I’m a terrible person at my edge. And I refuse to argue against my perfection.
by Keith Paolino Nov 24, 2015
I’m am sitting in this cafe. Too much sugar, not enough movement running through my veins.
I am on the backside of a 23 day long peak. I have been taken to my edge. I’ve slid out of my range.
I’ve gone unconscious. I’m out of control. I’ve been an asshole. A mean boyfriend, a mean co-worker, a lazy coach, and slid back into survival mode. Basically, I backed into a corner where I don’t give a fuck about anyone but myself.
I had the pressure of earning a large sum of money before a certain date (a massive trigger unto itself). My girlfriend broke up with me in the middle of our staff meeting (she’s also the boss). Then the next day she decided that wasn’t what she wanted. She and I taught 6 classes in 3 weeks (this is the energetic equivalent of giving blood every day for three weeks straight). We got into a negotiation on a commercial lease, back and forth and forth and back. We hosted Ulysses Slaughter, a reconciliation specialist, to help our staff tell the truth to each other, and then invited 40 community members to learn about reconciliation in the OneTaste community. That means 8 people I’m closest to told me things they had been withholding. They weren’t nice things. I didn’t say nice things either.
I’m on the backside of a 23 day long peak. I’m a terrible person at my edge. Like a rat in a corner.
Everyone I care about turns into the enemy. They are stupid. They are plotting against me. They put me last. They leave me out. They are making decisions about my life for me. They are going to fuck my girlfriend and laugh at me behind my back. How powerless I am. How impotent. How childish. How weak. What a joke.
How can I think of myself as a leader if this is who I become under pressure? How can I teach anyone anything if I am energetically stabbing my co-teacher minutes before we step up to the front of the room? Who am I to talk about communication or relationships if I’m losing entire conversations? Text conversations, gone, I have no memory of them, even though they were discussed in front of me at staff meetings. Multiple times. Checked. The Fuck. Out.
I’m on the backside of a 23 day long peak and goddammit I’m going to be kind to myself on this side of it.
I’m back enough from the edge to see who I’ve been. Makes me sick. And what to do but be with this part of myself? Can’t run from it. Don’t want to anymore. Turn and face it. My survival mechanisms are entrenched when I run out of fuel. When I get to the end of my reserves, it ain’t pretty. And it’s also a place where I don’t have freedom. I want to hit my reserves and know that’s what’s happening. I want to be able to communicate to the people around me, the people I care about, that I am nearing the end of my fuel. That I am going to run out of patience, and that I will likely be less than pleasurable to be around.I’m on the backside of a 23 day long peak. I have seen who I am at my edge. I am perfect.
Everything that I have experienced has gotten me to where I am. I could not be here without all of my survival mechanisms. I would not have stayed sane enough to start on this path if it weren’t for the ways I coped with my dysfunction. I can love that part of myself, as scratchy, as raw, as prickly as it is. I needed those parts to get this far. I needed those parts to keep myself from dying inside. I needed that ferocity, that rat-baring-his-teeth animal inside to keep me alive. And I don’t need them any more. I want to be kind to myself and my friends when I run out of gas. I have a home, I have a family, I have a purpose, I have a career. I have the life I want to be living. Nothing can take it from me, and man is it hard to tell those parts of me that they are being downsized.
I am on the backside of a 23 day long peak. I’m sorry for being an asshole. I love you.
(Originally published on Keith Paolino.com)