What I Am Not Thankful for

This last week was Thanksgiving in US.  Though I’m not an American, I’ve grown to accustomed to the spirit and the ritual of this holiday.   And indeed, my family and I shared a very special time — it seems that each year we spend with our growing children, the more we realize how important these rituals and traditions are.  Thanksgiving has come to symbolize abundance, family bonding and gratitude.  It has become a very special holiday to me, and this year’s was a great time.

Unfortunately, the rest of this post is not about such an uplifting theme.

The week before Thanksgiving was one of my worst in my life.

On that Monday, I did something uncharacteristic of me, something I have never done before, at least not quite to the extent I did.

It was a grave mistake I made, an action that really goes against my values.

And I’m still reeling from the pain and hurt it caused.

I’m sure I’ll discuss in detail what happened in the future — I try to be open and personal here, but it’s still too raw to go in any deeper.

Plus, I am nowhere near the point of resolution.  I am not able to forgive myself yet.  And while the great Thanksgiving did much to restore balance back into my life, I am still feeling the black weight of guilt and remorse in my abdomen area. I still deeply regret what I did.  I would take it back if I could.  Perhaps I am traumatized, or I am depressed, I am not sure. I contacted several therapists and am contemplating my options for getting help.

My rational mind tells me all the things I’ve been preaching here — mistakes are not to be feared, look for lessons and opportunities for growth, healing is possible, etc.  But there also are times when such niceties ring hollow, next to the gut-wrenching intensity of pain and shock.  Sometimes a message of hope aggravates.  Sometimes you don’t want to be comforted.  Sometimes you feel so disconnected that any connection feels so intrusive, like someone trying to get beneath you to uncover your soft underbelly.

I realize that it sounds a bit dramatic, but this is one of those times.

I just wanted to capture this moment, as it’s hard to relate to this frame of mind once you’re out of it.  I may feel awkward later, as I may look back to this post and realize how it’s not me, but it’s my hurt speaking.  That said, the truth is that hurt needs to speak.  Pain needs to be uncovered and revealed.  If you’re broken inside, you need to break down.  Yes, it’s vulnerable and embarrassing.  I’m not saying everyone needs to do this in public — but ideally, we all have some place where we can let the guards down and let the venom spill out.

So here I am.  And here are the thoughts that are running through my mind:

  • How can an action that only takes a second cause so much lasting damage?  A single second of lapse in attention can cause you to lose control of the car you’re driving — leading, possibly, to a devastating consequence.  I don’t believe that we should live every second with the awareness of such worst-case scenarios.  But how do you remain aware and vigilant, without letting it drive you to fear and defensiveness?
  • Why do we act out of feelings, when we are equipped with our powerful minds/consciousness?  When the only thing we can control is our own actions, why do we feel that we are out of control most of the time?  It doesn’t make any sense.
  • When is it time to get help?  Is it when it becomes unbearable to pretend to be normal?  The shocking part of what I did was that I didn’t see it coming.  Or perhaps I should have, or would have, if I had an outside help.
  • How am I supposed to stop using “normal” as a measuring stick?  As I discussed elsewhere, sensitivity is not something to be compared with general public.  A sensitive person under otherwise “normal” circumstance can still crack.  But yet, sometimes it’s hard to gauge your own sensitivity to certain events.  You yourself go into some situations thinking “it ought to be all right” and then gets traumatized — like my example with Wall-E (well, “traumatized” is too strong a word for that example, but the point is the same — just because nobody else got motion-sick doesn’t mean that you won’t).  Your vulnerability lies in places where you over-react.  But it’s easier to see over-reactions in others than in yourself.  What appears over-reaction to others, is “normal” to you.  It’s hard to realize that that’s not normal to others.
  • And finally, how are we to achieve independence, self-sufficiency, if we possess all these vulnerabilities where we really need help from others?  I always thought interdependence was the ideal — collaborations of independent people for the mutual, greater benefit of all — and independence was the path to it.  But now I feel so dependent, so insufficient.  I thought I was a fairly self-aware person, yet I just didn’t see it coming.

So there.  Those are some rambling thoughts running through my mind, as the result of a single impulsive action that I just can’t forgive yet.

Yes, we take two steps forward and one step back.  If this is that one step back, then — I am not as far along the healing path as I thought.

But one thing I do hope — by making my private pain a public display, somewhere in the blogosphere, I hope a post like this creates a positive connection.  I realize that it’s a self-indulgent and vague post, nothing very uplifting about it — but this is how an emotional pain feels. Many of us carry it, most conceal it well, but inside is a voice that speaks like this.  You are not alone.

Now, it feels a bit hypocritical in the light of what I said about connections above, but I’m going to close comments on this post. I did feel the desire to share this moment with the world, but it’s a bit too raw to discuss it out in public.

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