve made and how this isn’t meant to be a dwelling upon misery. I really did have something constructive to say about this process but there’s no way to get from here to there without slogging through the middle.


A hurricane approaches, my workplace is closed, and I’d much rather read about you right now, so talk about yourself.

38 thoughts on “My reflections meandered once again.

  1. This was fascinating, yeah you couldn’t have said that with less words, you’re really describing a huge spiritual journey there. I relate to a lot of it and I’ve had to do the same, too. I don’t compare myself to what I’ve previously been able to do, or try not to and I totally agree on the fact that that brings you more peace in some ways than you had previously. Then you look at the world and it seems so chaotic and naive lol, everybody dashing about like it’s the end of the world.

    I can’t relate to the cognitive aspect of what you’re describing, though, that’s a whole other kind of challenge. For me it’s mostly physical + the effects on mental health which reduce my mental capability but in a different way, through anxiety/OCD.

    Ultimately the present we find ourselves in is just as valid— it’s lead to you writing posts such as this for example which you wouldn’t have written otherwise. And thus do a lot of good in the world. Making achievements against the odds is a cause in itself.

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      1. Yes I agree 100%. And that’s why I spend time thinking (too much time, some would say) about why I make the choices I do. The more we understand , the better control we have over ourselves in the future. How many people in the world stay in a rut doing the same things over and over because they don’t bother to learn their own psychology?

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  2. You’re a bit hard on yourself, I mean serious the majority of people are more concerned about themselves than anything else. It isn’t a crime you know.

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  3. Change is a moving target. As has been said, act the way you’d like to be and pretty soon you’ll be the way you like to act. There’s a difference between acceptance and settling. But you know that. Excuses? Write shit down. Blame? Forget it. Carrying the weight for other’s failures isn’t doing anyone any good. Everyone can and should learn from their mistakes and shortcomings. Many don’t. Not your responsibility. Helping hand, yes. Stand in target, no. That’s a stand in for helping yourself.

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      1. I did that, covering for lax employees, kidding with the crew of buyers that got dumped in my building or covering for two terminally late to work employees, one who worked half the night and the other a desk drawer alkie. Until it bit me on the ass. After that I learned to spot the others, knives out. For no reason other than needing their moment in top management’s spotlight. I was like, people, do your job and That will take care of itself. No. Turns out most people don’t work that way. Martyrdom in a vocational setting is like peeing yourself in dark pants. It’s gives you a brief warm feeling, but nobody else notices. Mother Teresa, sure. Covering for Janie who can’t get out of bed before her shift starts? She needs the lesson worse than you need the weight. Just sayin’

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          1. I have practiced self sabotage with my behaviors, on myself, without the need to involve other people for a payoff. All the interpersonal machinations and manipulations went out the window when I was about 20. I can’t hack that stuff, which is why I can’t hack reality TV and soap opera plot lines. The ultimate price for getting over on people or “the system” for self satisfaction is too high for the payoff. Pay it forward volunteering your skills instead of the silent middle because you’re angry. The middle finger only counts when it’s out, front and center. I know ballerinas who had SAB scolrships when they were 12, soloists at 18 and a career ending injury at 19. Who to this day runs an outreach teaching program for “challenged” kids, a full blown ballet studio and a non profit so kids who want to dance can. She has ballerinas all over the world. A ballerino, is that a dude? Anyway, he was on his way to lead male soloist in Toronto when the pickup he was riding in got hit by a train. He ran a studio the same way, bred a Irish Setters, sold it all and recently published a wildly selling historical picture book. Stop wallowing in your own anger and trying to be cute to get even, get off you’re self pitying ass and do something constructive instead of making I’m so incapable now excuses.

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            1. I’ll own that much of that is true. But like every one of the other half a billion bloggers on the Internet,  I only show a slice of things in order to present a certain picture. There’s a girl, maybe twenty-one, whose job I’ve saved a dozen times, switching her shifts, stretching out her paid time off, making excuses for her. She calls out or leaves early a lot. Last month I moved around her schedule without her manager really knowing, so she could spend the day at the beach with her girlfriend on the gf’s birthday. One month later, on this past Sunday, her girlfriend passed away after a long battle with liver and kidney failure. This afternoon, I’m helping my recovering addict, ED-suffering friend from church pack her stuff to move from one section-8 studio apt to another. Why do these types attach to me? Because I’m compassionate, and a pushover, but not an enabler, and people sense that and appreciate it. But I’m not going to write about it, and in fact I’m irritated with myself that I’m saying anything of this at all, because I can’t stand people who justify themselves with positive things.  But it’s to make the point that complex, contradictory emotions and actions can coexist at once and that’s all I try to portray in this blog. The focus here is not to find the resolution once for all, but to examine ourselves on the way.

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              1. Martyr is the easiest gig around. Yes the blogging world is full of the depressed, repressed, fragile and broken. What if all that “me” energy got spent or banked on something besides hanging emotional laundry out for the rest of the world in return for some Jesus and a bright new day MEME? All of that is nothing but a fresh pair of panties with a skidmark and an excuse.

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  4. If somebody were to give you a helping hand, with a little understanding for your occasional bouts of epilepsy, maybe you would be permitted to accomplish something in this world beyond retail service drudgery.

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      1. I think there is this inverted pyramid of complaining. Or you might say, an expanding radius. First yourself, then your family, then the community, the state, the country? There’s always somethin’! (The most highly evolved among us complain about the universe, so there’s something to set your sites on.) Right now I’m on lawn care–weeds, grubs, fungi, etc. It’s very fertile territory (for complaining.)
        Have a good week…heat wave here. I might complain about the weather just to change things up.

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      2. Hmmm. I see. But I don’t see you as a true complainer. More like, you’re just venting. I don’t think I’ve vented once at my website, but that’s more my “online persona.” Who I am online is a dissected prism-fragment of my full self. For example I often call people “my lovelies” when addressing readers, but I have some TROUBLE *DRY SMILE* seeing myself using that term on them in RL.

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        1. I think the difference between complaining and venting is that the former loses you friends and the latter wins them. While I’m pretty honest about myself, I only show a slice as well in order to create a certain impression, like I was trying to explain to another commenter. Why create such an impression? I dunno. Maybe it amuses me.

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  5. I think you did say a lot about acceptance and owning any mistakes if they can be called at all. I truly admired and enjoyed reading what you so honestly shared. I loved how you said we might not be able to change our nature but we can consciously change our behavior. I think that takes a lot of courage to take that kind of responsibility. You inspire how to tell and own our story.

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  6. I believe that change is real, and that, like the Stoics say, the moment between something happening and our actions is something totally within our control (I totally butchered that paraphrasing).

    For instance, I used to be very reactive and lazy. But I’ve since learned that regardless of what happens or what I think of myself, there’s always that moment where I have full control over.

    So these days I’m less reactive and somewhat lazy. Hey, SOMEthing’s better than nothing, am I right? And at my current trajectory, I could possibly be a great role model for myself by the time I’m 70.

    Anyway, as always, am wishing you all the best for your journey.

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  7. I think Humans can change our nature, but it usually seems to happen very slowwwwly. Our society (Humans in big bunches!) is kind of the same way. I think we’re meant to lean into the effort as much as we can, in the hopes we’ll increase our % of correct A/B decisions by a few points before we wink out. At scale though (Humans in big bunches, changing a wee bit!), that alone might just change everything.

    I like how you write now. I don’t appreciate of course the scope of the cognitive changes you’ve had to deal with, but it doesn’t show in how you express yourself in this medium at all, fwiw. Also, I still think your work experience is some kind of research project you’ve decided to take on. I wonder what the final report will look like?

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    1. I agree that change takes place very slowly. We think of people one or two thousand years ago as different from us, but really they’re not different at all.

      Thanks for your compliment about my writing. It is hard for me these days but I don’t feel sorry for myself about it anymore, I just work with it.

      I like your thought about my job as a research project. That’s a good way to look at it. I definitely am always analyzing everything about myself and the other people there. I have kept a journal about it over the ten (!) years I have worked there.

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