"Lots of people want to ride the limo with you, but a true friend will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."-Oprah
"My Karma ran over your Dogma."-Unknown
*A little disclaimer
This post talks about Karma and self blame. Please don't think, in reading this, that I think any of you are to blame for your losses, or that Karma played a role, I am just trying to be truthful here about what has been going through my own mind.
Up until September 4, 2008, my life had been a fairly typical one, a mix of good times, and not so good times, that always seemed to find a way to continue on in an upward trend.
Here is my life... in a nutshell.
I was a very happy little kid, and a pretty happy teenager. I was captain of cheerleading, nine times out of ten my grades landed me on the honor roll, and teachers usually commented that I was "very bright, but far too social" in my classes. When I went to college, I went through a really bad breakup with a person who was NOT good for me, and while at the time I thought it was the end of the world, later I realized that freedom from that type of a relationship would be one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. My freshman year of college I got really sick with a throat infection that landed me in the hospital, and had me sidelined for the better part of my first semester, and when I came through that I went through this completely obnoxious phase of feeling invincible, and responded with a little period of rebellion that to this day makes me do a mental head slap, but for the most part wasn't outside the norm of what most kids do at one point or another. A year later I found a sense of direction, and went on to meet my husband, enjoy the start of a very successful career, and make plans to start a family... you know the rest.
I always felt peace with every part of my life (even my mistakes because I had learned from them) and if I had to do all over again, I always said I wouldn't change a thing, because it had been this succession of actions (both the right ones and the wrong ones) which led me to the exact moment of meeting my husband nearly nine years ago, and in the end, finding this amazing person to spend my life with was all that mattered.
There is a saying about looking at life through rose colored glasses, and I think that is what I used to do, but my ability for that seems to be another victim of this loss, and when I look back now, everything seems tainted by self blame.
Lately I can't focus on anything that represents my having any good qualities, like moments where I made someone feel loved, or proved myself to be a good friend. When I flip through scenes in my life, all I can see are moments that I might feel regret or shame over, moments where my morals and priorities were misguided, or I had been difficult or a disappointment to those who loved me, and I play through these moments wondering which one of them exactly it was that landed Karma's foot up my ass. There are idiotic moments that I used to joke about looking back on later in life, moments of being carefree and stupid that I thought would bring laughter when my life got too over-scheduled and boring. Now when I think about them I just feel dread and worry that maybe it was one of these moments that has come back to haunt me.
I am a woman.
I should have made a healthy baby.
I should be able to get pregnant.
I have failed in all these things.
Clearly I am to blame.
When in this rut, nothing is off the table for scrutiny. Not even my accomplishments.
I was always successful at work... is this a penance for being too cocky?
I wanted a nice house in a nice neighborhood, one that I could be proud of... am I paying for misguided priorities?
I like to think I have always treated people with respect... is there someone from my past who feels wronged by me?
I think you can see where this is going...
I can be very hard on myself. Brutally so. Since losing Peyton, I see myself only in the harshest light. It is a trait that my husband blames on my "Catholic guilt." I feel like maybe I have no right to happiness. Maybe Karma has deemed me not good enough.
Yesterday I got to going down the self blame road, when something suddenly called me in a different direction. It was a conversation with a friend, an amazing loving friend, where we didn't talk about anything in particular, and yet I couldn't help feeling an appreciation for all I do have.
I have kind hearted, loving, and supportive people in my life. Some of them I have known since I was a little kid, others I met when I was in college, or during work, or fall into this newer category of people that I have connected or reconnected with because of this loss. Their commitment to me has been unyielding, and it got me to thinking... would these people who I love and admire really put in the effort to stick around me if I were really such a terrible person?
The idea of Karma can be a really slippery slope. It can lead us to the darkest recesses of our minds, and make a journey that is already painfully self doubting, even worse. If Karma really existed, there wouldn't be a saying like "nice guys finish last." The truth of the matter is that some of the meanest and most judgmental people out there are also those who have never had to be tested, and some of the least deserving people, find success with the most ease. Clearly, there is no Karma in that.
Don't get me wrong, I totally believe in the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, but I also think that maybe I need to work on accepting the possibility that this hasn't been "done unto me" as a result of anything I have done. Maybe it has just been a run of really shitty luck that happened to someone who, like everyone else, has made some mistakes or had moments that she isn't particularly proud of, but in general, tries to be a good person.
Maybe it's time I give this person-myself, a break.
Maybe it's time I give this person-myself, a break.