I’ve never killed anyone.
I’ve never assaulted anyone.
When I was a kid, I was a bit of a bully. Not anything long standing or physical, but I would scorn children I deemed weak.
Once when I was teaching a class at a community college when I was about 25, I once mocked a student very subtly, because he was annoying. I don’t think he even got it, but some of the class did. In retrospect, I think the kid ever so slightly might have been on the spectrum. I didn’t know how to teach a college class. I was a last minute ringer for the semester. He kept throwing me, interrupting with irrelevant information. I smiled at him sarcastically and said, “That’s nice.” A girl in the back laughed. I still feel bad about that.
In my early 20’s I skipped a friend’s wedding reception because I was having a panic attack. I got in my car and ripped off my too tight dress and got on the highway and headed out of town toward home. I didn’t fathom the fact that it might take some of the joy out of her day if I went missing. I’d done a reading at the wedding. I wasn’t just a distant guest. This was before cell phones and I couldn’t call and let her know I was okay.
Years later, against my better judgement, I agreed to a bachelorette party about a month before my wedding. And then I agreed to the party leaving the place we were, and showing up at the bar where Todd’s ex was sure to be that night. Once we got there I felt like shit. We didn’t stay long. But I went. I didn’t stop it.
I once fiercely accused a friend of being competitive with me and it hurt her deeply.
I’ve kicked myself a hundred times for admitting as a guest blogger on another site a few months back to being hurt that some of the people I hoped would support my book, didn’t. Like seriously kicked myself, like I’m the biggest loser ever for admitting I had any expectations or that I felt hurt.
I recently had to address an issue involving a teacher and my kids, and felt like I was the one who should apologize, just for stating my valid concerns. I addressed another issue at camp this week and am having the same feelings.
Today I caught a whiff that I had stepped on a friend’s toes. Didn’t mean to, but I can see how she might be offended looking at it from her point of view.
A little mis-step like that can send me reeling into all the ways I am a bad person.
I seriously could go on and on.
But I’ve never killed anyone.
I’ve never assaulted anyone.
I’m turning off the comments on this one. Otherwise it just seems like I’m begging for a pep talk and then I’ll feel bad about that. I’ve thought what’s the point in even publishing this, but I think there is value in knowing we all go through it to some degree. I hope next time you are feeling “bad” you will remember what you would have said to me here, and instead, say it to you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go do the work to get myself out of this awful spiral. I’m going to take a breath, and start here.