Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Integrity in the Little Moments

OK, we have to talk.

I was chatting with my mother the other day. She too, once upon a time, was married to a, shall we say, problematic man. He was my dad (and not just mine, of course... I shared him with all my siblings. Big of me, I know.) He was charming and handsome and absolutely, fundamentally, deep in his soul, unreliable. She later remarried, and to another handsome and charming man -who was absolutely reliable and true. She led him a merry chase, my mom did -mostly because she couldn't believe that anyone was as reliable as she needed a person to be.

I thought for years that I had done the Freudian thing of letting one's father define one's marriage partner- only in reverse. I had married, I thought, someone the exact opposite of my father (although the physical similarities are striking). Of course, that's not what happened at all.

I'm not at all interested in beginning another relationship. In fact, with no sadness (ok, not much) I think it's going to be my vocation, if you will, to be single. (This is about to segue into another blog post about how we need to re-think families and partnering and all sorts of things... reining myself in, you'll be glad to know.) But, as always, I am interested in learning from what's gone before.

I have these two spectacular examples of how to mess things up. OK, universe, I get it. I'm thinking about it. Neither one of them just decided (I'm guessing) to do one spectacularly deal-breaking wrong thing one day. Rather, they did little bitty wrong things again and again and again, until that stopped feeling weird or wrong. When the time came to make a bigger decision, the line one isn't supposed to cross was so far behind them that it no longer mattered. They may even have felt trapped and as though doing the hugely wrong thing was the only choice available.

The thing is, I have those choices to make every day too, and -like all of us- I don't always make the right choice. Those of us with problematic fathers and ex-husbands, though, get to lash ourselves with the "Oh no, I'm becoming my father" scourge. As my life gets busier and busier, I'm making more compromises. Mostly, I'm only breaking promises to myself.

The thing is, I don't think 'only' goes in that sentence. For one thing, I've now learned that I'm important enough that I deserve to have promises kept -even if I'm the one who made them. And secondly, breaking trust with anyone gets you to the point of feeling comfortable with that process.

I'm slipping in the integrity department, and I need to call the question. I need to do the things I said I was going to do. And if I can not humanly do them, then I need to say that in the first place. It's just the little things -like going to the gym and writing and studying and....

... at the moment, getting off my sorry backside and getting to work ;)

1 comment:

Catherine said...

very well said, Andrea....the promises we make to ourselves must be honored first and best. Otherwise it is a slippery slope in a compromising world...sigh.