About Me

I have something to say... But a blog let's me spew until I figure out what it is.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Origin of My Manifesto

So it's been weighing on my mind that perhaps my ranting from last week caught some people a little of guard and that it may have even come off as the angry ramblings of a woman on the edge - so I thought perhaps some explanation would be appropriate.

About two weeks after my brother passed away I started seeing a therapist who specialized in something called Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. The basic premise of this therapy/philosophy is that we put too much pressure on ourselves and far too many expectations on other people. It was built around the Epictetus' theory 2,000 years ago that said: "Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them."

In its simplest form, Albert Ellis (the father of R.E.B.T) believed that we all want to be happy, but that our reaction to events which we percieve are hindering us from achieving our goals are actually what stops us from being successful - NOT from the event itself, but from our reaction to the event. Through this philosphy and mental training, you learn three important points: Unconditional Life-Acceptance, Unconditional Other-Acceptance and Unconditional Self-Acceptance.

Aka: Sometimes things do not go the way that you wanted them to - but it is not unbearable.

For the past six months I have been practicing the things that I have learned in REBT. In that time, I have been able to nearly erradicate my predisposition to obsessive perfection. I have been able to accept that I am imperfect without fear of other's opinions engaging my most neurotic behaviors. I no longer feel dissapointment when other's do not meet the expectations that I had for their behavior (for example: I sent so-and-so flowers on their birthday and they didn't even CALL me!).

I have gained patience and I no longer have anxiety attacks the way that I once did. I have learned to "manage" challenging events rather than "dealing" with them - by which I mean that if some new chellenge arises I am more adequately positioned to establish "what is going on" and come to a swift conclusion rather than getting upset about it, wasting my energy on the emotions that come with "HOW REDICULOUS IS THIS????" and then losing my sensability in my response because I was so wrapped up in the "can you believe it!!!??" of it all.

It is because of REBT that I have been able to mourn my brother, enhance my relationship with Josh, double and even triple the love that I feel for Olivia, and restore a relationship with my mom which had been very badly damaged over the last 10-15 years.

What's more, I have been able to establish something I have never (ever) been able to do: Boundaries.

I have been able to say "this is what I am comfortable with and this is what I am not comfortable with".

I have been able to feel like I AM entitled to happiness... and I AM just as important as anyone else.

So its with all this combined that I wrote the Manifesto last week. It was my breakthrough - when 6 months of work "clicked" into place in the jumbled mess that is my brain and poured onto the page at 95 WPM.

It felt great. I felt free. And it's been a new world ever since!

Love always,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

To Whom It May Concern

It's been a while since I last posted - my apologies to those who actually look forward to my blogs - things have been really hectic and I just simply haven't found the time to write.

Its been a very long week for me - and by "week" I mean the last 5 days collectively.

And so - today I offer you my "Letter to the World" - to the people I surround myself with - to the people who are in my life and the shananagins that make me mad... consider this my formal "fuck you very much letter".

To Whom It May Concern:
This is what you get with me. You may not believe it, but I have no agenda. I am not secretly plotting against you for my own personal advancement. I make no qualms about thinking I do good work, that I am committed to excellence, but I will no longer torture myself for perfectionism.

I make mistakes. I will be HAPPY to own up to them (and even apologize!) but I will not take responsibility for things beyond the reach of things that were my fault. If you ask for anything beyond that from me you can go fuck yourself. I will not be bullied into taking more than is mine to take.

I wear my emotions on my sleeve - its one of the things that makes me who I am so if it doesn't work for you - I. Don't. Care. I will do my part to have more rational beliefs in what is going on around me, but it won't stop me from getting sad or mad from time to time and crying about it.

While I may have, at one time, been insecure - I don't care what you think. I will not be so cliche as to say "Life is too short to blah blah blah..." but I will say that I want to be HAPPY far more than I want your approval and since I have learned that my HAPPINESS is in no way hinged on your APPROVAL - we seem to have reached a crossroad, my friend.

My priorities are my priorities - your priorities are your priorities - we don't usually share the same ones and I will not help you meet your priorities at the expense of my own.

I will not look to people for support, so don't be disappointed when you look to me for support and it isn't there. I've spent most of my life going to bat for people who, in my mind, were given the short end of the stick with the unspoken hope that one day I would be in a similar position and they would do the same for me. But I have news for you - I am still beat up, spit out, and undefended. Shame on you, Jenn, for living with so many expectations of other people - sitting in judgment on whether they did or they didn't meet your expectations.

But here's the double-edged component of it, people. If it is not appropriate to live my life expecting things of you, it is just as inappropriate for you to do it of me.

I am not interested in whether you like me or not. I am not interested in your acceptance. I don't care if you think I am too direct. I don't really have an opinion about whether you believe that I play fair or not.

I am who I am.
I am proud of my accomplishments.
I apologize for NOTHING unless I have hurt you - because my intention is NEVER EVER EVER to hurt anyone.


And if you don't know me well enough or can't take the time to know that about me, then that's YOUR problem - not mine. Because you sat on it. Whined about it. Talked about me behind my back and withheld from me (and yourself) the opportunity to come to an understanding and to apologize for it.

You poor thing. You victim you.

I will not live my life feeling shamed or fearful or scared or manipulated.

I am in control of myself - what I choose to live with and what I do not choose to live with. Your game is going to change because you lost the leverage you once had in interacting with me but I am no longer concerned about whether I am making your life harder.

And lastly, BACK OFF. I don't need to babysat, watched, micromanaged, guided, instructed, or taught. I am happy to ask for help and have learned (finally) that it isn't a weaknesses - so when you shove it at me, its just fucking annoying. It's disrespectful and it shows that you presume I don't know any better. Well - here's a little note: It makes you look pushy, controlling, and opinionated. What does that mean for me? It means that at one time - when I just couldn't keep my "pearls of wisdom" to myself, I was pushy, controlling and opinionated - so I am not saying ONE thing to you that I haven't acknowledged in myself.

It definitely feels better for people to ASK for your opinion.

I stubbornly refuse to make myself miserable about practically anything. But I got some decisions to make.

Love always,