The Old Rutted Road Just Ain’t What It Used To Be

I just heard a great quote. It was a quote Starbucks used on their The Way I See It coffee cups. It was from Brian Scudamore founder of 1-800-Got Junk.

He said, are what you can’t get let go of.


Brian was obviously referring to literal junk. Cluttered closets, garages you can’t put your car into, junk drawers morphed into junk rooms. I have all of them.


However, when I heard his quote I naturally thought of emotional junk. Old beliefs, habituated behaviors, deep ruts in the road that grab my steering wheel and drive me down the same old road…over and over and over again.


The junk I am currently staring down is old. Very old. It’s dusty, it smells and it has been with me so long I often forget it is there…except for the low grade discomfort it causes. The piece of trash I need to call 1-800-Get Help for is the innovative ways I sabotage myself.


I learned this with the help of my older brother, Rob. Rob used to find creative ways to torment me. He would perch something, a dixie cup full of water or a baseball, on the top edge of my bedroom door. When I pushed the slightly ajar door open any number of objects fell on my head. (I still catch myself looking to the top of a partially opened door checking for foreign objects.) He would bug the bathroom and make strange noises as I tried to deal with my chronic childhood constipation (TMI?). His favorite, though, was twisting my arm behind my back until I fell to me knees and cried, “UNCLE.” I didn’t know who I hated more in my moments of surrender, him for inflicting the pain or me for giving into him.


Rob liked me to feel small. I assume so he could feel big. This was a dilemma because my role in the family was to make my family look good. So the more I obliged the more grass clippings got shoved into my clothes (with me in them), the more he grabbed   food off my dinner plate (I began to eat with a fork held tightly in my left hand to stab him if he reached over) and the more often I got called, “Fatty Patti.” Is anyone wondering, “Where the hell were my parents?” Yeah, me too.


I internalized this mistreatment with the message to myself, if I get too big or too noticed I will get in trouble, reduced, humiliated, put in my place, beat up. So today when I move into my greatness-what I/we are most afraid of-I quickly twist myself into a painful knot and scare myself out of my passion.


Off the Couch is a perfect example.


I love writing this blog. I feel so grateful to have a place to air my thoughts. To tell you how I see things. Otherwise it all stays in my head and I unload on some unsuspecting soul, usually at a party, who either excuses themselves go to the bathroom or begins to drink…a lot.


But you, my friends, listen to me (thank you thank you thank you). Sometimes you even tell me you like what I say, relate to my perspective, or tell me what I wrote made you laugh. I love this. For a moment I feel so proud of myself and blessed to have this opportunity to be doing what I love-writing about life as I see it.


Then a moment later, for no particular reason I can recognize, I will quietly whisper to myself, “What a stupid blog this is. Who wants to listen to me? Who do I think I am?” I flinch as though I have been hit on the head with a dixie cup full of marbles. I begin to read other blogs. I decide they talk about really important things. I begin to feel ashamed of my measly ideas.


I annihilate myself. I can’t even blame Rob. It is me. Fair and square. I do it to myself. I drive myself down the same old rutted road. “Look mom, no hands!”


Remember that amusement park ride with the cars on a track that you could pretend you were driving but the track took you where it wanted you to go? The illusion of agency. A good friend of mine was pretending to drive and her car hit a snag in the track throwing her forward so hard she hit both her front teeth off the steering wheel, smashing them.


Moral of the story…these old rutted roads, illusions of self direction, are dangerous!



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