It is always wise to pick our battles, the ones we can win or at least not lose badly. It took me a long time to learn this lesson. Decades truthfully and I am not at all certain that I have fully embraced the concept yet, not fully internalized the idea of picking battles I can win. Nevertheless, there are some battles I have learned to let go, I no longer ride pell-mell into the fray without armor to slay all my dragons.
Don’t misunderstand from the above statement; I haven’t hung up my Lance just yet. I still yearn to ride out to slay evil doers and public menaces’, as well as, beat my surroundings into submission. Now though, well I think I am in not quite so much of a hurry as I once was. The small things that once made me crazed, they don’t send me screaming today; a crooked picture or random dust bunny won’t cause me to break out in a cold sweat. I am finding I can ignore the blatant foolishness of the political opposition, even in this an election year; well to a point I honestly haven’t beaten this one into complete submission yet. This day, today I think I have found there are larger battles, different windmills and more important wars even that I have to win if I am going to take my life back.
It seems it is the little things that are beginning to matter less to me. Not that the little things are making me more or less crazed as they once did, instead some of them are giving me less anxiety and sometimes even more pleasure even if they don’t get done exactly when I said I would do them. Now when the picture is crooked, I think to myself it might just look better that way, adding a bit of ambiance to the wall or the grouping. If the kitchen isn’t clean before I go to bed, I know it doesn’t mean anything really terrible about me as a woman, a wife or a human being it just means I didn’t feel like doing the stupid dishes or fighting with my husband about whose turn it was!
I use to believe (this was deep in my bones) if my home was not perfect it was a reflection on me, as a person. I also believed (this was also inbred deeply) I couldn’t ever stand up for myself and win the war, perhaps small battles along the way, but not the war. Where I would push for ‘right’ in my professional life and confront ‘wrong’ in public forums, I would cower in my private life afraid to confront what I knew bone-deep was outrageous. Whether this was outright bad behavior or simply ignoring my needs I would shrink from confronting friends and loved ones with what I needed to make my world right; doing the work myself rather than demanding from them they correct their behavior or help me.
These are small steps, tiny little steps to freedom. Picking the battles that I can win today doesn’t mean I will win them all, only that I can pick them and that just maybe losing a few won’t cause me to melt down. There are days I really wish people wouldn’t say to me “you’re so strong”. I have hidden all my weakness’ behind the armor of humor, pragmatism and ‘I don’t give a shit’ for nearly 70% of my life. Everyone in my life expects, even demands my strength, never allowing for a crack or a fault line. There are few in my life that don’t lean in and lean on, either begging or demanding something from me thinking I am bottomless, without end to my strength a wellspring for them to return to time and again.
I have a sneaking suspicion when I say enough, no more there will be some that draw back in shock and resentment. That I would dare to shut off the faucet may be met with more than a bit of ire, we shall see. I don’t know that I am ready for the fallout and it might hurt initially, friends and loved ones may be left on the battlefield of my new definition, perhaps that is where they should have been all along.