Thursday, July 26, 2012

Daily Dose #68: On Metaphor

Sometimes its hard to take good advice and useful action plans to heart when you're in crisis mode.

Life lessons are hard to learn when you need them most, and they are the hardest to hear and absorb when you find yourself at that juncture.

The use of metaphor helps us to break through to a new found wisdom. It depersonalizes a situation just enough to provide a little crack of clarity through the chaos. A good metaphor can function as a small, narrow beam of illumination; it may be just enough to light your path out of the morass, espescially when the beam is clearly defined by the dust that you're kicking up all around you as you flail your way through life.

Here's today's metaphor: I don't know exactly what it taught me, but I recognized that something changed, and there was evidence of new growth. A little green shoot of new life that grew from what seemed to be a dying plant.

I had a friend who I spent alot of time with over the past four years. My faith and loyalty in this person was really ill founded in retrospect, and because of that choice, I suffered alot of damage. We all know that human dynamic and scenario, so I won't waste alot of time writing about it. It was my choice to persue the friendship, I ignored all the red flags, and eventually got spiritually fist fucked for trying to persue the relationship. Ain't nobody's fault but mine.

For the past year, I've been cleaning up a mess of epic proportions. The hole I dug myself in was deep, and its still an on going job. I went through the steps of Anger, Denial, and Blame. But at my age, I've recognized to get through them quickly and only focus on my own personal responsibility.

That's the only thing that will lead you to a change, because ultimately it is only the self that you have control over. No matter how hard you try, you can never effect change in others. So if you don't like the outcome, you have to change your own behavior.

That lets everybody off the hook, and will eventually lead to forgiveness. The last person to forgive in the chain is yourself, and the hardest path to discover is how to really forgive yourself without being a total sociopath with no moral compass when finally doing so.

There is a big difference between forgiving yourself honestly, and not giving a tumbling fuck about the consequences of your decisions.

Forgiveness is not deluding yourself in a blanket of denial, especially when trying to identify your own mis-steps. There has to be an awareness achieved before you get there; a step that is human nature to want to skip over.


I collected art pottery at one point in my life, and had quite a collection of Roseville Pottery placed about my home.

This friend of which I speak spent a lot of time in my home, and quite frankly, was a bit of an emotional klutz, which manifested itself in physical reality. One by one, my precious collection of antique breakables got broken, and suffered damage.

Replacement of those items was always promised, and never delivered, and over three years, a lot of pottery got accidently broken.

That's a pretty clear metaphor for the relationship in and of itself. All I ended up with is a pile of broken, valueless pottery and a pile of broken, valueless promises.

I recently moved, losing my home of four years directly tied to my bad judgement and assesment of this person. Time to pack, and move on.

As I was packing, I not only was packing my precious Roseville pottery, I was packing shards and pieces of Roseville Pottery. The ridiculousness of this exercise did not escape me.

I had been holding on to those shards for over three years. Hoping that the promise of replacement would come, but knowing that it never would. Holding on to the broken pieces. Hoping that a person I loved would do the right thing and miraculously grow a conscience, but knowing that ultimately they were incapable of it.

When I landed in my new digs, I unpacked all those shards. I finally gave up the ghost, drove to the hardware store, and bought my ass some super glue.

Thoses pieces of pottery have no market value anymore. They are cracked, and they are damaged.

The upside however is that after three years, I finally made the attempt to glue them together and make them whole again. The may have cracks, and they may show damage, but they have life again.

Instead of being squirreled away in hopes of a better out come, they are back on the shelves and in use after a long period of stasis and "retirement". They are still beautiful, and I now can enjoy their beauty (albeit now flawed) once again.

So what's the lesson? I don't really know. But I do know this; Nobody will put Humpty Dumpty back together again for you, and its a waste of time projecting your value system on others....especially on those that don't have any.

You have to glue it back together on your own, and only when you're ready to accept the cracks and flaws that are now in evidence, and who really was responsible for creating those flaws in the first place. It isn't the person that broke them, it was the person that allowed a bull in a china shop in their "home". If you are tempted to point a finger of blame, try aiming it at yourself first. That saves a lot of precious time and aggravation.

A quick look in the mirror is all I needed, but it took me three years to finally accept it, re-glue, forgive and let go.

Considering my own emotional track record, that's a pretty speedy recovery. I'm getting better at this, but some work still needs to be done to quicken healing time in the advent of the next relational screw up.


Michele said...

thank you, G.

Suzan Farlow said...

Geo, This touches me very deeply. I could say far more but I choose to sit in silence with you and your repaired pottery. For me, and your story is a metaphor for my very own right now, those cracks add character, and the real value of the pottery has been up-cycled. Enjoy your new home. You're filling it with beauty. Suzan

lynette said...

My brother is going thru a rough time right now, Im passing this on to him, hoping this will inspire him. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have a brother who is going thru a rough patch. Im going to pass this along to him, hoping it gives him some inspiration. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You are being linked everywhere sir. You post spoke to ME and now it is speaking to others!

Nikki Polifroni said...

I really love this metaphor, and though I don't love that it's all happened - I love what you're doing with it :-)

YourFireAnt said...

My eyes went all blurry. I couldn't see how it ended.