My wonderful boyfriend fervently believes in holding people accountable. If you were dumb enough to do something obviously wrong, you deserve to be called out for it. As much as I do wish, at times, he’d be a little less confrontational and a lot more patient and understanding, I can’t fault his logic. I believe in letting things go and not sweating the small stuff, but I also believe people really aren’t being held responsible for their actions anymore. Excuses seem to be clogging the system. I don’t want to talk about stupid people, but I do want to talk about personal responsibility. In my first post, I made the connection between life and a deck of cards and now we need to talk about the V card.
No, not virginity. VICTIM.
The word is basically used to label anyone who has ever had anything happen to them ever. The actual Google definition is, “a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.” Let’s cut right down to it- This is you. I know this is you because this is me. This is everyone on the planet. I’m not trying to make light of your pain. On the contrary, I’m trying to wake you up to show you a different perspective. Think past whatever major life changing event is darkening your soul just long enough to hear me out. Let’s refer to this event as “Peas and Carrots.”
Why “Peas and Carrots?” Because I hate peas and carrots and you hate whatever happened to you.
Peas and Carrots are horrible… (your Peas and Carrots, not my peas and carrots.) They hurt you, and even though they’ve passed through your system after you were forced to eat them, they’ve poisoned you and changed who you felt like you could have become. So, what do you do about it? What do you do with all those emotions?
Well, you can sit and let them build and fester and continue breaking you apart. You can let them take over and rule your life, giving the person who gave you Peas and Carrots control even after they’ve gone. You can become a monster yourself and take it out on everyone, pushing away the people who would never give you anything but (insert favorite food). You could give away the rest of your soul and depart this world as some poor tragic broken thing, or you can decide to close that door and move on with your life, pick up your pieces, and find some effing glue.
I have lost two friends to suicide and twice, I have been a breath away from following suit. The only thing that stopped me was the thought of who would find me. First, was the sound of my brother coming home. He’s severely bipolar and incredibly fragile and, if he had found his only sibling dead of her own doing, I knew it would have ruined him forever and I couldn’t destroy him like that. Then, the second time, was my mother’s worried voice begging me to “please, just go to sleep” so I wouldn’t do anything stupid and I couldn’t bare thinking about leaving her like that, worried and helpless.
Where I messed up was, after Peas and Carrots broke me, I stayed broken. Then I let other things break me even more. I backed into a corner and sat licking my wounds allowing myself to sink into the darkness while other Peas and Carrots piled up in from of me. I let someone slip the V card into my deck and allowed it to poison my hand. I didn’t know I had the power to discard it. I didn’t notice the other cards trying to shine through, cards like SURVIVOR.
Can we just stop and acknowledge the fact that we actually did survive Peas and Carrots? Personally, I fought them tooth and nail, so why would I let them keep governing my life?
One of my favorite quotes is technically from a video game a friend of mine used to play called “Fallout.” Every time I read it, it reminds me why I am here. “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” This is why you should build your deck around the survivor card and not the victim card. This is where you step up and take back the control. You are the one responsible for how you heal, or even if you do. You are responsible for your thoughts, your emotions, your actions. You don’t have to give other people your power.
Playing the V card after Peas and Carrots are over, is a choice.
I know that sounds harsh, believe me. I’ve had to make a lot of painful choices, but in the end, I wanted to break free and be my own person and I must make the same choices every day. I want to be happy. I want to be healthy. I don’t want to live like that anymore, covered in shame, locked in an internal purgatory. I don’t want to keep blaming other people or circumstances for why my life didn’t turn out the way it was going to. No one else can fix you, so you have to take responsibility. I’m not implying this is quick, easy, and instantaneous, either. I started small, finding and opening all the doors I’d locked up tight. I had to work relentlessly at it and some times I had to go back and begin again. I started changing the way I thought and discovering what makes me happy. I had to find myself.
When I was 11/12 my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. After having lost my other grandmother to cancer only a few months earlier, I was terrified. I remember sitting with my family around the dining room table, discussing options, and trying to memorize exactly the way she looked in case I never saw her again… I needed her. She was my rock and I felt like I was drowning. They made the decision to remove her breast and I asked if she was sad. Her response sent ripples through my spirit I can still feel today.
No. They could take whatever was going to keep her alive.
She could have played her V card and no one would have blamed her but instead she built her deck around a survivor card she wasn’t even sure she would get. This is the warrior I want to be. I want to take responsibility for the things I can control in my life and overcome the things I can’t. I want to command my army and fight for my dreams. I don’t want to belong in the way of VICTIM to someone else. I made it past Peas and Carrots and I can eat whatever the hell I feel like. I’m not their victim, I’m their survivor.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley