Today my yoga teacher told us to find a stranger in class and introduce ourselves by telling them about a mistake we made in 2017. I had never gotten a direction like that. Not in yoga or anywhere else.
The first woman I met told me that she ate too much chocolate in 2017. I almost laughed out loud when she told me that was her mistake. I put my hand on her shoulder, looked her in the eye, and told her that there is no such thing as too much chocolate. Just like there is no such thing as too much cake. She burst out laughing and then I let loose as well. Right there in yoga class.
Chocolate and cake are inanimate objects. They are not good or bad, they are just things and the value we assign to them can turn a joyous event like eating chocolate into a "mistake."
Not coincidentally, I was talking with another friend of mine who was telling me that people who have never been on a diet wouldn't know what she is going through. I responded by telling her that I didn't know anyone who has never been on a diet. #metoo could apply to diets as easily as it could apply to harassment. It comes down to our bodies and control. It comes down to understanding what we can make of the world through our filters. It comes down to what we allow.
If I let it, the world will dictate my behavior, it will persuade me to allow the judgment of others to steer me in a direction that does not feel good to me. And it happens quietly, covertly, almost without notice. The world will convince me that chocolate is bad. It will convince me that war is good, and that love is not the most amazing thing in the world. It might convince me that money is more valuable than people. But I won't let the world do that.
This feeds my 2018 Year of No Regrets intention quite nicely, actually. I won't allow the world to tell me that cake is bad, that chocolate is bad, or that anything else I love is bad. No. I won't. If I did, it would take the joy of the thing away from me, and fill me with regret. Regret over something as lovely as cake? Or chocolate?!?!? No. Not on my watch.
This big life. We can put all our effort into fitting in, or all of our effort into finding out who we are, and being that person to the best of our ability. And me, the person I am, loves cake, especially after breakfast. I won't let the world take that from me. I won't let the world convince me that chocolate is a mistake. Not now, not ever.
One less regret in 2018.
*Sidenote: My mistake in 2017 was getting lost. I have a terrible sense of direction. I get lost weekly, if I had to estimate how often I go the wrong way. Which I embrace fully by allowing myself more time to get lost and find myself if need be.
"Have I told you how I got kicked out of college?" I am lying? laying? lying? next to a man who has just pummelled me in the most satisfying way. I am happy. I am content. But then, moments after he flops down next to me, he asks me this question, and well, unfortunately, I have not heard this story before.
It is a strange thing, to be in an open relationship and have the ability to have sex with people other than your partner. Strange because in the end, it is not really about the extra sex you have, even though you tell yourself that is why you are doing it. In the end, it seems to be about hearing the regrets of the people you have sex with. I can't think of one person I have had sex with who hasn't at some point, if not immediately, told me about all the ways they wish they had done some things, very big things, differently.
It usually has to do with staying too long, or, maybe, not speaking out soon enough, for fear that it might hurt someone. In the end that behavior only serves to hurt people more, sometimes, it is as simple as, "It's cheaper to keep her."
I admit, when a man tells me that this is the reason he is not ending an unhappy marriage, I hate him for choosing money over happiness. I hate him for blaming his spouse for his bad decisions, and most of all, I hate myself for listening.
It's like fucking someone who you know is using you for a masterbatory tool. These people use you as a sit-in, or, lie-in therapist, though everything you say to help them goes pretty much unnoticed or un-utilized. It's what they call "dumping" in therapeutic circles, because it is really just like someone dumping their shit on your doorstep and then moving on.
I hear about it from my fella too. All the women who in the end, just want to tell him about their problems. Even that annoys me. Especially when he tells me about them and I react in a way that is impatient. He is much more patient than I am with other people's problems. Mostly because he wants to fuck these people, and he sees it as a good trade-off. I see it as empty. I see it as enabling bad behavior. Of course, I get to have sex more often than he does, so he is in a position of having to listen to these women and their problems.
I am tired of dealing with other people's regrets, mostly because my main issue is releasing my own. I work hard on looking for the lesson in painful events in my life, I look for the way to take ownership. I look for the way to make a better choice next time. I don't always do these things, but I try, and when I listen to other people talking about the regrets they have been carrying for years, I am reminded of what I am still holding on to. I am reminded of my inability to release.
I have decided that is what 2018 is for. For me, it will be The Year of No Regrets. Meaning, I will take my time to make good choices, learn from the choices I have made, and, ultimately, release any regrets I have about my past. This is a huge goal, but I have been getting so many subtle hints and kicks to the groin that it is time for me to release this shit, I have no choice but to act.
I know. I said I wasn't going to write again this year, but I feel like I would have regretted that.
What is your intention for 2018? How are you going to approach this brave new world? I would love to hear about it. I need a little inspiration right about now.
Last year at this time, I named 2017 The Year of the Revolution. It was my goal at the time to revolutionize things. It was my goal to change things up and raise my voice and make a difference. Looking back, I didn't know I would be doing A Love Rebellion. I had no idea what was coming, I just knew that I wanted to help. The idea came later.
This year is a bit different. I have plans for the year, plans to help people build confidence, find the path to self-love, and help themselves and each other.
I have come to this because I have learned that the thing I love most in the world is meeting and connecting with new people. I have never been happier than when I was riding the train between cities, meeting and talking with people, and telling them that there is hope and that they can be part of it, if they allow themselves.
When I am truly happy and feel good about myself, there is nothing I can't do. It has nothing to do with wealth or fame, it has everything to do with my ability to connect on a basic level with other humans.
This is how I conserve. This is how I make it over the long haul. I give myself the freedom to be vulnerable, and I allow myself the adventure of opening up to other people and experiences. This next year I believe we will all be asked to be more. We will be asked to be strong, have integrity, and stick up for ourselves and each other.
Will you be ready? Will you be able to go out of your way, make sacrifices and take a stand for justice? For people? Dig deep and ask yourself now, because the time is coming. We will all be asked to make choices, as we have been for most of our lives, but these choices are going to determine which way the world will go, and I hope we all have the strength to do the hard thing.
In the end, the hard choice will lead us to the greatest joy, the greatest love, and the greatest hope.
Know who you are, what you value, what brings you joy, and what makes the day better for you. Fill your days with that, and then choose accordingly. Choose with your heart, with your guts, with your hope. Not with your fear. Not with your need for security, but with your desire for freedom.
Conservation of our energy is vital in a time where the word ban at the CDC includes "vulnerable," "fetus," "transgender," and "science-based." So in these last few days of 2017, prepare yourself. Be kind to yourself. Meet strangers and show them kindness. And get ready, because 2018 can be the turning of the tide. It will be the year in which we all stand for ourselves and each other.
Okay, folks. This is my last blog post of this year. I hope the next two weeks go well for you. I am creating my 15 part Handling Harassment video training and launching it early in the year. Until then, be good to yourself. If you haven't signed up for my Newsletter yet, do so, because if you are on my Newsletter list, you will be getting the 15 part video training for FREE. Yup. You heard it here. So if you are interested in being able to handle harassment in the moment, sign up for my newsletter. You will also be added to Sara's Community Works on FB, as that is where we will be building a support system for people dealing with harassment and other forms of manipulation.
Today, as I read yet another graphic account by an actress about a situation in which she was sexually abused by a powerful and famous actor, sometimes publicly, I realized that I was bleeding again.
The wound that I thought had healed many years ago opened, and started bleeding and spewing pus everywhere. It was quite painful, and in fact, it was all I could do to make it to the end of the article.
When I did in fact make it there, I realized I was in a bit of a panic. I felt nervous, my heart was racing, and the back of my neck had started to sweat.
I know I am not the only one who might sometimes re-live the trauma of her many sexual abuses when learning about someone else's, and in a world full of abused people, it is no wonder there is so much pain.
I have worked on this issue all my life, and though I am better than I ever have been, I know that it will never fully go away. The pain I carry about the abuse, the shame I feel for not having done something for myself sooner, or better, or differently, will always be there waiting to be re-ignited. That pilot light will never go out.
That is why I am also horrified at myself when I read an account of a woman who set her husband on fire for having sex with her seven year old daughter. She believed shooting him would have been too kind.
And I agree with her. I truly believe he deserved that. This too, is shameful. I wonder if this pain can ever be healed. I wonder if this type of abuse, this type of violence will never end, because the pain that it causes seems bottomless and the violence it can birth is unforgivable.
What's more, I don't know if I will ever forgive myself for accepting it.
I don't know if I can forgive myself for not setting that man on fire.
If you are new to this blog, please know that my posts are always honest, but most of the time, much more inspiring. I just happen to be going through this presently, and I know no other way to move through it than to write. I thank you for your patience and hope reading this was not too traumatic. Next week I will be back to inspiring hope and love, with a dash of compassion.
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