I had been planning to write this post about the new steps I have been taking in my path of being a better me. The big and the little. From joining a self-defence class to simply trying to improve my posture when I sit (I’m a skinny 5’5″ and a terrible sloucher. So whatever helps).
But the past few days have been a tumultuous affair, a bit of a challenge to say the least. So rather than focus on the physical I am going to tell you about the little synchronicities that have happened, the things that have helped me along, and where my mind has went, and where it is currently.
First off, I am actually starting to believe that as you set yourself of on your journey of betterment, some things will happen that will certainly challenge any notion you have about yourself, how good a person you actually are, the fallout from past mistakes etc, but others, others will come along to help you on your way.
Take the self-defence class for example. I had no intention of doing such a thing and had not even considered the thought. I dabbled with a few martial arts in my teens, long before I set myself off on my meandering wayward path, a slave to my sensations and emotions. And even with my newfound sense of well-being and continued physical activity I had not considered going back to any such thing, especially since I am nowhere near as flexible as I once was.
However an opportunity presented itself in the form of a work colleague and friendly acquaintance who I have to utmost respect for. He had been training in the Israeli self-defence of Krav Maga for a number of years and had reached the stage where he wished to start taking his own classes. He had been going around trying to garner interest in order to make it a successful venture and had asked if I was interested.
This opportunity presented to me a two-fold chance. One, to learn how to better protect myself and those I love and in doing so increase my fitness. And two, to do something that would also benefit someone other than myself. Something that I am also working to improve. I have always felt that I was a good person to others, but I only ever helped people when it suited me.
In my younger years I was raised to always help and consider others, and I was happier then. In fact I do believe my life path changed when I became more self-centred and selfish. So as part of my being better I made, and continue to make, the conscious decision to be more considerate and helpful to others. This was a prime opportunity to do so.
So I went to the class. And even though I am sitting here bruised and sore a few days later, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will certainly be going back for more. Another step has been taken, a step in the right direction, and if for nothing else the fact that I am helping someone else to succeed will drive me on.
The day after the class was something else entirely. Without divulging intimate details it involved my soon-to-be ex. And therefore was highly emotional, a real test… in which I wholeheartedly failed. Forgetting all the positive steps I have been making in such regard and the coping mechanisms I have been employing to overcome my heartbreak and despondency.
My day had started off poorly after I awoke from a dream in which she was living with someone else, and our son. The feelings that had left me with lingered in the back of my mind for quite a while.
Now to give a little insight. As our son only stays with me and rarely wants to go out anywhere with his mother the only opportunity she has to spend time with him is in our jointly owned house. Of course this means I have to face this woman who no longer loves me in order for her to continue to have some sort of relationship with him. This itself is a major hurdle for me. And most times I can cope fairly well.
But not on this day. It was a Sunday and as she was there I decided to take the opportunity to go into work for a few hours for some much-needed extra finances. All was good. We had texted each other a few times, as we usually do, which is weird in itself. She told me she had cleaned the floors and ironed the laundry. Normally when this happens I simply say thank you. But this time, something snapped.
My thoughts went like this: ‘Why should I thank her?’. ‘When she isn’t around I do that all myself anyway’. ‘She should be spending that precious time trying to rebuild her relationship with our son instead of avoiding his offhandedness to her by doing things around the house’.
The best way of putting it, and the way I put it to her was this. Me saying thanks to her for helping around the house is like saying thanks to someone who has taken a million pounds from me and then given me a tenner back. That’s how I felt. Normally though I just suck it in and leave it at thanks. Yes, it helps that I have slightly less to do when I get home and I can spend more time with our son or doing the things I enjoy. So I just leave it at that. This time however I unleashed a whirlwind.
The texts that followed, which continued throughout the rest of the day, were downright savage, from both sides. She painted all my failings in bright vibrant colours, and I hers. Unavoidable and unmistakable. I was a poor husband, she a poor mother. Suffice to say anger and resentment became the core tenet of the day.
When I returned home she tried to pacify the situation by having some mindless conversation. ‘How did work go?’ etc. But by this stage I had stewed on my own emotions enough that I had no interest in entertaining her with frivolities. So she left shortly after.
The texts continued on however. Long into the late evening and ending with an ‘I am dead to you’ text from her.
The thing is I understand why she left me and don’t blame her for the feelings she had which led her to that decision. I suppose my anger comes from the fact I resent that she gave up and in the process has damaged our son greatly.
The following morning we were both apologetic. No point going over unfertile land. And we do have to maintain some sort of passable relationship for the benefit of our son. So things have settled. And hopefully will remain so.
Anger and resentment are a terrible, powerful, negative thing. No good can ever come from such feelings. But sometimes they are just so difficult to subdue or even dissipate that they lead you down their dark path. And as much as I am being conscientious in trying to be better and do more good it is just as important that I retain that same sense of self-awareness when it comes to the difficult times in life also. I have learned an important lesson from that day. One I will not let myself forget.