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?