I wish I’d known…and with that, I bite my lip, downcast and suddenly unsure of myself, uncertain of my complaint. It seems flimsy now. Invalid. Because I remember you *tried* to tell me. You always tried to tell me.
It wasn’t that I didn’t *want* to listen, or that I held no respect for your experience. Or maybe it’s exactly that. I was bull-headed; determined to walk my own path, fight my own battles, and to hell with advice or words of wisdom.
I’ve been destined to learn life the hard way. My character has always been too full of arrogance, stubbornness, and the determination to jump in, both feet at the deep end, and flounder. It’s why I’ve found Lifeboats. It’s why I need you. I am beset by my own negligence. My own weakness. My own deliberate fault.
You bear with me, through…? Not through obligation at this stage – it can only be through care and the desire to see me find success…yet I squander your good input by insisting on my own foolish way. You’re amazing, competent, kind, trustworthy, and I *so* see that, yet I’m too willing to blinker myself inside my own sphere of existence – to determinedly make mistake after mistake after mistake…
…whilst you look on, sorrowing, knowing I’ll come to you at some point with metaphorical grazes on my knees, a trembling lower lip, and eyes filled with another silent “What happened?” You’ll know exactly what happened, and how, and why. What’s worse, *I’ll* know, and the tears which spill across my burning cheeks will be laced with shame for the way I’ve trampled across your good advice and ignored your warnings. Again.
I wish I’d known…how often I’d have to rue the sentiment. How it would become a joke – how *I* would become the joke – each time I blundered off, buoyed by the certainty of my own rightness, and wandered blindly, blithely into troubled waters.
I wish I’d known…the impact of my actions on you – how frustrating it must be to constantly battle my impudence and ignorance as I set off again, marching into combat with my boots untied and all the wrong weaponry.
I wish I’d known…sooner and with more clarity, the depth to which my character flaws ran – the bedrock seam of stubbornness, seemingly never fully mined, which has led to an ever-widening rift.
I wish I’d known…how much it mattered to you that I took you seriously, heeded your warnings, and acknowledged the wisdom of your experience.
I’m learning now.
Perhaps it’s too little too late, or perhaps you’ll still make time to see the blows to my false, ridiculous pride, and decide I’m not a lost cause after all. I’d love to *feel* like less of a lost cause, and perhaps that’s another side to the issue – I’ve spent so much time flinging myself into brick walls, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to not perceive myself as the prat who keeps doing it.
It’s so easy to revert to bluster and self-importance. Too easy.
I’m trying to tame those wild-cards in my character; to become humble, heeding, more accepting, and (if not biddable, then at least) willing to entertain your viewpoint and give it some consideration
before dismissing it out of hand.
I’m sorry for all the aggravation. For all the times you’ve rolled your eyes. For all the times I’ve proven inept, incapable, unequal to the situation, as you predicted. For all the times I’ve come crying to you with another mess of my own making.
I’m ready to learn, to try, to grow up now, and thank you, THANK YOU, for all the ways you’ve borne with me, and for not having given up on me.
I hope you still want to be part of the process of my Becoming.
I hope you’ll still give me your advice.
I hope you’ll notice the change.
* * *
The above could pertain to me at any age – I’ve always had a streak of stubborn independence, utterly unwilling to accede someone else might know better, and determined to learn the hard way, despite warning. It’s the kind of characteristic which can be impudently charming in someone else’s toddler, for about 12 seconds. In a teenager it might be expected, but in an adult it’s a serious flaw, which needs working on, and it’s something I’ve been conscious of for far longer than I’ve been prepared to work on it.
I *have* been working on it though, depending on whom you ask, but I’m a long way from ‘there’ with it.
The apology is genuine – to the amalgamation of people who have encountered this side of me, and wished they could cosh me over the head as they’ve borne the frustration of being on the receiving end of my stubbornness.
The gratitude and the hopes are genuine, too.
Click over to their blogs to see the other posts and link in.