Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Courtesy Flush

I once took a picture of someone that I didn’t really much care for, ripped it up in tiny pieces, and flushed it down the toilet. Wouldn’t you know there was a piece with the entire face of this person still in tact, and as I watched the smiling face whirl in the toilet water I felt a feeling of utter satisfaction mixed in with a pinch of silliness and guilt.

I told myself I was going to try and give up that feeling of guilt this year. Why do I find myself worrying constantly about whether I did or did not do the right thing? I’ve been constantly told that I “worry too much” or “care too much” or “I’m too nice”. I guess I like to treat people the way I would like to be treated, but I can honestly say, it makes me expect too much from people. I must stop expecting people will do the “right thing” because, the majority of the time they don’t. It makes me second guess myself. I mean, do I really know what is the “right thing?” Apparently, my right thing, isn’t everybody’s right thing.

Does this make sense?

It might not. I realize this. Flushing the picture of that person down the toilet may not have been the right thing. Believe me, silly as it may seem, I felt guilty afterwards. It almost felt like I actually flushed this person down the toilet whole, and I felt guilt that I plunged this person into their watery grave. The smile on the face still haunts me.

What purpose did it serve to flush the picture down the toilet? True, I don’t have to see the picture pop up anywhere unexpectedly. Perhaps that it is why it was upsetting to find, although I didn’t do it right away-I thought about it. There was a thought process involved. It wasn’t done in the heat of the moment-it was not passion driven. Why did it cause me to feel so uncomfortable, just knowing it was around? Am I really that insecure? Perhaps it shows weakness—yes, that is probably why it still bothers me.

After I met my boyfriend (now husband), I gathered all the paperwork and evidence from my previous, messy divorce in a pile and burned each and every scrap in my gas fireplace. I don’t regret doing this. Every piece of “evidence”, every hurtful and tearful fact of betrayal that I kept in file was destroyed. I wanted to close that chapter in my life completely, and, I must say it was very therapeutic. It made me happy, and it made my boyfriend happy; I was ready to get over it, and lead a new life. The negativity was behind me. Sure, I cut a few pictures, but only a few, but I never flushed my ex-husband’s face down the toilet. I did burn the love letters to his married Canadian lover that I did find on the computer, but I didn’t burn any of his pictures. Sure he proved to be a major disappointment, but I certainly don’t wish him ill. I hope he lives a happy, long, lovely life, far away from me.

Last night I found myself going through old, filed away documents, for someone and I came across hundreds and hundreds of pay stubs from garnished wages child support checks. I saved every single stub thinking that some day I would need them. I found myself gathering them all up, and throwing them all in the recycle bin. Funny how things can change from being important one day, to worthless the next—or should I say, 15 years later.

I guess I’m just human. I will continue to treat people the way I like to be treated, but I’m not going to expect anything in return-no matter how disappointing. So sorry for the flush---I slip sometimes.


Andrea said...

I had a boyfriend once who made me so angry I put everything he had ever given me in the catbox, except for the stuff I liked. I hid that.

Anonymous said...

Your intregity and kindness are GOD given and the fabric of your person, they make you a teacher in this world. Some students will disappoint but all will be blessed with your living example. Keep on, keeping on, let the light shine you are doing great!

Shermeen said...

I don't think it's too much to ask that we be treated the way that we treat others. Still, it rarely ever happens. I don't think you should feel guilt for flushing away a picture of someone who hurt you. It's just another part of your past, yes it has made you the person you are today, but it's still the past. No need to hang onto it now. I find that things like that are just painful reminders xx