Self project: Accountability

Recently I began to do a little bit of self evaluation and asked myself: What do I value? The first thing that came to mind was accountability. Saying that “accountability” is one of my values is a lie. It sounds nice but the truth is, rarely have I been held accountable for anything or taken responsibility for that matter.

When I was committing fraud against the state, my father bailed me out so I wouldn’t go to prison. In fact, I have committed fraud numerous times and every time, my father was there to pay all of it so I never had to see inside of a jail. My father is dead now and can’t bail me out anymore.

Every time I aggressed toward another person, “they MADE me mad”. When I stabbed a guy, “He deserved to be stabbed for what he did”. When I ran over people with my car, that was their fault too. When I destroyed property, threw things or screamed like a crazy person, I said it was their fault. They were either stupid, mean, or deserved it in some way. Still no accountability…or taking any responsibility for my often impulsive behaviors.

Then I thought about honesty. LOL Obviously, fraud is dishonest. But sometimes, I just make up things to tell people just to see how they will respond. For example, a coworker recently asked the whereabouts of one of my employees. It had been several weeks since they had been at work. I told the coworker that my employee was on vacation, traveling the world and was currently at the Great Wall of China. The truth was, I had no idea of the whereabouts of my employee. I assumed she had quit.

If you have ever heard of the term “shadow work”, then you know in a nutshell it is the thing that pisses you off the most about other people is the very aspect within yourself that you refuse to recognize. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be pissed off about how THEY behave. I fact check everything because I don’t believe anything anyone tells me. Why? Because I am dishonest a good bit of the time. In any case, now to the list of values I believe I possess. Learning, knowledge, curiosity, privacy, personal autonomy, independence, and solitude. All of these are self explanatory.

I used to try to convince myself and others that I valued accountability, responsibility, and honesty. We can say what we want but our actions speak louder than words and determine our worth.

Which reminds me of a conversation I had with my ex several years ago. At the time, my ex’s sister was in rehab…by force, not choice. She wasn’t exactly doing well in the program. My ex asked: “How can I help her? I feel so helpless.” I responded, “If you want to help her, be willing to meet her where she is right now, not where you want her to be.”

Pretty good advice for myself right now. I don’t have to be angry with myself anymore because I don’t possess accountability, responsibility or honesty. I no longer have to tell myself that I am worthless because I don’t possess these values. To be clear, this does not mean I will never take accountability for my actions. It means, I must be willing to meet myself where I am right now, not where I think I should be. That instead of fighting against what I hate about myself and beating myself up…and everyone else…I can use that weakness as an opportunity to begin taking accountability. Especially now that I know I have been failing to do these things. As my sponsor in Narcotics Anonymous used to tell me, admitting it is the first step.

-Shadow

A response from Gwennie

Dear Shadow,

Do you remember how hard I tried to fit in?  To just be like everyone else? Even before then I wore that blanket of shame and guilt that he poured onto me like melted plastic.  I know I was unlovable but no one noticed my pain. Even you threw me in a box and tried to bury me alive. You would beat me up on a routine basis.  You screamed at me, disfiguring me with razors, and poisoned me. Are you that afraid of me? I wanted someone to listen to me but you thought you knew better.  Did I deserve this injustice? Am I that evil that someone had to teach me a lesson?

You speak of forgiveness?  I was abandoned and left to rot in all that fear, anger and confusion that drowned me like a flood.  I had a one way ticket to hell. I was helpless and afraid. I couldn’t even speak or stand up for myself.  I know it was my fault that he continued to abuse me for years. I looked up to him and even though I trembled with fear that he would touched me, still I wanted to be around him.  All the while, wanting to stay away but couldn’t.

Do you remember that time when he cared for me?  I was sick…vomiting. He got a cold wash cloth and wiped my forehead.  In that moment I thought he liked me. As soon as I recovered, I realized that believing he really cared was only so he could take care of his own selfish needs.  I knew I was not safe with anyone no matter how much they pretended to like me. All of them are just like him.

So you want forgiveness?  Tell me Shadow, do you think I trust you?

Gwennie

Borderline Psalm 54

My internal chatter leaves me no peace
It shakes me like a rattling can full of coins.
My inner noises and conflicts consume me
Like a roller coaster from hell.

I love you
I hate you
Happiness beyond measure
Sadness beyond consoling
This one
No, that one
It’s good
No, it’s evil…

If I had the wings of a bird
I would fly to the highest tree top and be at rest.
I would flee to the wilderness
To get away from this world.
I would escape
If it did not chase me.

Where can I flee from its presence?
If I sit among friends
I am consumed by thoughts of insecurity and judgments
If I sit alone
I drown in my own sadness.

I am like the blind person
Groping in the darkness
Unable to reconcile
All the pieces within.

-Shadow

Behind the masks

You took all the pieces
And stitched yourself together
It became your comfort
Entangled in the tether.

How can I know you
The one behind the guise
Lurking in the shadows
Hidden behind your eyes.

Who are you
And where did you go
That one behind the masks
That little girl down below.

Will I ever see you
The one without a name
Wrapped up your blanket
And covered in shame.

Shadow
December 25, 2018