Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hardened Heart

Does this look like a collection belonging to someone with an amazing future in front of them?
Call me crazy- no, really, go ahead. I have a certificate and everything- but I just don't see things the way other people do. But besides that, I'm also kind of a bad person, and here's why:
Lately there's been a lot of local and semi-local news coverage about heroin addicts buying and injecting what they think is heroin but what is actually heroin laced with Fentanyl, a super high powered pain killer that's apparently also a junkie killer when mixed with their fix.
So everyone who cares about humanity and all the good people in the world are urging junkies not to buy heroin from untrusted sources and to be careful.
I'm just sitting over here like 'meh'.
These aren't innocent babies getting fed toxins because no one bothered to check their formula for rat poison. They're not starving Haitians making dirt cakes or mud cookies because there's no affordable food.
They're drug addicts, whose desire for another fix has killed them. Why is that so tragic?
I know I'm not a nice person, and I've genuinely tried to consider that the people dying of laced injections are someones children, maybe someones parents, and I've even tried to consider that it might someday be my children.
I'm sure everyone, except maybe junkies themselves, assumes their kids will never grow up to be so dependent on a chemical that they're willing to die for it. Of course, this is not reality, as there are still addicts and there are still people dying because of their addictions. So some people are obviously wrong about the paths their children will take.
It's pretty arrogant for me to assume, while my kids are still young-ish teens and therefore still as under my control as another person can be, that my kids will never be addicted to meth, or heroin, or cocaine, or whatever new thing comes out by the time they're adults. And yet, I kind of do.
Even recognizing how wrong some people must be, and the probability that at least one of the monkeys living with me will try at least one of the above-mentioned drugs, I still can't really find it in me to feel brokenhearted about the current rise in heroin-related deaths.
As a parent, do I feel there are unforgivable crimes my children could commit to make me write them off? Ummm, yeah, actually. Drug use isn't one of them, but I still don't think I'd blame myself or get all bent if as an adult, my child veered off the course I'd hoped (s)he'd take.  I'm hopeful that my eagle-eyed husband and I are keeping a close enough watch and honest enough discussion running now to prevent any serious addiction issues in the future.
Eventually, though, the kids will all be grown and gone and responsible for themselves. If one of them decides to start running coke for the Mexican cartel and gets killed trying to cross the border, will that be my fault? No, because they were all warned against such things practically from the womb.
Once they start making their own decisions, they have to live with the consequences. Sometimes those consequences are pretty severe.
Deciding to inject a substance whose origins are completely unclear into their bodies for the sake of a high has the potential consequence of killing them- even without the Fentanyl.
I just don't have it in me to get all choked up about the fact that someone who knowingly and willingly participated in extremely risky behavior had their luck run out.
No one forced these people to start abusing heroin, and no one forced them to continue, especially after the news reports hit. Once the word was starting to spread about how dangerous heroin use was becoming, the people who continued to use were basically living on borrowed time anyhow, and it's not altogether sad to me that that time has expired.
This is just another thing that proves I'm a terrible person, and I'm mostly okay with that.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Belief System

For weeks or probably, if we're being honest, months I've lamented the fact that my inspiration, my creativity, my drive to achieve even the smallest goal I set for myself had just vanished.
I blamed it on never having time. I blamed it on snooping children. I blamed it on depression. I blamed it on anxiety. I blamed it on court cases. I had ninety nine excuse, but the truth wasn't one.
The truth is, I am afraid- cripplingly terrified- of success.
Just when the thing I most wanted was, if not quite within reach than certainly in sight, I was so afraid to achieve it that I backed off. I cock-blocked myself.
I was quite simply more afraid of getting what I wanted than I was of failure. To be perfectly honest, I sabotaged myself. I caused my dream to not come true. And realizing that made it even harder to face the music and get back into the groove and start again and try for that dream once more because the vicious circle that is self abuse had begun rolling, and would only continue to get bigger.
To be clear, all of my excuses were valid. I do have eleventy dozen children around. I have had my life examined after being hauled into court.  But they weren't acceptable reasons for me to give up on my dream.
I was only delusional, not a liar. I had myself convinced that I didn't deserve to get what I wanted. Therefore, I subconsciously but still amazingly effectively derailed my personal Little Engine That Could. I believed I couldn't, and therefore I didn't.
Sabotaging myself wasn't in any way intentional, and until very recently I'd have argued vehemently that it wasn't even my fault, intentional or not. What it was, though, was natural. I understood failure. I knew how to not get what I wanted. I believed I didn't deserve to. So even though I was faced with a major disappoint, and even though that genuinely felt bad, it also felt normal.
It was comforting, this felt of self-defeat and self-deprecation. I knew how to berate myself, I understood how to beat myself up and make me feel bad. What was foreign and unfamiliar was congratulations. What I'd never experienced was pride and joy in myself and what I'd managed to do.
I knew, however painful it would be to try something new, however unnatural and alien it would seem to look for and focus on and bask in the positives, it was something I had to start doing, stat.
I believe the Universe speaks my language and is receptive to what I tell it.
I also believe that my assuming the worst of every possible scenario I encountered only caused the worst to happen more often than it would have otherwise. Then I could feel justified in having assumed it to begin with, and continued assuming the worst in the next thing. Being a pessimist wasn't a negative thing if your pessimism was also reality. In fact, then you just became a realist, and everyone knows reality is best.
It wasn't until my husband, in a moment of frustration with my endless negativity that I felt justified in and even compelled to share with him, told me that my assuming the worst of him without any valid reason whatsoever was going to eventually cause the breakdown of our marriage that I sat up and took notice.
I don't want my marriage to end. Even though I thought it would, I didn't want to be the cause of it. This flawed and circular thinking may have felt automatic and natural, but that didn't mean it was right, and it didn't mean it was the only way to think.
I could dwell on the things that make my marriage imperfect by focusing only on my annoyances, on the things about me that frustrated my husband, on the fears of death or divorce; on any and all negative feelings. Or I could list those things that make my marriage real simply because they are imperfect.  I'm capable of experiencing positive feelings. I just had to learn to put my focus on those things, instead of looking for the second dropping shoe.
I lost my momentum when I was nearer than I'd ever thought possible to achieving my goals, but I had gained it once, and will be able to again once I focus on the goal and not the obstacles
Expecting the worst in my marriage, in my life, in every encounter I have with others only tells the Universe that I want the worst. More often than not, the Universe complies with what it hears. Feeling as if that was justification enough to continue expecting the worst wasn't fair to my children, to my husband, or most importantly, to me.
Change doesn't come overnight. I will continue to have setbacks, I'm sure, where the only thing I believe can happen is the worst thing that could happen. I'll have to consciously decide to think otherwise. I'll need reminders. I'll have to practice patience with myself, and acceptance that this is my reality, however much I wish it wasn't. I'll have to love myself, and forgive myself, and believe in myself.
That sounds simple enough, but I know better than most how very challenging it will be. It's time to stop taking the lazy way out and rise to the challenge.
As I was writing this, I was reminded of a song from my children's childhoods: as corny as it is, the words "Believe in yourself, for that's the place to start" have been running through my head, and now I pretty much have to share this video so you can get stuck with them, too.