I propose that ownership of your shit, or ownership of your glory, is an integral part of becoming a better version of yourself, and if it is yours, you may use it. If it is something you know of, or heard about, or read, or that happened to somebody, it does not count. Period. This is how I can best summarize STEP 8 of our journey, which may be unclear to some of you. I was married for a short time to a man who had an anger problem, an alcohol problem, a cocaine problem, a money problem, and a job problem, and during the time that I was his wife, those problems were mine. It could also be stated that at that time my parents had a daughter problem, or that my infant had a momma problem. You see, we each own our part of the experience, however, I only “own” my portion…what happened to me, what I saw with my own eyes, what I felt with my own heart, what I heard with my own ears, the wounds that are my own are the only ones that I can own. If I choose to default to role of victim over every single thing that goes wrong in my life, because I went through ___, whatever _____it might be, that is my choice, that is your choice too, if however, I choose to let those experiences shuffle on back to the dark dusty closets of my thoughts, that’s my choice too. You see we all make the choice to default to the shit or not.
I know people who have had bad things happen to them. I know people who have done bad things to other people. I have a neighbor who has not spoken to her daughter in 30 years and know a woman who has not spoken to her mother in 20. I know people who have been raped, I know people who have had to bury a child, I know people who had their parents die when they were young, I know people who had such awful parents they likely would’ve been better off had their parents died…EVERY person owns that story which is their own and I know some who default to THE story, THE event as the reason for everything…every failure, every upset somehow goes back to THE thing, yet I also know people who never let those stories have any power at all over anything, people who confidently go through life with all sorts of experiences where they have actually been victimized but give those experiences no power and never play the victim card. The ones for whom life has been rosy, always, and nothing bad ever happened, well, good for them! and I mean that!! but for the rest of us…STEP 8 encourages you to own it, and get on with it. Have you ever read a memoir, or some sort of non-fiction work, and thought to yourself, ‘wow, I bet her mom wishes she were not such a horrible parent!’ or ‘I bet his ex-wife wishes she had been less greedy and more loving’ …my list of possible scenarios could go on for paragraphs, but the fact is, we, the participant in our own life, the first person narrator, the “I” and the “mine,” owns each and every detail of everything…whatever happened to us, whatever we did, ANYthing that we experience is our own. If we heard about it or read about it, that is not ownership, that is gossip and rag-mag propaganda, but if we participated in it, or were a recipient of it, it is ours to do with as we see fit.
A girlfriend of mine wrote me one day this winter, “don’t disappoint a writer” and I thought, she’s so right!!! …but I also thought, don’t disappoint anybody, if you can help it, because how we behaved to THAT person, becomes their story…either dwell on it for your whole life and let it be the event that defines you or the reason you are ____blank, or just be done with it and send it off into the stratosphere. I think that there are some people who default to what has happened in their life, it becomes what defines them whether they intended this or not, and that story is re-run over and over and over in their minds over time. It becomes their reason or their excuse for anything that they don’t want to take responsibility for. Much like Big Bang, Seinfeld, or Friends reruns, we KNOW exactly what this episode is, and we know exactly what is going to happen, and nothing is new to us at all, and we know exactly what word comes next, “Bazinga!” “These pretzels are making me thirsty!” “Pivot!” yet we don’t turn the channel. People who let those bad experiences define them or become their default are like people who watch the same shows over and over or don’t ever want to read anything new. For STEP 8 I think what I want to share, what I am trying to express, although not articulating particularly well today, is that if you are in need of a healing of some sort, or a joyful noise of some sort, just do it. Either tell the awful f**king story one last time, and get it out of your mind and do not give it any power for any more days of your life, or tell an amazing f**king story, something wonderful, and vow to make more amazing stories, and not living off the bones of the only one you’ve got! Here is the deed, here is the title…go