Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nowhere To Hide

I have recently had to acknowledge and accept the truths of others in my life. I refer to it as their truth because I don't necessarily agree to everything that is said. Still, I feel it is important to hear what it is that they have to say. I, unfortunately, have been portrayed as less than honorable in these truths. It hurt. It hurt enough for me to sit in a park with my husband and daughter and cry for several hours. My truth is that what was said is categorically not true. I know different. In protecting my family and extended family, I have stayed mute. I refuse to defend my honor, even though physical proof and personal testimony will bare it out. I do this not out of cowardice, but kindness for those who might be hurt as collateral damage. Battling against family, in my estimation, will never end with productive results. I am honoring my parents by remembering that if I have nothing nice to say, then it is best at this time to say nothing. I have said the equivalent of nothing for 20 years. I must admit, I have moments of pure weakness when I wonder if I have actually done more harm than good by staying quiet. It's, ironically, nearly the only time I have stayed quiet about anything.

My children, husband and I have no rugs to hide things under. We squarely face our ugliness, vulnerability and mistakes without the welcome mat over heads to protect us. It's galling. It is a visceral experience that takes great courage and determination to get through. Our mantra is "life is hard, wear a helmet". That is not to say brutal truth is always required. We are continually learning that honesty although sometimes painful, can be dealt out with a velvet glove just as easily as a metal fist. We say what we feel in order for the others in our life to see and hear our truth and maybe, just maybe, hear us with their heart versus a judgemental ear. It is a good system, especially when it cuts our predisposed assumptions and speculation in half. It's always about the fact that any relationship is a 50%-50% deal. It is only as valuable as the people that value each other. I value these lovies in my life. I value what they think, how they feel and the truth inside them that they carry. My family means everything to me, therefore I must walk the walk and listen to them even when it's unflattering about me. I have much to learn and I believe these people, who love me so very much, have the lessons I am supposed to learn.

Should those who speak so unkindly about me, outside our inner sanctum, go unchecked with no real balance of defense? I have no real answers for that. Cognitively I have many documents, quotes, dates and times that I can draw from in a moments notice that substantially back up my own personal truths. Emotionally, I sit feeling like a child that is being bullied on a playground, unsure of whether to fight of flee. Spiritually, I know that this is not the time for me to do either. When things become turbulent, I have learned through the quiet of each morning that patience is often the best option when certainty and rugs to hide under can't be found.

Personal persecution is one the toughest things a person can endure, barring physical illness. It can lead to physical symptoms of illness. I know that day in the park, it sure did with me. I shook, felt sick to my stomach, and my complexion was that of a white sheet on a freshly made bed. I knew then, as I know just as strongly now that my characterization by others has nothing to do with me. I am the collateral damage, I referred to earlier. If I am unrecognizable in any given story , then surely it is not me. So there it is, the elusive answer I had searched for weeks for, to speak up or stay still. I will maintain radio silence, since the chatter that I took so hard is not me. Why defend a figment of someones imagination? Why enter a contest filled with urine and waste? Why waste a solitary minute trying to figure out the "why" in a question never truly asked to my person?

Don't get me wrong, it still hurts. Anyone wrongly accused will attest to the hurt they feel when they have been so misjudged. I can't learn from what I believe to be false, but I can learn from the hurt I feel. I can work on myself and try harder as a human being to be slow to judge, slow to chatter about someone I do not know, be responsible with my words and deeds and to always remember that we are all just humans doing the best we can with what we have.

I wasn't crazy about the experience I had to go through, but I am ecstatic at the notion it's never too late to learn. I have kept the lesson from this most uncomfortable experience and the rest is left out for the wind to whisk it up into the clouds for greater minds than mine to decide what's best. I am ever mindful I cannot accept anything with a closed fist, so I will continue to do my best to keep my hands and mind open. The toughest times are usually the most revealing, so I will look at it as though I were raising my arms on a roller coaster, continually trying to be brave.

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