I got slapped in the face the other day. Not literally slapped, that was a few months ago. I mean metaphorically. Stay with me, people.
A guy I went out with whom I now am happy to call a friend, informed me of something the other night over dinner.
He: “When it comes to guys, you’re bitter. You need to find some Zen.”
Me: “F*ck Zen.” (pause, as he raises his eyebrows in victory) “I mean, yay zen, totally!”
He: “You’ve been hurt, but so has everyone. Take it all in stride. You’re on a timeline, and it’s a made up one. You’ve made it up.”
Me: “Easy for you to say, you’re the one with the girlfriend who’s 6 years younger.” (I didn’t say this, but I thought it. I DO sometimes bite my tongue).
He: “Let go of the idea that there’s not enough time. You are the source of time in your life.”
So yeah, well, I’m bitter. Because I’ve been put through the ringer. More than once. More than twice. More than three times. Really, they should name a church after me.
But really, he’s absolutely right. With some of my recent angry actions, I’m hearing it loud and clear now, as I have taken it out on people I shouldn’t have. I am bitter. And I don’t want to be.
Being bitter doesn’t mean that I’m not over the pain of the past relationship. I am. And I don’t want those people back in my life (stop emailing me, jackass), the ones that hurt me. But I didn’t realize until this conversation that I’ve still carried the anger of wasted years and shed tears. So, it took someone who didn’t return my affections to inform me I was bitter. Oh, the irony.
This whole process has been exhausting. I’ve lost new friendships because of my bitterness. It’s been mostly infused with Sauvignon Blanc, which helps nothing, and only exacerbates my already over-opinionated mouth and my eventual embarrassment.
Yes, I did the best with what I knew at the time. But anger causes wrinkles. And a few other things, I’m sure, but most importantly, wrinkles.
There is no point in continuously beating myself (and guys) up about something I cannot change. Sure there are things I don’t like about my life. And there are things that I don’t have in my life that I thought I would by now. But I’m the one that’s increasing the impact of their absence.
My aunt passed away a few days ago, and as my mom said, it’s a reminder for me to “give the loved ones around you a big hug and enjoy as rich a life as you can. Every minute counts. Live and love your life. You’ll get over the bumps.”
That’s been my big takeaway from all of this these past few days. That I have the power to write my character as a hero rather than a victim.
Because in fact, I am proud of myself. It took supreme courage to resolve to find something, and someone, better for me. Rather than pursue doomed relationships for fear of being alone, I chose life. And radically improved the outcome of my own.
You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them…. Iyanla Vanzant
Now watch this, it makes me happy.