Thursday, November 5, 2009

"I'm A Horrible Person"

Just Google it: "I'm a Horrible Person." You'll find so many sites, as I did this morning, where ordinary people admit to their guilt and regrets that they may not be able to express online, from feeling bad about how they've treated other people to make themselves feel better, all the way to unintentional harms done to oneself or others. I had wondered if I was the only one who questioned the accuracy of her own moral compass from time to time, but now find it worth writing because my inner doubt stems from something very different than what I've seen so far. I have good self-control for accomplishing my goals, which is why I've stopped worrying about my list and will remove my widget when I'm ready. In fact, it hasn't really been a problem as much as my real problem: learning to walk away from a goal, which is why it is so important for me to let that list go.

I used to feel that the world was incredibly unfair (in some ways, it probably is, but I'm not really sure how to measure that accurately), that I'd been given a bad hand, and when people hurt me and I got upset, they just didn't get it. All of that is true to a point . . . but, I also never knew when to let go and give up before I got too hurt, and if I only had . . . how much hurt and anger and darkness could have been avoided? How much lighter would my soul be now?

It's been a problem throughout my life that I think stems from the lack of control I had growing up to make my own choices. Some of the time that was just parents doing parenting, but other times it was just plain abusive. All I wanted in my life was to feel loved and to be free to make my own choices. That sounds simple, but it really isn't.

In a way, it became a desire to control the situation too much, even though I never thought of it like that. My intentions were always good, like, "If I stay by her side, she'll see that I'm her good friend someday," or, "I don't have to put up with these people breaking the law right in front of me; someone should stand up to them!" And finally, "The ethics in this workplace are such a mess! And people are doing horrible things. I should try to fight it!" The only ones I did right was, "This is a horrible place for me to live, so I'm going to get out of here," and "Wow, this professor is doing crazy stuff; I'm out of here!" The lesson that I didn't really learn was that I needed to run away, to let it go.

I didn't want to allow people to hurt me anymore, or to chase me away, though, so I was really stupid and bullheaded about it. What a waste of my life, though! I would have been happier if I had left! Stupid pride! Time and time again, trying to "hold on" and "stick through it" really weren't the best options for me. Okay, I grew up looking to big heroes, so I had this notion that I could help, that I could change things. Reality check: I can't change people! I knew that in my head, but thought if I gave it my all, I could still plant the seed of change perhaps. I thought if I did all the right things and worked hard, then I could set a good example, make a difference, show people that there's another way.

So, why does that make me a horrible person? Well, if you hang on to something, and hang on to it, and hang on to it, eventually you get really worn from hanging on. There starts to be strain, but it's so gradual and because you've never truly let go, you don't even notice what's happening to you. That's what happened to me at my last job. There was one day when I couldn't take, in my heart, how I was being treated anymore. I came in early, left late, and even came in on the weekends (without pay). I worked overtime and got no lunch at the time. Yet, my boss was purposefully sabotaging my work because, as she said back then, "I thought she didn't care enough." I wanted to quit so bad, but convinced myself that I had to stay, that I had no choice, because I was scared of losing the financial stability. And, when I went to HR, they sort of fixed it . . . but, this is where the corruption seeped in. I knew I couldn't trust my boss again. I would always be waiting for the other shoe to drop. How could I know she wasn't lying? I was going to be paranoid until my last day, and my reason for staying ultimately became not the finances, but trying to prove that I could survive her, that I could survive everyone else's drama, and basically fight back. :( That is so the wrong reason to stay someplace!

Over the years, I didn't even notice how angry I was becoming. I didn't even really know when I threatened to quit some months back. At that point, they knew I wasn't happy, obviously, and even after the problems were fixed, I think my performance was colored by the intense dissatisfaction of them knowing that I had even considered leaving. I knew my time was ticking down, but still tried to convince myself that I could hang on, that I would be okay . . . but in the end, it was horrible for me, and I lost my job on the 3rd. I don't regret being asked to leave because I was clearly unhappy (though, I am pretty shocked to find out what my current boss thought of me, because she never gave me any warning whatsoever . . . I've been concerned for a while that she lies or exaggerates things, though, so I should have known better; so much for trying to see the best in people, eh?), but I regret that I didn't quit sooner. I regret that I allowed myself to get so wrapped up in trying to fix something that clearly can't be fixed. Whenever I made suggestions, my words got twisted, so it truly was pointless. And, I regret that I spent so much time upset and unhappy when it could have been changed. I mean, now I have phone call after phone call of people who want to hire me, so clearly finances wouldn't have been a problem. And all of this corrupted me, left me angry, made it horrible for me at work and at home . . . I became a very, very ugly person!

I've never liked letting go. When I was little, I knew many people who died, most of them without me having a chance to say good-bye to them. There was even one very important person that I wish I could reconnect with, but probably will never be able to. When you're forced to let things go, to give up, it makes you that much more determined to never let go . . . Like I said, I just wanted to be loved (and to share my love). All good intentions, but not all good actions and results unfortunately. I've been gradually learning , but this was like the biggest bonk on the head ever, like, "STOP IT AND LEARN TO LET THINGS GO!" So, now I have. To the point where I've even asked Terinati to promise that if he sees me getting really upset about something, he'll let me know that he sees it and ask me to let it go. I never want to say to myself again, "If I'd just quit back then," or "If I'd just let her leave me behind," or "If I'd just cried, felt hurt for a while, and then moved on . . ." I've been so scared of taking that risk, that I would regret not holding on, that I'd be giving up when I shouldn't be, that I'd be a failure . . . But after seeing the damage it can do to my personality . . . Holy crap! I don't want to be a horrible person!

So, I apologize to anyone I let down or hurt along the way. It was never my intention. And to all those people who also posted their confessions online, thank you for letting me know I'm not completely alone in my remorse. I knew that I wasn't, but it's another thing to see the words written down. At any rate, now I have a new path open in front of me, and I'm excited (and scared) to go down it. However, this is the best opportunity I could ask for, and I think Fate is smiling at me and just trying to lead me (albeit a bit forcefully) in the right direction because I was too much of a coward to do it myself. From now on, I'm going to take more risks and be willing to let more things go. All holding on will do is hurt me, and make me hurt others. I have to believe that I can overcome that. So, a cheer to all of us who are making an effort to not be the horrible people we fear are inside each of us.