On Being Wrong. Or Why It's Not Ok To Carry On Anyway

This morning, after dropping my son at school, I delayed on driving back and cracking on with a day's work, and instead turned my car around and drove out to Joss Bay. 

If your mood tends to match the weather, then Joss Bay will always match your mood. On a hot Summer's day the beach moves with human bodies tucked neatly beside one another on towels and behind wind-breakers, children dart back and forth from the shallower water, and further out, the warm sea is peppered with surfers. The air smells like sun cream and melting ice cream. Usually, on days like this, I feel particularly good. 

On days like today however, when a determined rain falls silently in grey blankets, a rain that drenches you between your front door and the car, regardless of your haste or attire, when your breath mists the windows, and even the birds look miserable, their feathery coats drawn high against the wet chill - on these days, Joss Bay looks bleak. The sands are blown glass flat, and the sea meets the shore in angry, chaotic waves, greeted by a noticeable lack of people. 

I parked the car, but not facing the sea; to be quite honest it's pointless, as your view is obscured by a tall wire fence and a bedraggled array of weeds and other plant growth. I parked with my back to the sea, and from my seat I could look up at the North Foreland Light House, a brilliant pillar of stark white against the dull sky, and the sweep of cabbages which filled the fields between us, and when I switched off the engine, I could open whichever metaphorical door had been closed in my mind, and allow myself simply to think.

This might sound positive, a luxury to many I'm sure, but I know myself well enough to recognise this as alarming. I'm a thinker by nature, if anything, an over thinker, I think too much, I imagine and re-imagine scenarios until I believe myself to have lived them before they're even given an opportunity to occur, as a rule, I'm either thinking, or speaking. 

As soon as I need to schedule a time and a place for meditation - I'm probably already broken. 
I unclipped my seatbelt, pulled my knees to my chest and rested them against the steering wheel with my feet tucked on to the front of the seat, let my head fall back and I stared, blankly I guess, at the great expanse of white tower in front of me, and slowly I watched the windows mist up, until I couldn't see the cabbages any more.

This is precisely what I do in a very specific scenario, not always at Joss Bay, incidentally, in fact I haven't done that, there, in that car park, since 2009 (and on that occasion I stared at the wire fence and the weeds, disappointed not to be able to see the waves, it was raining that day too). This is precisely what I do when I'm overcome with self-loathing. 

Disliking ones own self is never a particularly good thing, and for the most part, this blog promotes positivity, the upbeat wonderful-ness of life's many many wonderful wonders. The absolute miracle of just waking up every morning, that kind of good stuff. Even I though, the eternal optimist, can recognise that sometimes we all fall apart a little bit, and succumb to some of our worst enemies: guilt, doubt, anger, regret, envy, and general all-round "can't be arsed to get out of bed" misery. There isn't anyone alive who doesn't go there. 

This isn't an advice-y type post like yesterday's "Just Be Nice" or my previous melodramatic post about misery, "On Heartbreak and Heartache". This post only has one clear message, which is the only thing I'm looking to share today; "Sometimes, you're going to be wrong. Completely, and utterly, a long way away from being right. Sometimes, you are going to make mistakes; not putting the wrong sugar and milk combination in a new friend's tea kind of mistakes, I mean big damn I've ballsed up my whole life type mistakes, the type of mistake that makes you want to sit in your car and stare at a lighthouse. This will happen to you, and it will also happen to every other single human being in the world, I think. Sometimes, when you do this, you hurt other people as well, you disappoint them or you make them think differently of you, and if they really matter to you, then that in itself is painful beyond belief. But you'll still do it, you'll still make the mistake. There are always consequences to mistakes and sometimes, they're worse than others, sometimes, it takes longer for the cabbages to disappear. You'll regret this, maybe until next week, maybe forever, but the world, oddly it seems at the time, appears to keep spinning."

There are a number of things you can't do in this scenario. You can not ignore the fact that you're wrong, for a start this isn't fair on anyone that may be "been wronged" in the process - yourself included, but it also doesn't allow for healing. Life is, generally speaking, one huge healing process. You need to allow yourself the space and the opportunity to heal and learn, always. You also can not expect to find the answer in the walls of a lighthouse. Meditation is, I think, the only path to finding any sort of relief from personal turmoil, but, at the same time, there is no magical switch, that you, or anybody else, can hit to undo whatever stupid-arse thing you've done. The only thing that's going to move it on is the passing of time. 

Someone particularly wise and with a staggering depth of emotional intelligence spoke to me at length recently about the importance and essential nature of living honestly to who you are, in order for your relationships to thrive. That's potentially a whole other post and the words, whilst accurate beyond measure, aren't my own anyway, but I think that the only way to make up for mistakes you've made, and start to put back the pieces that you're left with, is to take the time to sit and to embrace your own nature, to reconnect with yourself, and recognise who you are. You are not the mistake that you made, you may have lied, but you need not be a liar by nature, you may have disrespected, but you need not be disrespectful by nature, you may even have cheated, but you need not define yourself as a cheat.

Own your mistakes, take responsibility for them, recognise them and hold them up before yourself under scrutiny, get to grips with the why's and the how's, then make some soup, and reintroduce those you've hurt, including yourself, to the you that recognises that a mistake was made, and for goodness sake, say sorry.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post Ash! You're right, it's about ownership, we all make mistakes. xxx