Can I just start off by complaining about the emotional roller coaster that the last season of Orange is the New Black put us on!?! Now you might be thinking, where is that intro leading us Lindsey? Well, inspired by the episode(s) that include the Restorative Justice program, accountability is on the forefront of my mind today- really that is not different than any other day. In the Restorative Justice program, the point is to take accountability and make amends for actions that have caused other people pain. Who is one person(s) you would need to write an apology letter to? If you were stuck in an elevator with someone, who is the person you would dread it being, due to the shame of your actions and your unwillingness to apologize? That’s what these women had to do in the show. It made me think about who would be in that elevator with me.
For those of you who read the blog consistently, you gems, know that I poured my heart out about my past in my last post during pride month. As a given, “Rene” would be in my elevator. The thought of that was too easy, so I challenged myself. Who else could be in that elevator? To my surprise, I thought that maybe it could be my little brother. Growing up, I had underlying anger over a lot of things. My brother was a typical annoying little brother who I probably made fun of too much, didn’t give him enough guidance and enough of my quality time. Your elevator might be jam packed with people or you might need to dig deep to find your buddy, but they’re there.
My mind is an anxious one and I’m 3/4 convinced that I’m an empath, so feeling everything and feeling deeply is a blessing and a curse for me. This mindset allows me to reflect on the ways I have hurt those that I love and what I can do in the future to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. This also comes easy now due to plenty of practice over the years of making mistakes and troubleshooting the best ways to make amends.
The ability to take accountability doesn’t come easy to some people and it didn’t always come easy to me. As our one true and rightful Queen Brene has said, “Blame is faster than accountability.” Accountability is a vulnerable process that takes courage and time. “It means me calling you and saying, hey, my feelings were really hurt about this, and talking.” It’s uncomfortable to hear that you have hurt someone. What is more uncomfortable is when you fast forward 5,10,15 years and you’ve blamed and avoid accountability-ed your way into a lonely life. It might be easy for someone to look past your avoidance of taking ownership for some shitty things you’ve done the first few times, because let’s face it, we’re human, we make mistakes and we haven’t always taken the accountability for everything we should have- But after a while of it happening continuously, especially without honest apologies attached, it gets old. Sit in your discomfort for a while, it will pay off.
Queen Brene, again with the tea, says that it is difficult to maintain relationships when you’re a blamer, because when something goes wrong, we’re too busy making connections as quickly as we can about who’s fault it is, instead of slowing down, listening, and leaving enough space for empathy to arise. “Blame is simply a discharge of pain and discomfort. Blame is a way we discharge anger.” We blame others for our faults so that we can stay in control.
There is not strength in pretending you are perfect. There is not strength in avoiding mistakes. There is not strength in avoiding apologizing. There is not strength in deflecting. Own.your.shit. To end with a quote from one of the weirdest but most enjoyable shows to watch, Rick and Morty, “Well then, get your shit together. Get it all together. And put it in a backpack. All your shit. So it’s together. And if you gotta take it somewhere, take it somewhere, you know, take it to the shit store and sell it… Or put it in a shit museum, I don’t care what you do, you just gotta get it together.”
Get your backpack, fill it with your excuses, the times you’ve blamed, the times you’ve hurt someone you loved, the apologies that you owed but never gave, the discomfort you never sat in, the growth you haven’t made, the people in your life that bring out these qualities in you, and just sell that shit for .25 at a garage sale.