December 19, Deale, MD: I nearly posted twice last night. Very late last night (this morning, actually) I received an email from the person I believe I have hurt the most in my life. And it wasn't long ago. Before I even read the message, I started crying. I was scared and it brought up all kinds of feelings that I wish I had done things differently. The email was angry and frustrated...and justifiably so. I hurt them in ways that I couldn't have imagined I was capable of and wouldn't wish on anyone. I cheated. I lied. I gave into the faulty logic that comes from a desire to protect yourself and not make things right. I hid my fears and insecurities from them and let them play out elsewhere. And it wasn't the first time I'd gone down that path. So the anger seems appropriate, to say the least. There really is no recovering any kind of relationship from what I have done and I don't think that there should be. But I am thankful.
I am thankful for being reminded of what can be created (and destroyed) when you concentrate so much on yourself, your interests, your image. When you care so little about how that affects those you claim to care for. I am thankful for being reminded of how the past few months have felt, of how completely defeated I felt when I received a similar note a short time ago. It helps me see that progress has been made.
I feel a need to be open about some of the ugly parts and what goes through my mind to help me become more comfortable with all of myself. I don't know many who have made such a practice of hiding their flaws, of cultivating a persona that people see as "talented, great, smart...." The list goes on. But it rarely includes "caring, compassionate, or selfless." And that is part of how I hurt someone so badly. So I am thankful to be reminded of why its important to stop being bound by the need to manage how people see me. And just be me. Its hard to accept how strong an impulse that has been for me, overshadowing any desires to be close to someone. I screwed up. In many big ways, compounding one poor choice upon another. And someone is still hurting because of it. I am sorry for dragging them down with me. Very sorry. I want them to not hurt anymore. To not have to think about this each day with frustration, anger, and regret. I want them to be able to think about the past and get strength from it. And I want all the same things for myself.
I am thankful for being reminded of the goal of this exercise. It is a means of practice. That is, practicing being all of myself. So that I can stop hating and hiding the undesirable parts, begin understanding them, working on them, and come to a new kind of acceptance of who I am. So that I can love myself in new ways. Being flawed is a part of being human. And its ok. What you do with the flaws can be compassionate or evil or anywhere in between. I have leaned toward the evil side all of my life. This was not the first time that these issues or behaviors have come up. But it can certainly be the last if I work at it.
I am thankful for being reminded that the choices I made, though awful in context, were not meaningless.
And I am thankful for those who care for, support, and love me...and let me love them back.