Monday, February 13, 2012

Watching my But (or, Rehab)

(Laurel Creek Conservation, Waterloo, Ont. 2012)

Hi, my name is Cheryl, and I am a negative person. I have been in recovery for a very long time.

I started out excited about the world, until it hurt. Then I hid, until people wouldn't let me. Then I pretended while I seethed inside, turning in on myself with all the martyrdom of doing what was expected. Seeking control, I turned to Negativity.

Despite its drawbacks, Negativity can be a compelling drug. It compensates for all I am allowing by telling me that it's beyond my control. It lets me feel smarter, secretly better, protected because I don't care. It allows me to avoid the effort of supporting something or standing up for something, the discomfort of others' disapproval and the responsibility of their approval. It decides my opinion on a number of topics and lets me stop thinking about those things. Negativity permits focused, if limited, thinking. Conveniently, it also requires no action, since there is always a reason NOT to do pretty much anything, if that's what I'm looking for.

Negativity allows me to stand separate, in judgment, and if I judge myself even more harshly, it lets me tell myself, I am being perfectly fair. Negativity's weight feels like ballast in the ship as we rock on insanity's waves.

More than that. I have a special talent for it. I see what's wrong in any situation very, very quickly. I see the snip that would unravel the wrongness and the joists that would make it right. Assuming right and wrong, that is. Negativity alters my perception of the spectrum between right and wrong, removing shades so the line seems more delineated, the spectrum simply black or white. On Negativity, I am a lion herding my prey into a corner. I can take down almost any idea with my creative strength, my eloquent claws. It's not pretty.

Well used, carefully revealed, using Negativity can easily pass for business savvy.

Since I decided to stop using (like, really, actually decided) I've found I need to stay away from all my old friends.  No, Not, But, Of Course, Should, If Only, When, the entire Sarcasm family, Can't, Won't and many others. Friends who have been a part of me my whole life. My gang made me feel safe behind their protection. It was hard to leave them behind.

Lately, they've been creeping around again. But shows up a few times a day, now, and No is around pretty much all the time. Yesterday, Should came back and I thought I'd finally chased her off. It's harder, to stay with my recovery when they're in my language.

One day at a time, right?

So today, I'm watching my But - I've asked And to help replace her in my sentences. What are you watching today?


  1. Ah, Perfect, she's so lovely and enticing

  2. oh yeah. i know this and you tell the tale so well. over here, i call it perfectionism. (a rose by any other name and all that.) a tough fight constantly, but i have learned to let myself be embarrassed. out loud, at least once a day. in writing. my embarrassment workout. :) i think it helps.

  3. Oh, our beloved Mrs Which ~ I was so delighted, that when I took a short hop over, yesterday to Twitter, there you were with an offering. I came,delighted to be back in this wonder - Writing Out Loud was one of the first blogs I encountered when i first visited - oh serendipity ~ I read, I was squealing with delight & oh yeahs! - low squeals for etiquette's sake - with boom-boom heartbeats and resonance, echoing.
    I wrote a beautiful response and it disappeared -- again. My computer savvy is limited, for now. this is not the first time this has happened between us :) maybe, I just get so excited over your words,the energy 'blows' the connection :) - I am trusting tonight. i will not be leaving the page - I did last night to check a spelling - and poof my comments were gone. I will not give into pride and in the next few weeks, i will be able to negotiate a spellcheck and maybe have an identity, other than anonoymous.

    I loved this writing. I loved feeling your lightness and belief in your confidence. Even though you are personally letting go of perfection - this post, this piece honouring the shadow sides, are perfect. <3 I adore your honesty and understanding - the evolution is astounding.

    I find that the photos you have taken recently of trees, nature - their balance of unbalanced mixture - your personal revelations and exposure blend and meld so well.

    Into this tale...
    this is wonderful writing. Bravo for you - for the risks. for the challenges - Wow!

    As Canadian author/poet Sheree Fitch wrote "There is no land of perfect,child. There is no sea of ease. There is no candy apple trail. There's broccoli and peas.

    There is no suit of armour, child.
    There's arrows and there's pain.
    But when your heart is broken , child
    Stay strong and love again.

    There is no perfect person, child.
    Not presidents or queens.
    there's only all of us trying, child
    To be human human beings.

    I love you, Cheryl - I am able to locate and use my voice, thanks to you ~~~ and learn and have fun while doing this.

    jo miller xo

  4. Should had been following me around lately, lurking, thinking I don't see her. But I do. And she is not very attractive. Or friendly. I'm hoping that if I ignore her long enough, she will go away.

  5. Congratulations, Cheryl, on choosing to experience life differently. I get it, at least from my choice to experience life differently. Please see http://about.me/pamyoung re' my journey of breaking an addiction. I used cigarettes similar to the way you used negativity. Loving yourself is the greatest love of all--simply because we can't love another til we do. Oops. Best wishes.


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