Acceptance is the most difficult challenge I face – it always has been. I ran a search on the word “acceptance” on my blog and it came up with almost 2 pages worth of posts that I have used or written about the topic of acceptance. Two things stand out quite readily when I read through the posts – alcoholism and sexuality. But there are more issues surrounding acceptance that I won’t be tackling all in one post; so, don’t be surprised if it’s mentioned in other posts – as evidenced by the numerous posts already discussed. But I ponder the fight I have with acceptance.
This past weekend made me contemplate a few things in life and I spent some time focused on this idea of acceptance. – What is it about acceptance that I struggle with? I think it boils down to the fact that I BELIEVED everyone who ever told me I can do whatever I want and accomplish whatever I Want, if I just put my mind to it. The idea that your mind can cause you to accomplish anything. And it is something I embraced, fully, wholeheartedly, and completely. I don’t do well when people tell me I can’t do something – it instantly makes me WANT to do something. Sometimes to my own detriment.
This weekend had me feeling old. I am getting to a point in my life, where I feel like I’m not going to accomplish all the things I set out to do in life. I’ve felt like this for a long time and I have struggled against it. I feel like I have been in a battle against time and time is winning. There is an idea of understanding priorities and how to organize what is important, but sometimes these things can become convoluted. Even as I think about the goals I may not accomplish in life, I start to consider the fact that something major has been sacrificed along the way: MY happiness, my well-being, my balanced center of being.
I think this is part of what led me into alcoholism, for example (there are a lot of things that I Feel added to me drinking, but I feel. I feel like I began to drink, to calm my nerves and to attempt to “check-out” of the pain of failing in life. My optimism and negativity began to erode over time and I began to feel empty for not achieving everything I wanted to in life. I took the idea that “I can do anything, if I put my mind to it” and turned it into “I can do everything, if I put my mind to it.” And that is false, because we have limits.
Limits are something that absolutely needs to be accepted. Sure, limits can be pushed, broken or even ignored; but they have a very distinct quality of existing, regardless of how you or I appreciate them. Limits, such as time, other people, places, things, ideas, etc. I always love the adage that the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves – but the reality is there are limits that exist outside of ourselves. They are real, they are inevitable. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t break the limits we put on ourselves, but we must be able to recognize what those limits are versus the limits that exist outside of ourselves. We must understand what we can control and what we cannot control. Sometimes, I think I failed to understand that.
I’m beginning to face the reality that I’m not going to be a millionaire. Okay, before you laugh thinking it’s a joke, I am serious. I had every intention of being well-off. I attended a great engineering college, got into the oil & gas industry and was cleaning up some major financial messes I had got myself into and then was laid off (as many of you are aware). The last couple of years, I have spent time fighting tooth and nail to stay afloat. I am even on the prospect of going back to the oil & gas industry and taking a position that is lower than what I had before. I am approaching it with the intention of re-branding myself and promoting myself in ways that I hadn’t before, because I was in the depths of my depression before I even got laid off. I have an opportunity again, but I know there are things I have to recognize and there are limits I need to pay attention to.
Another aspect of acceptance that I have been struggling with again is my alcoholism. I don’t like it. I simply do not. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the idea of never having another beer for as long as I live. I pay attention to other people and what they have to say, because I have always been the kind of person to follow the path others have laid down in front of me. I do well, when I follow directions. So, I hear when people say this is the cunning and baffling nature of alcohol – it continues to call out to you. I’m refraining, but I’m refraining because I want to lose weight and get back into shape. I want to be as healthy as I once was. But there is a limit I am struggling with here, as well – the idea that I have so many other obligations and there feels like there is no time left in life to be where I once was. I’m using the idea of wanting to be healthy as my driving force to refrain from alcohol. I’m steering clear of the God concept when it comes to sobriety, because I fear that by following a God of my understanding, I will have to steer clear of something else I have finally accepted – my sexuality. But as I contemplate that, I begin to have doubts about it all and what it means to me in the totality of my life.
Last week, I discussed my sexuality and impacts of gender in quite a bit of detail, but I am contemplating what more it means to me. This weekend, I went walking through a local shopping mall and went into a few stores that sold women’s clothing and shoes. As I looked and shopped, I felt oddly uncomfortable – I wasn’t sure if it were people staring at me, or if I had a sudden feeling of it not being right for me to be in there. I began to wonder if there is some reason I should be dressing in women’s clothing and I just had a thought of “You’re too fucking masculine. You’re trying to force something, because you think this is what you MUST be to be taken seriously.” Suddenly, it kind of hit me that I can never pull off a feminine look, unless I were to make many drastic changes to myself – ultimately, this would mean I was not accepting myself the way I am. I felt like the past few years have been monumental in me accepting myself the way I am – bisexual. And now, to look at changing myself, felt like I was trying to hide myself. Is that what I really wanted? I hid myself by drinking, so was I looking for another way to hide myself?
I find that I continue to hide myself in a lot of ways, and sometimes I think that is completely okay. Sometimes, I feel like there are individual things that we all hide about ourselves to function in the world at large. But is that an inability to accept oneself? I’m not sure, but there are times when I feel like there are people who do not need to know some things about me. Sometimes I think it is a privilege to know some things about myself, and that’s okay, right?
And as I begin to question myself, I think “Acceptance means you are going to see things the way you see them and it’s always okay.” I don’t need to question myself. I can be bisexual. I can be masculine (or feminine, if the mood strikes me). I can get a divorce if I wanted. I can go back to lifting weights. or I can body-sculpt however I want. I can find a hot woman to date. I can find a sexy man to sleep with. I can do whatever the fuck I want. The trick is this: Accepting the outcome of my decisions. Acceptance is being comfortable with what is.
Acceptance is beyond the decision making, because the decision making is part of the process of accepting consequences.
And just like that, I’m fucking brilliant!
(In all seriousness, if you stayed with my rambling this long, I truly appreciate you and I’m being facetiously prideful.)