Something recently happened to me.
Let me rephrase that: I fucked up. Yes, I did. Saying something “happened to me” takes the responsibility off my shoulders and that is just cowardly. Owning a mistake is the first step towards improvement, I genuinely believe that. Then again, it is easy to say “I fucked up” after the fact, instead of not fucking up to begin with.
I made a mistake and consequences ensued, as they do. The funny or not-so funny part is the consequences kept rolling in for a while but at a slower pace. Honestly, I am still dealing with the aftermath of my mistake but with considerably less intensity.
As soon as I fucked up, I had hoped the consequences wouldn’t be too catastrophic. Thankfully, they were not but to quote Dr Gregory House, from the show House M.D, “mistakes are as serious as the results they cause”. The depth of that sentence has stayed with me since watching that specific episode, more than 15 years ago. Besides, one can never anticipate all the consequences of a given action; there are always a few surprises.
To be candid, the trouble with the whole situation, wasn’t the mistake itself; it was my way of handling the problem. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”, according to Charles R. Swindoll. Well, I messed up the 90% part. I handled the aftermath poorly. I admit getting blindsided by the problem itself and not being able to think clearly. No one else is to blame but myself. Period.
Without getting into what happened, let’s say I had an opportunity to be honest and vulnerable about my problem. I could have accepted I was in trouble, perhaps seek some help but I deliberately chose not to. I thought or rather believed I was doing the right thing. I somehow thought I shouldn’t bother my people with my problem. Moreover, the said problem was new, something I had never dealt with or encountered and frankly, I didn’t know how to handle it. Admittedly, I could have been honest with myself and get help, from someone who has been the same thing but, once again, I didn’t.
Thinking back, I can easily say that not sharing my troubles with people, that was a mistake. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Reading the past clearly is one of the best gifts life has given us. It is also painful, but we get clarity simultaneously! As I think about my case, I know someone could have helped me. I have wonderful people around me and they are always willing to help. Yet, for the help to come, I must share my problem first and I didn’t. So, I stayed in that fucking predicament, out of foolishness, pride and ego.
The thing is, deep in my soul, when I got in trouble, I even knew what I had to do, what I was required to do but I chose to look the other way. The right thing to do would have been to talk to someone. Retrospectively, I know sharing would have been the easier path, but my ego somehow convinced me otherwise. I made a conscious decision and chose not to talk to anyone about it. Was I self sabotaging? Why did I do it?
I thought about it for quite some time. I now know I wasn’t self sabotaging. I simply wasn’t ready to be vulnerable. I wasn’t ready to accept I had hit a wall. I wasn’t ready to admit to myself I was in deep shit. My ego stepped in and gave me all the wrong advice a man could ever receive. I foolishly thought to myself “well, I am old enough. I will take care of it. I will be fine. I always find a solution. No one needs to know. I will fix it all by myself”.
Sadly, I was wrong. I should have shared with the people close to me how much this predicament was affecting me. As time went by, I saw my behavior change because of all the fear, shame and uneasiness I had flowing through my veins. I became distant, a tad more irritable, impatient and the trust that was there for decades, got slightly eroded. Once the trust has been turned into mild mistrust, it is quite hard to go back to trust, without fighting with those you love. I duped them and they had every right to be mad at me, to not completely trust me and to have reservations. I cannot blame them for the way they reacted.
I knew I was afraid of being vulnerable, of admitting I was inadequate, of admitting I was weak, of admitting I couldn’t get out of my situation all by myself, etc. My ego got in the way of good sense. My ego, the man I am or sometimes I think I am, messed with my mind and I failed to practice what I preach. As I was wrestling with who I am and my damn limitations, I was hit by a stark reminder: I am just a guy.
Being just a guy sounds like an easy exit but it isn’t. I am just a guy. There is nothing super about me. I have always known that but…It would seem, I project a certain image through my lives on Instagram and especially, through my texts. I project an image of a wise and kind of “know it all” guy. Well, I do know a few things, but I don’t know everything, no one does anyway. Moreover, I have never pretended to know everything in my texts. I know for a fact, that on numerous occasions, I say I don’t have any answers or solutions. I ask more questions than I offer answers in some of my texts. I know I don’t have that kind of arrogance, but I guess people perceive me differently.
Yet, it would seem, the image I project, is that I know a lot, perhaps more than the average person, which is preposterous in my mind. When I heard about my so-called “projected image”, it bugged me because I started thinking; am I misrepresenting myself? Have I pretended to be someone I am not? Am I a fraud, a phoney, a con man? Are my messages not clear enough? Is there a disconnect between what I write and how people interpret my texts and thoughts? Is it because of my boldness and confidence that people think I know more than others? Is it because I share my opinions, something that the average person avoids? What is it? All I try to do, is be as honest as I can in those texts. Yet, as I recently found out, through my predicament, I am not that honest with myself as I thought. Does that translate to my texts, behaviour, and energy? Am I a phoney or just a guy who hit a wall? Am I a fraud or am I a guy who is trying to get better? A myriad of questions, not so many answers.
I am saying all this because of two conversations I had with 2 dear friends of mine, men I consider brothers and people I would trust with my life. We had a frank conversation and they both reiterated to me I fucked up after I told about my misadventure. They both went with their own analysis as to why I fucked up. Some parts were right, and others were wrong but they both were disappointed in me. It wasn’t easy to hear or accept but they were right, and I love them for being profoundly honest. My friends were the ones who told me about how I am perceived and why they expected more of me. They expected me to be more open, more honest with myself, to seek help, to admit I cannot do something. They expected me to do what I preach so well. One even said to me “you didn’t do what you seem to preach so well, brother”. The other told me, as I was telling him about my problem, “oh come on! Not you, bro! That sounds like something I would do and you are better than me. I expected more from you, come on!”. I am not better than my buddy, but he seems to believe so. It hurts to disappoint people, but it hurts more to realize you disappointed yourself. Disappointing others is a by-product of disappointing yourself. I didn’t do what I preached. I was inadequate. Period.
I am just a guy who writes. I am just a guy who is trying to get better, to be better, to improve. I don’t pretend to know everything, because I don’t and never will. I am just a guy, with his own insecurities, flaws and shortcomings. Talking about my flaws, insecurities and shortcomings, doesn’t take them away. They won’t disappear because I admitted I am flawed. I am not better than others because I just wrote a text about fucking up! I don’t get a pass because NOW I can afford to be open. I should have been open then, but I wasn’t.
What I know is, I simply must do a better job. I must communicate better. I must be more honest with myself and with others. I must go towards people more often when I need help.
Now, since no one can change the past, I simply must adjust and move on. I fucked up. It happened. There is nothing I could do. My troubles cost me more than I could ever imagine. No one got hurt more than by my mistake. No one lost more. I am not a victim though. My pain doesn’t make me a victim. I am just a guy who needs to do better. I lost a lot, but I also learned a lot (which is exactly what my friends told me, “hope you learned your lesson”.
Well, as fate would have it, I am a glass half full kinda guy. Mistakes happen and you better learn from them. In time, you learn to be thankful for those mistakes because they made you stronger and hopefully, smarter.
Now, I must make sure I understood this huge lesson life has handed me because I couldn’t bear going through the same problem again. My mind, my heart, my soul, and my body aren’t bulletproof. There is so much I can take.
I am not Superman. I am Freeman.
Just one man’s opinion
Now smile and go on with your day!