St. Agnes of Forgiveness

Undergoing my own little life experiment in the past two weeks.  Basically, in as few words as possible, I’m apologizing when I’m irritated with someone.  I say the words “I’m sorry.”  Not always, mind you.  And by that I mean sometimes I have said “I’m sorry” without the experiment backing it up and sometimes I’m truly irritated and I’ve said “go fuck yourself” instead.  However, I’m noticing that when I have followed the experiment to the letter of the law a very strange by-product has come to light.

Miss Karma has my back.

Usually this is related to people at work.  I love my job, I do.  Don’t worry, I’m not about to go the Dooce.com route about talking about coworkers, she taught me well.  I love most of the people I work with.  However, like any establishment, there are always a few people you just don’t mix with.  Either personality, background, basic grooming…something doesn’t match up with you and they get under your skin.  In two separate instances when I was clearly right, but they were never going to see my side, I apologized.  I apologized for the misunderstanding.  I apologized and said I understood their point of view.  I apologized and told them how good of a job I thought they were doing and thanked them for their help.  I meant every word but I didn’t make it about me, I surrendered.

In no less than 10 minutes every single time I’d get some compliment or praise from someone else in return, not related to the incident I was involved in, but it would always be unexpected.  I’d find a $20 in my pocket or I’d find out some task I had completed and forgotten about or thought I had messed up had a great benefit to someone else.  Something would always every.single.time come back to me in a positive light.  Not ever related to the irritation, but always something good.

So I started thinking about why this is?

Please note, I’m not a person that all of the sudden lets everyone walk all over me.  This is not what this is about at all.  Who I am is a person that is very reactive.  I react.  Loudly and sometimes violently, at least with my words, and it’s a part of me that I do not enjoy.  What I do love about me is that I’m opinionated, I will voice it, I care about people passionately and sometimes that comes out loudly.  The part I’m working on is the venom part.  The quick fire jabs.  The need for validation.

In my effort to get rid of The Bend, I’ve adopted the mantra that “you do not need to convince someone why you feel the way you do.”  I do not spend energy on this any longer, so maybe I’m finding that all of that extra time and energy is being put to better use?  To notice the good and stop dwelling on the things I can’t control?

If you are still with me and haven’t stopped reading because Jesus Horatio Christ this is a bit self-indulgent…hear me out.  I wonder what would happen if we stopped trying to jump up and down in the crowd trying to get noticed, vying for our space in the world, if we could just be comfortable in our skin and the way our mind works…I wonder if we could all take that next great evolutionary step the Mayans alluded too.  We have until 2012 people.

To hold ourselves accountable, Bebe & I have created a peace treaty.  We signed it, put it in our special font and allude to it whenever we feel the urge to completely freak the fuck out over the littlest things.  This apologizing regime has stemmed from that in so many ways.  The peace we want is peace for us.

The more I go with this experiment, the more I’m seeing that the act of stopping before I put fingers to keyboard or tongue to venom, the very act of waiting 5 minutes and then giving the other party a bone, it’s creating this calm in me.

My child is about to crawl.  Any second.  She currently rotates around in 360’s on our wood floors like a lazy susan, pulling at any wires in her path or scooting towards certain death by the bookshelf. I know full well what this next developmental step will lead too, the part of parenting I have not in any way made a decision on how to execute: discipline.

Soon enough I’m going to have to figure out if telling her “no” 100 times a day is negating the very word…if instead I need to do the bait and switch method of distraction…if asking her nicely to “please stop pulling the TV down off the table” in that sing-song pleading voice is going to make me that mom in the store that everyone else just wants to encourage to please just spank your screaming brat of a child…if no matter what type of method I choose to set boundaries for my kid, there is still a good chance someone else won’t agree or one day she will climb a bell tower and take out student nurses with a shotgun anyways.

Maybe, just maybe, this calm, this ability to stop and apologize, calm down or at least not take things personal will help in this way.  Perhaps I’m gearing up for all of the calm I’m going to need in the next year when my precious little snowflake needs me to be level headed the most?

Bebe likes to pray to St. Agnes, protector of women, over these matters.  I have no idea if she really ever existed but we like the name and when we use our fake Brooklyn accent, it sounds awesome.  Because I view religion as the crutch for the justification of acts, I use St. Agnes as a sounding board for same.

So here goes.

St. Agnes, you great big sexy beast of a woman up there in Neverland, please give me the strength to keep up this experiment.  Give me the faith in myself that I can create calm in my life.  Please allow me to use this calm towards my kid who is about to be able to destroy everything in her path.

By the way, if you have any idea how I’m supposed to tell this adorable little kid of mine not to draw on the walls of our living room one day when quite frankly I’m proud of her for creating art or how I’m suppose to explain to her that kicking the knees of some bully jerk child in preschool is not acceptable even though I feel like taking it up a notch and pushing her into a mud puddle myself…

…that would be fucking sweet too.

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