Life starts out so innocently, so naively, so filled with promise. So much can happen as we grow, that can mold our thinking processes, and equip or not equip us to be honest, responsible, respectful, and honorable human beings. That’s where it all starts, isn’t it? As a “being?” No name, no history, or at least, no earthly history. This being has either just landed in a home of serenity and harmony, or in a home of anger and abusive language and behavior. And then this being who becomes a name and a person, must decide which way they are going to go. Some kids never touch a drink or drug because their parents were alcoholics and drug addicts. Their own sibling may follow in their parents’ footsteps. I don’t believe anyone knows why that is. What if a man lies to his wife in front of his kids, and steals from his neighbor’s garage while his young ones look on? One brother grows up to be a car thief and a habitual liar, and the other brother becomes a monk. Why? Why don’t both lie and steal, or both be honest and trustworthy?
Destiny, free choice, different strokes for different folks, character traits from mom taking over dad’s bad behavior, or vice versa? No matter which way we lean, we’ll have to deal with the baggage we add up along our way. That’s usually in our thirties, sometimes forties, if we really love denial. Denial can allow us to like ourselves even when we’re doing wrong. Denial allows us to fall asleep after we just committed a petty crime. Denial, needs to become reality at some point. That’s when all the baggage has to be sorted out. What am I angry about? Why do I have to drink so much? What am I trying to run from? Am I even trying to run from anything? Or is it normal to be like me? How do I know?
Books. That’s where I started. Reading about dysfunction, and anger, and baggage, and shame and guilt and anguish and unresolved feelings leading to depression, frustration, and hurt. How do you get rid of this “baggage?” I learned from reading the books I non coincidentally picked out at the book store, that first, you have to admit everything you’ve been repressing, then you have to name it all, and then you need to try and make amends to as many of those things or people as you can. Doing these things will rid you of all the pent up emotions causing the anger, causing the inappropriate behavior. It was a long hill to climb for me, starting at the very bottom. I went to a twelve step program, followed their guidelines, identified my problems, made amends to all I needed to, and began to live more functionally. I learned how not to have a fit when one of my kids spilled orange juice all over the floor I just washed. On my knees! Not really. I learned to give kids a little notice before you want them to just stop what they’re doing and come! My kids liked that. I learned how to talk in a calmer fashion. All this because I was getting rid of my demons. One of which, was my relationship with my father.
It was strained at that time, and was always a tug of war over control and domination. He always seemed so big to me. Once I began to learn what to do to heal myself, I talked our lives out with him, told him what had hurt me, and he told me he loved me and had always been proud of me. Those were the words I always wanted to hear, and I was thirty eight when I did. That got rid of a whole lot of baggage. It freed me to start enjoying life, and not yelling when I got mad, and not getting to that place as often, or as deeply. I was letting people go in front of me, instead of blowing my horn. I was slowing down for cars to get off their ramp and onto the highway, instead of cursing them out. Actually, I was surprising myself. There had been a lot of yelling and screaming in my home, so to be calm, and talk, not yell, was new territory for me. I had to get comfortable with it. I had to accept the fact that I could be functional. Dysfunctional always fit like a glove. Functional felt a little too fancy.
Now, I must admit, there are those times when every shred of my being feels like it is being stepped on, for many reasons. At those times, I may explode. I can’t implode, I have Crohn’s and I try not to keep anything rattling around inside of me. But those times are few and far between, and I’m always in the process of trying to learn more through reading, and Reflexology, and life’s happenings. I do wonder though, what I would have turned out like if I had grown up with Ozzie and Harriet. Would I be a mass murderer or the Pope? Does it all boil down to Destiny? Is it fate? Is it free choice, and from birth on, we hold the knowledge on what choices to make, good and bad? What the Hell is it?
Does it matter? Shouldn’t we try to do the best we can, and respect each other as we would like to be respected? But what if our parents were loud mouthed, and got drunk and bothered the neighbors? Where, then, do we learn what respect is? Do we know it deep within ourselves, put there by a Higher Power? Does it come from the soul? Do we learn it in school? Do we learn it on the softball team? And then, do our minds have the choice to act like it, or not?
Act like respect. Shouldn’t that come naturally? Did the cavemen respect each other’s space and things? Do the animals in the jungle respect each other’s space and things? Some do, some don’t. Just like humans. The world would be so much better off if everyone would take a look at their baggage, admit it, identify it, list it, and deal with it. There would be less anger and hostility. And that’s never a bad thing.