I can be an asshat.
For years, I have been working on reducing the incidences that my asshat pops up on my head and is apparent to others.
Asshats are not attractive like the fascinators and divine hats Princess Kate and the queen wear.
Those hats have feathers and flowers and frills and, perhaps a few rhinestones or gems. Those hats make people smile and wonder how they stay on the wearers head and how the person wearing the hat get their head in a car without bending their neck to a ninety-degree angle.
No, asshats are pointy things that smell of petulance, envy, miffed-ness, b-o of the brain. Sometimes, an asshat is a response to a transgression or perceived transgression. They are very heavy to wear and look bad on most people.
Why do I write about asshats on a Saturday morning? Why would asshats be mentioned on a page that talks about inspiration, positive being and creating your own world within the world?
Because, I have learned that wearing an asshat is not a necessary piece of apparel. For one thing, asshats are tight around the head. I don’t know about you, but when I have my asshat on, which is often while driving in the car, I don’t like myself. I take things personally. I conjure. I speculate.
And it is exhausting and stops me from seeing good.
There have been times in my life when I think I was bored, so I put my asshat on and trolled around for discontent. I did. I didn’t know what I was doing was harmful to me, so I engaged.
I took responsibility for things I wasn’t responsible for and threw off things that I was responsible for. Confusing, you say? Yessirreebob. It causes a headache. And many headaches and anxious or depressing feelings are cause by a conflict of thoughts in your brain.
For so long, I thought that my brain was my brain, was my brain. It just was. I was born with it. I was stuck with it. And that included some negative things and less than ideal responses.
What a gift it was when I found out that my brain could be my friend instead of being my enemy and that by refocusing … retraining it, life could be better.
My inspiration for that came through a book.
I was going through a difficult time after the birth of my fourth child. They now call it postpartum depression. I just thought I was going nuts and nothing in life would be good again.
I was in my thirties. I remember feeling numb, empty and very, very alone. Our family doctor was not much help. A nice, wonderful young man, he was, but he wasn’t very knowledgeable in this area.
I had seen depression. My mother suffered from it for years. She suggested I go to a psychiatrist to see if that would help.
I went once. The man was nuts. Seriously. I was depressed, but this guy was wacko.
Two things happened. One was that I went to the bookstore and perused the self-help section. They had all kinds of books from overcoming a fear of plantar’s warts to telling your cheating spouse that you really weren’t into him anyway. Well, those weren’t quite the titles, but I can’t remember what they were.
Then I reached for a book that I do remember the title of, and that book changed my life. It was called “Overcoming Emotional Distress.”
I began reading the book in the store. And it resonated. I bought it and raced home to read it. Imagine, being so scared of how you were feeling that you prayed someone else’s words on a page could help you.
And they did.
I learned I was only responsible for what I said and did. I was not responsible for someone else’s responses. My good guacamole, that was enlightening. Here I thought I was responsible for not being able to get my dad to quit drinking or for my mother to not being able to not be depressed and for the starving kids in Africa and on and on.
You know what a full plate of conflict thinking like that can do? It eats away at you and creates someone you don’t know. There is nothing left to be the person you know and want to be.
The magic of it was it was something I could work on right then. It required nothing of anybody else. It wasn’t necessarily easy, as my brain had ruts of patterns.But Worked on it. Each thought, at first. Then I reinforced the thought and consciously thought it, instead of reactively coming up with a thought. Convoluted, but that was what I had to do.
There were times when I found myself back-sliding. I still do, occasionally. But there are signs I look for. I avoid getting too tired. I don’t like to hear “gossip”. I look at as many points of view as I can and keep my mind open to change, instead of putting up a wall of know-it-all.
I avoid conflict when at all possible. That doesn’t mean I roll over. But if think that a resolution isn’t possible, I will bow out. I am still working at trying to be more open to where others are coming from, instead of immediately at things as an intentional slight.
The other thing that happened, that I have turned into an inspiration was that a woman I hadn’t talked to in quite awhile.
She asked me how I had been and it didn’t take long before I was sniffling and then boo-hooing.
“I had that, too,” she said.
“You did?” I said.
She told me all about her journey through the darkness. I told her how I was feeling. Here I thought that I was the first person to feel like this. I was alone and scared and thought I had failed myself. Just hearing that I wasn’t alone and it was something I would get through, made a huge difference.
Eventually, the cloud lifted and I got my bearings. I didn’t want the old bearings back. I kept the new ones that I was developing.
That episode was one of the many things I have been through that changed me. It was a huge growing opportunity. At the time, I didn’t know if I would survive it, but I did, and that is when I learned about empathy.
It wasn’t until years later that I became a writer. But part of my inspiration to be the kind of writer that I am, came from that time.
Some writers write for fame or fortune or simply pleasure or to understand their thoughts.
I write to share myself and my stories so others don’t feel alone. We are all a part of this funny, lovely, awful, loving, hateful species called the human race. We come into this life alone and most of us will die alone. But in-between? We don’t have to be alone. We can offer ourselves, our stories, a helping hand, a listening ear, to others. We can laugh and carry-on inspire of doom and gloom and aches and pains.
And if we work on it, we will find that our asshats just don’t fit anymore. And they aren’t needed. We can replace them with food thoughts, understanding, lemon squares shared with others.
Yes, each of us can inspire. We can love. We can share. We can live.
And we can get rid of our asshats.
PS … I read this on a church sign some twenty years ago … “If you argue with a fool, there are two fools arguing.”