A couple weeks ago I proofread an ebook for a friend. --I can't WAIT to tell you what it is!!--
What I can tell you is that it's about personal growth. About rewriting our own histories. About changing our habits that we no longer want to be attached to.
So while I was proofreading this bad boy, I kept thinking about a person in my life who I really wanted to read it. Someone who is great but doesn't seem to know it. Someone who holds onto a lot of pain and I wish a release for them. Someone who I want to be crazy super happy. I asked the author if I could gift it to this person and the author told me to be careful with that.
I responded with this idea that "no way... I'll tell this person that this book is incredible and they should give it a try." I was going to print it out, put it together, the whole works... Because I care and I love them.
I told someone else in my life that I was going to give it to them as well (the "someone in my life" knows the "them") and that person also thought it wasn't such a great idea. I explained why I thought it was a great gift and was replied to with "be careful".
I've been feeling just-self-righteous-enough lately that I was still going to do it anyway.
Yesterday, a conversation was started on FB about a kid who was kicking his Mom on the way from a store. Several people said the kid needed a spanking (beating, put in his place, etc). One person before me recognized there's a chance the child has autism or some other form of health problem that might have caused it. That maybe the whole story couldn't be told in a recap of one situation.
So I gave that person props for saying that. YAY! Then I went on to share that spankings are wrong and an unacceptable form of punishment.
Why-oh-why did I do that??
Because it's damn important to say, that's why. I know it's not magically going to stop people from doing what they do. I get that. But I know when I was a spanker all I ever heard was that he needed more spankings. I felt.so.wrong. in my gut when I spanked. I knew it was wrong.
But I had NO ONE to turn to for help on the matter.
Eventually Jon and I just decided to stop. We just decided it was wrong and we didn't have any idea what the flip we were going to do to try to change Zane's violent behavior (yes, irony, but this isn't actually a spanking post. I'll get to that one day) but we knew we were going to stop. It happened again, a few times, from both of us...strictly out of habit. We both felt guilt after doing it, we were both honest with each other after doing it, and we both never gave up on learning to not do it.
But we had NO ONE to turn to. Remember? How I just said that? Yeah. Cause it makes a difference, I believe.
Anyway, so that's why I speak out against spanking. Because at *some* point those parents might decide, for themselves, that they don't want to hit their kids anymore. And if they've seen/heard/read that I'm firmly against it and I'm a recovered spanker then MAYBE... just maybe they will know they have someone to turn to for support.
So that's why-oh-why I did that.
Well, the conversation took a turn for the worst and next thing I know people are claiming their kids won't be serial killers because they were spanked -which I hadn't insinuated, people were re-defining "hit" and I was being arrogant enough to post a link to the official definition of "hit", spankings were being defended in the name of the "Lord", Dr. Dobson was brought up, etc. I recognized pain. I recognized anger. I recognized fear. I recognized shame. I thought I had kind words to share about how hurt a person is to hit their kids and how I knew that pain, because I used to do the same thing.
I then was attacked more brutally than I have ever experienced in my life. By the one who is a good Christian Mom who spanks with love. I was damned to an eternity in hell, my existence was judged, and I learned I'm an evil bitch. With capital letters and lots of exclamation points. It hurt. Bad. Crazy bad.
And to be frank, as I cried in Jon's arms I questioned if I really do have a nasty spirit. I asked myself if I really am such a bad person that my intentions weren't clear and if maybe I deserved everything she said to me. I inquired within myself about who I am and why I was in this position and what had I done to get there. The same things kept spinning around in my head. Spinning and spinning and replaying.
It was an extremely difficult evening and night.
And you know what the greatest news of all is??
I'm a lot more emotionally healthy than even I knew. Because that HURT. But it didn't break me. It forced me to question. It forced me inside. I needed to know why it happened. But it did not break me.
You know what I concluded?
That she is hurting. So bad. She may or may not know how bad she's hurting, but she is. And I hurt for her. Because I really have been there. And no one deserves to hurt that bad. NO ONE.
So, why am I telling these two stories and titling my post after some baseball movie????
Because they're the same story.
And I figured out a little bit in them.
The second story showed me what the author and "someone in my life" were trying to tell me, but I didn't get.
No one is in charge of anyone else's healing. Or experience. Or choices.
I recognized that although my intention for both of these situations were the same and were so totally clear-to offer help to someone that is hurting- it doesn't do a lick of good to try to help someone who hasn't asked for it. What that does is offend them. It tells them that I think they're inadequate.
When I wanted healing from poor relationships, it didn't come because someone told me I was making bad choices. It didn't come because someone said I was worth more. It didn't come because someone cast a magic spell.
It came because I wanted it. Because I realized, on my own, that I wanted better. I opened my heart for a change and it came. In the form of some hot barista. ;-) Nearly everyone we knew thought we were making a huge mistake but it didn't bother me. I knew I had opened up to something new and different and there was an experience in the forming of that relationship that told me it was what I wanted.
I was able to experience my healing from my own core, because it wasn't infused with anyone else's perspective, ideas, hints, judgment, or otherwise.
So what do I do from here on out? How to I still stand up for what I believe without offending?
I can't. People get offended sometimes.
But what I can do is still be honest about my beliefs and not tag them to any.one.person. even if I'm having a conversation with a person with an opposing belief.
This'll take some practice.
But you know what? I want to have better interpersonal experiences, so I'm just gonna truck on and learn this new skill. No matter if it takes one mess up or twelve.
To sum it all up: If you open the space in yourself for change, it will come. But no one else can build your Field of Dreams for you.
Dream on, friends.