(Image from 101 Dalmations – Cruella da Ville)
I am taking more notice of my life these days and I have discovered that the truth is in the everyday things we do and how we live. For instance, driving: something most of us do most days.
I started to pay attention to what kind of driver I am and my emotional reactions to it and to other drivers. It told me quite a lot about myself and I don’t think I have discovered all of the truth its revealed yet or even assessed it all correctly, but I am attempting to.
A few weeks ago, I had a minor car accident, when someone drove into the front left of my car as I pulled out of my drive way. She was driving too fast, but if I rewind to how I felt that morning I see that I got into my car, ungrounded and pushing down emotions I didn’t want to feel. I had woken up really not wanting to go to work: I have been struggling with work since I got back from Australia (my trip to Australia shone a light on my life and nothing I thought was real has felt real). I felt very tired and upset and really had to force myself to get ready. I was a bit late and I did that very English thing (maybe not just English) of “pulling myself together” and got into the car, pulled forward, looked left quickly, didn’t see any oncoming car, pulled further out and then there was this big bang, a jolt, everything went into slow motion and then I was sat there motionless, stunned, with bits of my car and the other drivers car on the road.
I’m not certain, but I think it happened to show me I wasn’t paying attention to how I was feeling: I was “shoulding” myself, pushing myself, telling myself to be responsible and go to work. (My facade is SO pushy, a bully). It was nothing about the truth. It was all about the lies that made me do something I really didn’t want to do and avoid what I felt: sadness, fear, pain, frustration, powerless. It was also a few days after a disgreement with my mother, where she didn’t like what I said; where she wanted me to maintain a facade of myself that she wants me to be to suit her view of herself as a good mother. The car was written off and it was a car she had bought for me – a first financial gift from her that I had infact accepted insincerely, feeling it was owed to me. I ignored my conscience and led with my fear ( my old car was not in a good state) and anger at the time.
Before the accident, I had started paying more attention my driving, because sometimes I am really shitty to other drivers: impatient, judgemental, critical, pushy, nasty even. A lot of these things are how I am with myself at times, but why am I like that with other drivers? Either way it’s very unloving.
So everytime I started to get angry, judgmental, condescending ( all parts of my facade) even I started to ask why? What was going on under that? Being angry meant I wanted an addiction met. Wanting an addiction met meant I had a fear or other emotion I didn’t want to feel.
A few examples:
“Come on drive faster! Should you be out on the road? Do you need your eyes testing, you keep putting your brakes on?”
ie you should drive the way I think you should drive! I want to be in control or I’m afraid you’ll cause a crash.
This happens when I am late for work or something else and there are a number of different emotions and layers of emotions going on, depending on the situation. I may be judging myself for being late or angry with myself or angry that I even have to be at the place I am meant too. Then under that I am afraid of what others may think of me or I may be “found out” in someway. I am often also avoiding some sadness and pain over areas of my life and how limited it is. The layers can go on, into my lack of self love or worth.
“Arsehole, you cut in front of me and it’s my fault!?” ( as a man makes rude sign and swears at me)
I don’t like the anger being projected at me, but rather than feel the fear and sadness, I project back at him. I deny how it really made me feel because I don’t want to feel powerless and terrified.
There are many other examples, but I hope you get the drift of it. Looking just at my driving is showing me how unloving I can be; how much my facade controls everything; how I want it that way because I am afraid and/or unwilling to feel the other emotions that I judge as weaker, or wrong or I am just so used to suppressing. I believe this to be normal and in fact observe it around me in so many others. I deny there is another way to be, push aside my hurt child and deny any chance of the real me being present.
But it has been so useful too of course. The truth of my unlovingness isn’t good to feel, but it is the truth and I find if the anger starts to come or it just happens, I catch it quicker, breathe and ask myself, “What’s really going on Maxine? What don’t you want to feel?” This sometimes lead to me feeling some of the fear or some sadness ( tiny amounts at the moment). Or sometimes I have a really good scream and rant in the car, but not at others.
So two main points here:
We have a choice: to be unloving or to love (ourselves, others, our environment)
Truth is revealed in the everyday things – what annoys us, irritates us, how we react to minor events, other people etc.
God doesn’t keep secrets – he’s telling us all the time: we just need to pay attention – desire to know, see, hear, feel. Have the courage to see the truth of our life: we can’t change what we deny, ignore, minimise or judge.