The Ugly Confession

Dear Diary,

You know what hurts so bad? It’s all my fault. I know I said it wouldn’t happen again, but it’s my period and my thoughts got the better of me and I–wait. No. I know I can’t say that. Those are my thoughts, they’re my responsibility. But whatever. I thought them and they hurt so leave me alone!!

(I just want to quickly note here that Welsh boys have beautiful square jaws. I had not noticed this before today, but there are two guys in our chem class and they’re from Wales and they are h-o-t. I digress.)

So, I saw Dave sitting with this girl. This woman. I know I probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Yes. My thoughts drove me to do that too. My thoughts. Yes. My responsibility. Okay. So I guess what I’m saying Dear Diary is that I had a choice to go bra shopping with my sister, and I need bras, and instead I drove across town to stalk my own boyfriend.

I am so grateful that diaries do not have eyes to stare at me in shame.What good could come of an emotional girl alone in a car with her worried thoughts? I. Should. Have. Known. But no, I went in. Yes Dear Diary. I went in.

Of course she had the audaciousness to be gorgeous. Just what I needed. For my boyfriend to be having meetings with an accountant who looks like Beyonce. I feel sick. I thought this shit ended when I was a teenager.

For the first time in my life I’m too ashamed to tell you what I did. It’s that bad. It’s U-N-F-O-R-G-I-V-A-B-L-E. It was awful for her, it was awful for him, it was awful for anyone who even saw it happen. And here’s the best part….

It wasn’t a romantic lunch.

That was his boss’s daughter. I called him a two-timing cheat–I told her he beat his dog! Have I lost my mind? Why would I say something like that? I was just so…. MAD. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. Mad because of my thinking. I couldn’t have been mad about her. She was trying to help him. And do you know the worst part? She was nice. Super really truly nice. I #*&%ing hate that.

So there I was, without you, on the weekend, with Dave. I can’t write to you, I can’t get these feelings out, and I am just avoiding too much eye contact with Dave because I have no idea what to say. What do you say after something like that? What do you say to your own girlfriend when by 22 she has totally destroyed your career and your life?

I know. You would think he would want to dump me in the street. But do you know what he did? He told me he’d never seen me this quiet before. And so he sat down with me and he asked if it was about what happened with Tina (her). I told him I was afraid if we started talking that he would break up with me. That seemed to really hurt him knowing that and he hugged me.

He told me I was horrible. He reminded me of times I was horrible before. And he told me he didn’t want to live with me doing things like that for the rest of his life–BUT… he also thinks I’m the most beautiful thing in the world and he wants to be with me forever!!!!!!!

CAN YOU BE-LIEVE THAT!????????He said he loves me. Not just good me. And he knows loving bad me is harder. but he loves all of me anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. He loves all of me, including the horrible parts. He loves my horrible parts because their they’re mine!!!! Can you believe that?????

If there was ever a man to learn to control my own thoughts with it’s this one. If he can love me like that then I want to love him like that back. Can you imagine how that would feel!!!!????

I have to stop speculating and live in the now. I just don’t want to wake up one day and he’s with someone else–Okay. Oops!!! There’s the future right there. Sorry. I guess I’ll just keep this in mind and do it moment by moment.

Do you think that one day I could forgive myself and love myself the way he loves me? Dave’s self-love doesn’t feel egotistical it feels like respect. Maybe I should start there. Tomorrow I’m going to treat myself with respect. And I guess not having to be perfect means I can at least relax into being me. I just wish “me” hadn’t ruined Beyonce’s dress like that. I’m so sorry Dave. I’ll think less and love more. I promise.

peace-out. Dave’s <3 Love <3

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

The Accidental Patterns of Sexism

1037-relax-and-succeed-you-have-to-be-your-own-teacherThere’s a trick I used to play on people to show others how easy it is to get someone’s brain on an assumption track where they’ll assume things that don’t even make sense in an attempt to pattern-match new information with their original beliefs, even if the belief is new too. Here’s a story I used to tell an example of me planting and harvesting a false belief:

A boy goes fishing with his father and brothers and the boat tips over. The boy is pulled to shore unconscious with a serious head injury. An ambulance is called and, with the help of the father and sons pushing from below, the two attendants man-haul the boy up the steep banks of the lake and they race him to the hospital. He’s wheeled straight into surgery and, as the team moves their equipment into place the surgeon suddenly focuses on the patient and says, “I can’t operate on this boy. This is my son!” The question I would then ask is, who is the surgeon?

Maybe people would be better at it today, but up until about six or seven years ago, traditionally the number one answer is easily that it’s the father, along with the theory that he rode back with them in the ambulance. When  I remind the listener that he and the other sons are still back at the lake, a huge percentage of the time the next guess is that it’s his step-father; and after that it’s usually a second gay dad, then a grandfather that was a proxy-parent. When people have been told these guesses aren’t right, they’ve even tried Priest-Surgeon.

1037-relax-and-succeed-did-you-fact-check-thisMany smart people pondered long and hard without ever considering that the doctor might be a woman, and if they had it’s likely that mother would have been the easy, obvious first guess. This shows how powerful assumptions are. Just by using all male pronouns, combined with the fact that most surgeons were historically male, I could tilt even a female listener’s mind away from the obvious guess (especially if she’s not a mother herself). And you don’t need sexism for it to happen.

Not that long ago I was listening to an interview with Phyllis Web, the female creator of CBC Radio’s excellent documentary program, Ideas. In an interview a few days after the documentary on the origins of the program, Phyllis was asked if she hired any women to be on the staff of the show and the young lady seem shocked to learn she hadn’t hired any. She enquired as to why not?

Phyllis actually had to think about it before saying that it just never occurred to her. She knew people she’d always wanted to work with and now she had the power to put them all on one team with her. What gender they were never figured into her decision; it was admiration.

1037-relax-and-succeed-the-purpose-of-studying-buddhismThe fact remains that Phyllis would have had more women to admire if more women had been in positions of authority where she could look up to them, but my point is that she didn’t actively omit women–the genders literally never occurred to her.

This is much the same as when I work in film. If you ask anyone of any race in North America to cast a teacher for a TV show, 99% of the time you would see a white person because that was who was on TV so even an ethnic casting director thought that way. The important part is that this behaviour is innocent. It’s not an attack on anyone, it’s an error by omission. It’s just a brain pattern-matching what it’s seen in the past.

I’ve heard many times that men are hostile to women on executive boards etc., and I know every possible human behaviour is eventually acted out, so I’m sure there have been some horrible examples, but I’ve been in those boardrooms and I never recall anyone dissing women so it certainly doesn’t happen all the time. And yet those men would fall into the same trap of primarily considering men for jobs.

1037-relax-and-succeed-cognitive-dissonanceThat unconscious desire was not an active omission of women, it was one done on the same  subconscious level that lead Phyllis to hire no women on Ideas. The same thing would happen to a feminist who wouldn’t see herself as blocking men when she backed a woman, she would just see it as making some long overdue headway. No one’s trying to be a villain, it’s just that everyone has their own reasons for anointing their own champions.

There is a lot of polarisation going on today and many people see many enemies that exist only in their imaginations. Yes, it’s a frustrating thing that it has taken so long to see women rising to key positions and equal pay, but the trend was started a while ago and it will continue to build exponentially as men and women and various cultures alike all learn as individuals to naturally include all types of people in their considerations.

Don’t see enemies where there is only a trick of the mind. Yes, there is room for improvement, but people are already generally far more decent, kind and generous than they’ve been getting credit for lately. This is a path, we’re going the right direction, we can all relax and stop worrying. Rather than be angry about how it is we’ll accomplish more by enjoying our movement toward something better. Each of us needs only to decide to actively build our day by consciously seeking out positive, optimistic and rewarding experiences and the big issues will take care of themselves one individual at a time.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.