A huge part of me wishes that I was sitting across from you, warming our hands with coffee or tea, on a small rickety table that leaned one way or the other, depending on whose elbow leaned where. Because I want to tell you the story about what happened a few days ago. I want you to be able to look you in the eyes and see my earnestness.
None of these things are possible and if they were, in the end, I would probably decide not to tell you anyway.
Here is why.
My first true experience with girl drama at the age when it really hurts, when we believe this is the worst pain we will ever feel was ongoing and difficult. Whatever the details, it was the first time I remember my mother telling me, “Be the bigger person.”
She said it to me everyday. Because everyday I wanted to shout it to the other girls, how this girl had hurt me. I needed to hear my mom say it everyday. When someone in the neighborhood spoke kindly of this girl or her parents (who were involved), I wanted to say: “But you don’t know the truth.” Instead, I heard my mother’s voice: be the bigger person, be the bigger person. I wanted to close up. I didn’t want to open myself to more pain, even then. Everyday as I readied for school, I heard my mother’s voice in my head. If I came and cried to her, she comforted me. But she always ended the conversation with: remember to be the bigger person.
Now I know that this was my mother’s version of what Mother Teresa hung on her wall. This past year, the biggest thing I’ve learned has come from watching people and it has been illuminating.
I come from a very passionate and reactionary family. We argue a lot but then we have a high need to resolve the things we said in anger quickly. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just explaining it because for a long time this is how I operated in life–not just with my family (I thought everyone was like us…wrong).
In the past year, first because of the nature of my job, and then because it became of interest to me, I started to notice what happened when people reacted in emotion, in anger, in heat. For the first time, I was able to sit back and let emotions wash over me if I felt attacked or if there was an argument or if I was confronted. Before I would immediately defend and argue back. For the first time, this past year, and especially the last six months, there were personal problems put on ice for twenty four hours because I knew my words would be kinder and truer then.
Once I had a counselor explain that when we are confronted, our adrenal glands start sending chemicals to our brains. It takes a minimum of 45 minutes for those chemical to dissipate, and that’s only if one were to take a walk, let’s say, for 45 minutes while thinking calmly about something else. If we seethe about that argument during our walk or as we read a book, those chemicals don’t dissipate.
I’m imperfect but if there is one thing I have learned this year it’s that most people react incredibly poorly when they are reactionary, acting out of sadness or anger or any emotion.
When this thing happened, that I can’t talk to you about, or the thing I am choosing not to talk about, even though it has to do with blogging, I told my close friend: This is how I feel right now but I know that I will feel differently in an hour and differently again in an another hour.
I was right.
I heard my mother’s voice: be the bigger person.
And then I remembered Mother Teresa’s prayer. I read it over and over again. In reality, what happened was a blip when I consider it now. At least for me. In the moment, it felt like this person was attacking my character, my integrity, my very insides.
The thing is blogging sometimes means sharing your soul and your heart and sometimes people will attack your words and therefore you soul and your heart. As long as you are being smart about it, share them anyway.
Back to the table where we share coffee, I would want to tell you about what someone in the blogging world did to me. But I wouldn’t. Because of my mother’s words. I would want to defend the words this person attacked. But if you gave me a second, or 45 minutes, I wouldn’t.
The thing is, anytime I post anything where I want to be positive I am writing exactly what I want to communicate, I have at least two people read it (except for one time when I pressed publish on accident but that was not the most recent time). Depending on the topic, I ask certain people. Most of the time, it’s two women I respect and admire. We have a lot and common but we are also different. They tell me when I have not communicated well. They tell me when my words don’t match my true feelings and intentions. They call me on my stuff, in essence, and that is so incredibly important.
So it’s not like I ever come on here and spew my feelings all over you. Forty five minutes have passed (figuratively speaking). It’s been proofed by people I trust and I don’t mean grammatically.
Anyway. Anyway. Anyway. It’s the word that been on my mind for days, since the incident. Knowing the ways I cope, a part of me wanted to withdraw, delete, and not share my point of view with you any longer.
But I’m continuing anyway.
People can be hateful and mean. They can choose unkindness over kindness. They can let their own unhappiness dictate their every word and action.
I will continue to conduct myself the way I was raised anyway. In being the bigger person, and someone my mom is proud of, I’ve learned that when that hate like this is aimed at me, it typically has very little to do with me.
It was never about me and them anyway.
I don’t answer to anyone but Him anyway. And when I read Mother Teresa’s words, I know that I reacted to this person with “an anyway” spirit. I know that I honored Him. That’s enough for me.
You wouldn’t want to read about the whole story anyway.
Love (for real),