I have been thinking about my life and when I do, I see a kite.
I describe a kite as a huge diamond with a wooden frame covered in cloth, and a long, thin string on the end with tiny, pointless bows attached.
The kite is large and it blows in the wind, going where the wind takes it. The kite resists and acquiesces to the wind as it deems appropriate. In the end, the wind stops and allows the kite to drop back to the ground. The tail, well, it just follows along. Even if it does not want to resist or acquiesce, it has no choice. It is attached to the kite and must fly or fall as the kite and the wind determine. The tail is small with no frame or support. It is not designed to have control or any influence on the kite.
A kite tail works quite differently in reality but you should know that how I think about things is often not grounded in same reality as Scientific American.
My relationships remind me of a kite tail because I feel that I rarely resist but often acquiesce to others. These people are not evil or controlling but for years, I have simply found it easier to go along with others to prevent arguments or (due to my irrational fears) to hopefully keep the person in my life. This is what my upbringing has done to me – given me mangled coping skills and a warped idea of how a kite actually works.
My early years taught me to be quiet and unassuming (those who know me are raising a brow right now) to ensure that I am liked, people are not mean to me, and they keep coming around. Also, when I get angry, which has happened only a few times in my life, I feel very out of control.
I feel that anger takes too much control over me and I immensely dislike the feeling so I suppress a lot of my feelings to avoid it. In the early years, when I would get angry/upset, there was no one to tell, no one that cared. So, I would spend hours, days, with my anger growing inside. It is no wonder that I feel out of control when I get angry, I have no idea how to talk about it or how to share it with another person without fear.
Now, fast approaching 50, I am starting to resist being the unrealistic definition of the tail. Instead, I am becoming the kite. I am taking control of certain situations and saying exactly how I feel. In other situations, I think I am still being my version of the tail because I can avoid taking responsibility for my actions or lack thereof.
In addition, I am working to stop my “tail thinking”. When something does not go my way, I am working hard, to “get out of my own way” and stop the internal dialog that insists I am the victim in the situation. The dialogue that makes me the victim with no control.
Today, I was forced to think about the last few months when I have been less than involved in my life. In those months, I believe that I was more of my version of the kite tail than at any other time in my adult life. I let my emotions take me where ever they chose and I spent hours, days, crying because I was not “getting the attention or outcomes that I thought were due to me”.
Today, as I sat here thinking about how unfair it is that I am home alone, I “got out of my own way” and took responsibility for my actions over the last month. I realized that the person on the other end of this situation is not unduly punishing me and always works hard to make time for me.
Over the last few months, it was my decision to succumb to my negative emotions and only be partially involved when we were together. It was my decision to sit on the couch and run every negative thought that I could through my head instead of appreciating the good that was happening right in front of me. Now that I am ready to tune in 100% and the other person is not available, does not make me the victim. I have been the tail and I let my thoughts control me and I gave up my control to the fullest.
When I have the next opportunity to spend time with this person, I had better seize the opportunity. This realization is my pinnacle for today!
It feels good to accept that I can take control in situations and people are still going to feel the same about me. I can say no and I can voice my opinion and sometimes it will cause conflict and sometimes it will not. However, in the end, solid relationships will remain unbroken.
It feels even better that I have come to realize that I must work on dealing with relationships in a more objective/rational manner. I am not always the victim when things do not go my way. Sometimes, they do not go my way because, well, that is how things go. Sometimes, they are going my way and I need to “get out of my own way” so that I can see it.
To anyone who is still reading, I must stress that negative actions and words take only one minute to share but they can often take a lifetime to undo. During my adult life, I have definitely fixed a lot of the garage that was in my head from my childhood but there is always more. I have definitely fixed the major issues but, I have every intention to keep working on being my best.