Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My, how much you've grown!


'Okay, I've got 25 minutes to make my way through Home Depot, pay, and get to the coffee shop.' No problem, right? All I need is a few light bulbs, something to remove the Barbie sticker from the passenger door of the car (grrr!), and some bird seed. 'Do not veer off course - do not make your way through the aisles that showcase the gleaming new kitchen faucets. There is nothing to be gained by picking up flats of showy annuals that will only wilt in the car while you're having coffee. Forget the new throw rugs. Just light bulbs, birdseed and the cleaner.'

Made it through with a few minor path adjustments. I love to walk down by the tractors and sit in the vinyl seat of a shiny new green and gold John Deere lawn mower. Something about that makes me feel strong and powerful. Hmm, it's a little like an aphrodesiac. Is that wrong?


'Okay, shake it off. Head for the checkout counter and pay. Stephanie's going to be waiting for you at the cafe. Move it, girl!'


The pleasant smile of the orange-aproned woman completes my sunny disposition. She is happy to be here today, among the scruffy construction guys and elderly ladies picking up bags of potting soil too heavy for their bingo arms. I love this place, too. So many possibilities. At least until I open my wallet to pay and realize I forgot to put my debit and credit cards back in. I have no money. All of a sudden I feel stupid. I have no money. No way to pay for these things I've chosen this morning. And I have no time to fix it because I'm due somewhere else right now.


I apologize, awkward as a 10-year old boy at a school dance. I have screwed up and I'm so embarrassed. I put aside the cart, grateful for the checker's reassurances that this is not so unusual, and promise to return later today. Ugh.


On the walk across the sunny parking lot it hits me that I can't pay for my coffee date this morning, either. A year ago I would have been reduced to tears by this situation. I would have been so mortified at my own irresponsibility that hot, shameful sobs would have erupted from my chest as I sat behind the wheel of my car. Not today. Stephanie will understand. We can laugh about it together and I'll offer to pay next time. I'll roll my eyes at how this could have happened and we will have a pleasant visit anyway.


I am astonished at how difficult it was for me to overcome the obstacles that stood between me and others. I was completely unable to trust my friends and family to accept me as something other than perfect and competent and always prepared. It took a lot of hard work and practice asking for and accepting help from others to get me here, but I like it. I like that I don't spend time berating myself for being 'stupid' and 'thoughtless' when, truthfully, I've only made a mistake. I've only allowed myself to be human, and showed that side to others that care for me. What a frightening exercise that is, but the rewards are beyond my ability to express. Instead of spending the entire coffee date full of anxiety and self-loathing, I was able to genuinely engage with a friend and have a truly relaxed experience. Hallelujah!

10 comments:

grammer said...

Ah, Kario, I know this particular & awkward pain so well! I am so glad you are learning to relax in the arms of the world. xo t

Deb said...

Good for you! What an amazing victory. I love the "bingo arms". I love that you're able to forgive yourself and trust your friends. Did you get back to Home Depot?

Carrie Wilson Link said...

HUGE breakthrough! Pretty soon you'll be able to blow off a loved one's birthday and not even CARE! Baby steps, though, baby steps!

Scott from Oregon said...

Whoot! for you. And a woohoohoo!

I think the greatest gift one can give themselves is to not take themselves too seriously.

I mean come on. I KNOW you get gas and sneak peeks at men's crotches and sometimes stick your finger in a fresh cake and steal a little frosting...

You ain't foolin' nobody...

kario said...

Actually, Scott, I'm a "thigh girl". But you're right about the other bits. Am I that transparent? ;-)

Eileen said...

Yeah!! Good for you, this is huge. You took an incident that could have really ruined your day, and beat yourself up and realized that you are human like the rest of us, no biggie, just a simple mistake. You could still meet your friend, have a good time and give yourself permission to make mistakes and know it isn't the end of the world. I am with you on working on this, sure makes life a lot happier. xo

Suzy said...

Oh boy, does this sound familiar. Beating up on ourselves over and over again- makes no sense- such wasted time until we realize that nothing is really that important.
Great post!

Jerri said...

Hallelujah is right!!

So happy to hear this story, Kari. Good for you!

Ziji Wangmo said...

Great Post! It can be so hard sometimes to just let go and NOT beat yourself up - I know this from the inside out! It's awesome to be able to relax and accept our mistakes and then we can enjoy the moment! I'm sure your friend was more that happy to buy coffee, and since you don't mind Home Depot, it's not really a problem to have to go back...only that the remains of the Barbie sticker stays in the car a little longer.
Hallelujah!

Sue said...

Oh, it's all so familiar! I'm way behind you, but getting there ...

I loved "bingo arms" and "awkard as a 10-year-old boy at a school dance" -- your writing is terrific.

You are an inspiration to me.

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