“…the moment our mental or emotional independence is in question, how differently we behave. How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we should act. We’ll listen politely to those who would advise us, but all the decisions are to be ours alone. Nobody is going to mettle with our personal independence in such matters. Besides, we think, there is no one we can surely trust. We are certain that our intelligence, backed by willpower, can rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world we live in. This brave philosophy, wherein each man plays God, sounds good in the speaking, but it still has to meet the acid test: how well does it actually work? One good look in the mirror ought to be answer enough for any alcoholic.”
—“Step Three” of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
People who know me also realize I’m a fighter. And I’m not talking about the “Mike Tyson ear biting” type of fighting. I’m referring to not putting up with the nonsense of others to the point of debating political opinions. Most of the time, I know some shit’s about to go down when someone says or does something that makes me uncomfortable or, worse, indignant. Either way, half the nations is going to hear Shermeeka M.L. Mason tonight!
Especially since I post on Facebook on the regular.
All joking aside. I remember the times when I just verbally punched friends and strangers in the face simply because they pissed me off somehow or I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. And when I heard something I didn’t approve of, I either emotionally blacked out or stood on a soapbox, debating about what the fuck I WASN’T going to do, why I wasn’t going to do it, and how YOU were stupid for even talking to me like this. I’ll give you an example: I’m having problems with my landlady because she not only entered my room twice without my consent (while I was in bed, no less) but falsely accused me of leaving the side door open about three times. The third time broke me and I pretty much snapped on her–which wasn’t the smartest move in retrospect.
I was advised to call Legal Services, which I did, and the two Legal Services reps I talked to basically told me that I have to obtain written permission to leave. Otherwise, she has every right to take me to small claims court. Instead of thanking them for their help as any sane person would have, I basically got on my “Don’t Give a Fuck” soapbox once again and told them the following: “Look, this lady walked into my room unannounced! I’m not staying here another month, so she will have to take me to court…I will be out by March!….Oh I’m not paying her, but thanks for your help.” Click.
I wanted to break my phone against the wall. My indignation was justifiable because she violated my space and now I’m living on the edge. Many a day I’ve imagined opening my eyes to her standing over me with false concern. In fact, I’m angry still because whenever I hear the apartment door open, I’m thinking it’s the landlady walking in for no legitimate reason. That shit unnerves me and I don’t being unable to relax in my own house. I was more than ready to rumble in Small Claims court, armed with witnesses to testify on my behalf. In my head, I see the both of us standing before a judge, debating each other about her creepiness and how I feel like I was in a low-budget sequel of “Misery” for two months.
In other words, I fixin’ to fight. Again.
Or am I?
The more I think about this entire fiasco with my landlady, the more I thought about all the other times I reacted without thinking things through. When I don’t like something, I fight. But then I continue to do battle until the other people are tired. I will argue because–in my head–I know I’m right. Get over it. The end. I cannot even tell you how many times I frustrated myself simply to the very problem that got in my way: my will. When I believe I have all the answers or that I know what’s best, I listen to no one/nothing–Creator included. I am very used to doing for myself anyway, so any words of wisdom that is given to me basically enters one ear and out the other sometimes. I already knew what I was going to do, so no extra words were needed. That was my will’s thinking, not me.
I shared my frustrations at an AA group tonight and, as I spoke, I realized I needed to let go and let Creator. One of the reasons why I fight so much is due to not having an opportunity to do so as a child. When I tried to, I was literally beaten down. As an adult, and hyper-vigilant I am over-protective of self still, so I attack first and answer questions loudly. When I get this way, reason means nothing and F-Bombs drop down from my mouth–especially if I feel someone’s lying. But the truth is that I am only hurting myself when I go off like this–whether I’m debating or experiencing an emotional blackout. I act this way out of deep-root fear and distrust of the unknown and by the end of the day–when I calm down–I usually regret what I said or done because I could have just placed the matter in Creator’s hands and asked for good orderly direction.
And I’m not saying that it’s ok to be a doormat, either. What I’m saying is that there are some battles to be fought and others leave to be left alone. Either way, I have to allow Creator and others to help me–but I have to let go of my self-will.
With that being said, I am letting Creator and the New York State Tenant Laws look out for me. Though I have to do the work needed to cover my own ass, I also get the gut feeling that Creator will protect me from all harm. Despite my being frustrated, I cannot do everything MY way or just act on impulse. I have to get out of my own way.
As they say in the AA rooms: I can’t. God can. So let Him.
Author Unknown (1952). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.