Friday, November 3, 2017

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

Empirical assumption: people don't like to be wrong.

It's uncomfortable.

It's embarrassing.

It sucks.

I, personally, would rather do a host of undesirable things - the dishes immediately comes to mind - than be publicly exposed as wrong about something. To avoid that sucker-punch-to-the-gut feeling that comes with error, I've developed a list of go-to preventative measures:

1. do copious research

2. have sources on lock

3. "when-in-doubt, shut-yo-mouth"

But even this is not a no-fail system.

So, inevitably, I'm wrong sometimes.

And it sticks in my craw - no lie - for years.

While I wish I were kidding, I still remember math problems I missed on high school exams.

The self-flogging over decades-old mistakes is ludicrous.

And so... I plan to stop. Or - let's be real here - at least change the way I respond to being wrong.

Yesterday, I was objectively and publicly wrong about something.

I've mentally harped on it incessantly, and, in doing so have noticed two things:

1. This has drained my energy, and made me feel bad.

2. I will not make that same mistake again, so help me God.

My epiphany lies in 2.

Because I think it's the remedy to the mental masochism that is 1.

I - and dare I say WE, as the human race - learn. from. mistakes.

Indeed, historically, mistakes are the greatest of teachers.

Through mistakes we learn how to adjust course and avoid similar, future pitfalls.

Y'all - mistakes are blessings in disguise!

(I mean, ya know, sorta. There are extreme examples but we're talking day-to-day wrongness here, not nuclear code wrongness.)

My most profound growth has always come from making mistakes. Generally, the bigger the mistake, the bigger the growth.

Armed with this Christopher-Columbus-esque "discovery," I plan on handling mistakes differently going forward.

While I likely cannot control the sour-gut feeling, I CAN control what I do about it.

I can DECIDE to make each mistake a learning opp. I can CHOOSE to see each misstep as a "discovery" of the Americas, even though I was aiming for Asia.

In short, I can learn from the mistake of beating myself up for making mistakes!


I feel better already.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Carlos Correa and What It Means To Be With Someone "Special"

Baseball: I personally couldn't care less. But for others, like my husband, the game's Greats are superstars. And who doesn't want to be a superstar?

So last night, at the conclusion of The World Series, Carlos Correa's game performance and subsequent proposal got me contemplatin' - what are the potential pros and cons of dating/marrying someone society deems "special"?

In my lifetime, I've dated three people who could claim a certain amount of fame - a musician, an actor, and a politician. In each case, my mate's respective "special" status afforded me some undeniable perks: VIP entry to events/clubs, free swag, personal exposure.

But each also brought equally undeniable drawbacks: peer pressure, questionably high levels of compromise, and again, personal exposure.

In short, for every free box or court-side seat I received, every line I skipped, every red carpet I walked, I got a disproportionate dose of inappropriate remarks: "Oh you're so lucky to be dating HIM. I'd do anything to get next to HIM.," judgmental stares, backstabby friend-to-your-face, Judas-at-your-back nonsense, and, perhaps most surprisingly, personal pressure to conform.

When I was in these relationships, I unwittingly bought into some of the hype. I WAS lucky to be with HIM. I WAS special BECAUSE I GOT TO BE WITH HIM. And therefore, when I was unhappy with the relationship or his behavior, the problem was with ME (the flawed, not famous one), and not with HIM. (Spoiler alert- in each case, much of the problem was, in fact, WITH HIM.)

Because of these beliefs and the pressures I faced (both from within and from society), I found myself compromising my thoughts, my opinions, my desires, to better align with my "superior" significant other.

Every disagreement lead to panic and my own, self-imposed gaslighting - "Will Mr. Special leave me if I continue to assert myself? I better take a more subservient approach just in case..."

Every deal-breaker was suddenly up for grabs - "This is the last straw! I should definitely not tolerate this behavior! Or should I? I mean, everybody loves Mr. Special. Am I the one overreacting here?"

The constant second-guessing of my person and values (again, largely imposed by myself and society - though occasionally reinforced by Mr. Special), left me feeling drained, on edge and, often, slightly nuts.

My behavior would then echo my mental chaos.

By about month three, I'd be close to daily mental breakdown.

But in two of my three SPECIAL relationships, this hell wasn't enough to break the bond. In two of the three, I managed to stretch the dysfunction out into one and two years, respectively.

It was a nightmare of my own making.

At least partly.

Now I think I should pause at this point to say, very clearly, I know absolutely nothing of Correa's relationship. The man could be The Second Coming, and his fiancee the very essence of Angel-on-Earth. They certainly look happy, and I wish them every happiness. I hope theirs is one for the ages, and, for all I know, it could be.

All I am saying is, watching the very sweet proposal at the conclusion of Game 7 got me thinking about my own past, and how difficult it was to be in a relationship with someone the world wanted to worship. Especially as I WAS NOT someone the world wanted to worship.

And I'd say that therein lies the key - that so long as the couple is on the same social footing, perhaps the pressure is less. Perhaps, when both people are A-list and desired, some of that pressure goes away.

But I doubt it does.

Incessant eyes, constant scrutiny, and unending temptation have proved the demise for countless power couples. So I suppose the pressure is intense no matter how SPECIAL the pairing.

Relationships are hard. Throw fame and all its pitfalls into the mix, and I don't know how any of them survive.

Those that do must be SPECIAL.

And that's the kind of "special" I'd like to be.