I pretty much avoided them for the first twenty years of my life. As a cheeky, precocious child- a product of broken home syndrome to the extreme- I learned how to scam and flirt and wriggle my way out of ever really having to take responsibility for my actions. When the situation warranted it, I could squeeze out a few fake tears or flatter my way back into good graces, or, when all else failed, lie like a motherfucker. My narrow scope of the meaning of consequences was limited to the action/reaction charts we made in my middle school science class and understanding that my half-hearted, night-before effort at padding my egg’s box with peanut butter was the consequence of it smashing after only a one-story drop. (Does anyone else remember science class egg drops? The best.)
And then, like some karmic slap in the face, consequences and I became almost like best friends in my early 20s. The years of slacking off and partying when I should have been getting my shit together, the excuses about my imperfect childhood, and my seeming lack of consideration for any other human being around me all caught up to me at once when “he” dumped me. (For all the aforementioned reasons, obviously.) When “he” broke up with me, I was devastated. Like “bury your head in the sand and never come back up for air” devastated. He called me on my bullshit and when I fucked up, I had to face the consequences. And there was no fixing it.
By nature, I am a fixer. I live to come up with solutions. Give me an Ikea desk and a manual with missing pages and I will figure that shit out in an hour tops. The idea of not being able to fix things has the ability to reduce me to a puddle of useless goo. But that’s kind of what consequences are, right?
A few weeks ago, I saw a friend who reminded me of this and how brutally painful a pill it can be to swallow. She told me about a guy she had liked and how she had ruined things by freaking out about her unexpected feelings and acting crazy when she was drunk around him. Her precise description of her behavior was “psychotic bitch.”
I nodded my head and felt pretty secure in the fact that I’d been there, done that. I could completely relate, but remembering how painful the whole situation was, I knew I wouldn’t make that mistake again. And yet,I should know by now that if I begin to get too secure in how “grounded” and “healed” I am of my relationship inadequacies, they will immediately unveil themselves and waste no time biting me in my smug, somewhat self-righteous ass. So of course they did, and I fucked up my own blossoming relationship by being my own version of “psychotic bitch” with a little emotionally unavailable/irrational mixed in. Which is why tonight as I write this, it is not only to remind myself of this shitty life lesson, it’s to distract myself from trying to “fix” something that is unfixable.
So I guess it’s like this: sometimes in life, you will do horrible, shitty things that make you want to cringe and slap yourself over the head. Then you will feel so awful that you will want to take action to try and “fix” them. But you can’t. Because sometimes, the things we do are too awful to fix and saying sorry is just not enough. And you’ve got to put down the phone or get off Facebook and just let it be. And sit with the horrible, shitty thing you did and know that even sorries come with consequences.