Mea Culpa

I’d like just once to not think it’s my fault when someone acts strangely. I’d like to learn to think, “They’re having a bad day.” Or, “They’re too busy to answer my email.” Or – well, whatever would be a reasonable explanation instead of, “Oh no, what did I do wrong? I’m a bad person/I did a bad thing.”

Think I’ll ever learn that lesson?  Or do I just need to grow a thicker skin and learn not to let other people affect me as they do? Because I find myself walking on eggshells, hoping I haven’t pissed someone off or hurt their feelings or neglected them or a multitude of sins that I blame myself for when someone acts abnormally.

I spend a lot of energy going over what I said or didn’t say, what I did or didn’t do, trying to figure out if their behavior is my fault. I usually assume it is. It takes a great deal of effort to remind myself that I do NOT carry the responsibility of the world on my shoulders. That relationships are a two-way street, and it takes effort on both sides. And sometimes friendships just change, or fade, and it’s no one’s fault – it just is.

Anyway, I think it’s partly because of my transient existence right now, feeling homeless and rootless, that I’m less confident and stable than normal. That I’m constantly examining every situation to make sure I’ve done it right – or at least not done it wrong. It makes me want to crawl back in my cave and never come out, so I can’t hurt anyone – or so they can’t hurt me. Maybe that’s more what it is, now I think about it.

I’m reminded of the Simon and Garfunkle lyrics: Hiding in my room / Safe within my womb / I touch no one and no one touches me / I am a rock / I am an island / And a rock feels no pain / And an island never cries.

Funny that after yesterday’s post about accepting who and what I am, now I’m feeling fragile, fighting to convince myself that I’m okay, that I haven’t done anything hurtful intentionally, and that whatever other people are thinking and feeling about me, I can’t change or control.

(The psychologist in me whispers that believing that everything is your fault is egocentric and to lighten up, because you’re just not that important.)

I need to give myself a break, and stop thinking so much. Watch a funny movie like Overboard (with a nod to Deb). Or get on the road and drive a few thousand miles, and escape from the responsibilities of the world for a while. Where all I’m responsible for is keeping the car between the lines, filling it with gas, and occasionally stopping to eat and sleep…

Today’s my last day in Idaho. I’m sad, and not ready to leave. But looking forward to the next chapter in my life – whatever the heck it is. Anyway, I’ll write more about this later. I’m going to enjoy every last second today, and try not to piss anyone off…

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8 Responses to Mea Culpa

  1. Warren says:

    Once again a post that resonated on several levels. Thanks, Beth.

    And here’s to the next leg of your journey. 🙂


    PS. Mea Culpa? I think I dated Mea once back in high school. Even asked her to the prom but she said “No”. Perhaps I did something to piss her off…

  2. Julie in Texas says:

    The other person has the issue, Beth! Or, it might not be an issue at all, just one misperceived. More than once, people have taken my insecurity with myself as a sign that they have done something wrong. Actually, it is the case that the total opposite was what I was thinking about them! How I treasured their confidence and methods of action, and wished I was more like they are. I had the issue with myself, and if I could just be more confident with myself, it wouldn’t appear to others that the lack of confidence is not with them. It works both ways. Other people may have that issue with themselves and vibe it off to you, thinking it’s something you’ve done. Safe travels… I know you will be in a better frame of mind when you post next! 🙂

    • Beth says:

      Thanks Julie! I wasn’t in a horrible frame of mind – just one of those thoughts that hits you and you think OMG, what did I do??? But I’m too busy to dwell on it. Still, it’s an uneasy feeling. But thanks for the input. Interesting to think about it that way. Hope you find more confidence in yourself – I think you’re awesome! 🙂

  3. Brancy says:

    I so flip flop back and forth from what you said yesterday to what you said today. Perhaps it’s human nature or just the curse of being self analytical, but either way, it’s tough to shrug off those feelings. I think you hit the nail on the head of trying just not to hurt others or let them hurt you, it’s a tough balance and I am not sure if it’s meant to be, if you still want the highs and joy that comes with the lows. The song Desperado comes to my mind, “You’re losin’ all your highs and lows, Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?”

    • Beth says:

      Very true, Nancy. If we don’t have the lows, we can’t appreciate the highs. Or at least not as much. Analytical is a curse…maybe that’s one of those things I should try to change about myself! 🙂

  4. LH says:

    Trying to read todays blog b4 the 4 and 6 yo’s scream thru my door! Who would gave thought my full-on midlife crisis would be interwoven with grade school kids…oh, shoot me now! Not complaining…just trying to get some of the “me” back in my life. If we can sneak a lunch or whatevertheheck when u head this way, text me! Id love a schmoozing partner for even just 10 minutes! Muwah!

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