the truth is, i used to be all about excuses.
there was nothing that needed to be done that i couldn't excuse off until later. anything that caused me mild discomfort or was at all inconvenient, i had miles and miles of excuses for. like a magician pulling a colored scarf from my mouth, the excuses were never-ending. get a job? i'm in too much pain (oh, if i'd have known what lay in store...what i thought was pain back then was laughable!) go out with friends? i don't want to drive in this weather. i'm too tired. (let me add here that this was before i had ulcerative colitis- i had an illness that had just manifested itself, but it was much less severe) control my (then) explosive temper and not say terrible things to people i loved most when i was angry? it's not MY fault- they egged me on, and besides, i was born with a terrible temper. there was nothing to be done about it.
the truth is, my excuses came from deep within. from a place riddled with insecurity and self-doubt. self-hatred, even. you see, although i was a pro at excuses, i wasn't in denial about it. i knew what i was doing, but being in the "victim" mentality that comes with regular excuse-making, i didn't know what to do about it. all i would do was blame myself for every little thing, and harp on myself for having no self-discipline and being lazy/useless. i was unhappy and unkind to myself. it seemed like i was in a pit, continually digging deeper to find my way out, even though the way out was clearly right above me. and why? because changing myself would be hard. it would require hard work and effort and help, and i hated asking for help. i wasn't in the habit of making an effort anymore. in a lot of ways, i'd given up.
well, in the past two years i have battled against the lazy tendencies i acquired and the self-hate. largely because i HAD to at first, and now because i want to. i know that life is meant to be a growing experience for all of us- what would be the point, otherwise? and it's true, that excuses often times at their core have some validity. i don't think that people just make up excuses simply because they're lazy or scared, the end. but regardless of the validity, WHO CARES? it's acting vs being acted upon...who wants to be owned by their excuses, their circumstances, or the choices of people around them?
the funny thing is, being as sick as i have, i could have so easily taken the "victim's road". i had dozens of excuses tailor-made for me, borne from my illness. but i found very quickly that i didn't want to take the victim's road. i didn't want to keep making excuses. i wanted to BECOME somebody! somebody who came to a fork in the road and kicked down the victim sign before going down the path of a warrior.
i want to LIVE TO LIVE. i went to visit my ninety-eight year old great-grandmother a couple of days ago. jenn and i went, actually. my great grandmother has had a remarkable life. a beautiful life. a life fraught with troubles and pain like anybody else's- but a life that was her own. that she worked for. she owned businesses and was a single mother long before it was accepted that women do those things. she didn't care about what was accepted by society and what wasn't. she wanted to be something, and she worked to become it. and it wasn't easy. but ask her and she will tell you: all of the pain, the tears, the late nights working and everything else...it was worth it. when she talks about her life, she's proud of it. as she should be. she also had a dozen excuses on hand that she could have used in any given situation, but she didn't. and i admire her for it.
one thing my great grandma told jenn and me that night that has stuck with me was this: "live to live." it sounds simple, but she went on- "so many people are living to die. focusing ONLY on what comes next. you're in life right now, you need to live to live! don't live to die!" here she is, my ninety-eight year old great grandmother, with a better memory than my own and a beautiful life behind her, telling me this.
i think i can take her word for it. ;)