Funny to note this word has been consistently showing up this past year. In both the most heady and lowest-of-brow conversations. I've been sucking and tucking it in, using it as a term of endearment and also as a hilariously sharp, knee-jerk slam with my closest friends. But mostly? I've been trying to listen to and respect that pleading voice. The serious one that lies well beyond the one that points out it's likely time to do some additional weighted crunches.
I have been a little bit pissed off at myself this past year. For not really respecting and listening to my gut.
Because that guy always knows.
You really don't have an appreciation for that when you're an 18-year-old college freshman, first away from home and being smartly groomed by a Lambda Chi senior for your first, and thankfully only, physically-abusive relationship. I have long forgiven that very foolish girl for ignoring her inner gut and sticking with the sinewy, spiteful guy who could indignantly pin her down by the neck with his forearm, choking her face red while pulling off her jeans without permission.
That young girl hadn't really had the opportunity to develop her listening skills (I suspect she already thought she knew everything) or the strength and inner confidence required to push aside the familiar fear and bruises fostered by that debilitating relationship. Let's face it. Even though her gut and her friends screamed till they were likely hoarse, all involved generally agree that the fragile, anxious undergrad deserves and gets a pass for her stubborn, nieve choices.
But that was over two decades ago. Now the girl is an adult with an 18+ year relationship/marriage in the rear view mirror and priorities that include two young children. Yeah, if you've read my past rambles you know how that tired old story goes. But we all survived. Quite well, in spite. The gut and I came out from behind the perfect facade that politely hid our flaws and we were properly armed with a much better understanding about the convoluted, profoundly beautiful and sometimes fucked-up nature of relationships.
Therefore one might also think I'd be ready to successfully use my post-divorce mulligan, being fully-armed for the next round with all of these fancy life and love lessons now stuffed like clubs in my golf bag. Without the stupid visor.
With my gut knowing full well what is right and good for me, I still almost completely screwed up my do-over with a giant scary divot.
I blogged about the end of that relationship a bit. My mulligan. The one that hit the green on the first swing and was a seeming lovely near miss. I considered it my first real chance to start over. To hopefully do, and get, better. But if I am being completely honest here, my gut was always poking me (instead of me poking at its overhang). Instead of paying attention to the wise, knowing voice trying to caddy me through this sand trap, I repeatedly beat my gut's intuitive echo down with a Callaway Hot iron.
I'm telling you your gut always, always knows and gnaws when you are making a bad choice. Or being a foolish dumb ass.
Sure, you can ignore its pleas with creative justifications. I was pretty fantastic at that, actually. But the centered, smartest and truest place inside me always tried to remind me I was doing the wrong thing. I just didn't have any real trust in that voice. Or in myself. I never fully listened.
I went through such profound sadness when that relationship ended. The kind that cripples your insides and outsides and inspires (forces) your friends to show up and shove Kleenex in your hand while dragging you out the door for a day of retail therapy even though you look so horrible that you have no business showing your frighteningly pouty face in public. Unless you are going to Walmart. Which we were not.
At first glance it looked like all of the horrible blubbering and sniveling was rooted in the loss of the guy and the fairy tale ending and came with the certain realization in the first 24 hours post-guillotine that there was absolutely no winning this round.
I'm certain some of it was because of this.
What I soon realized however, with a little distance and perspective, was that I was actually most sad and pissed off with myself. For not listening to my patient, reiterating gut and for ignoring the voice that became so loud that perhaps the other guy heard it loud and clear and chose to listen on my behalf and save us from a costly, horrible next round. Perhaps.
But that part doesn't really matter.
What matters right now is that my gut and I are happily shooting under par these days. I'm guessing I'm a better listener these days and I actually like what it has to say most of the time. And while this isn't a self help or advice column, if you're sweet enough to be reading this, I likely know you and probably give a shit about you in some way so I kind of hope you take the time to carefully listen to what your gut has to say when it talks to you. And I'm also hoping in the future, when it has something really important to offer up to either one of us, it doesn't require an air horn or a titanium sand wedge to the noggin to get our attention and keep us listening.
Jackass + Golf + Air Horns =You're welcome...