The Mountain. (Or: By the end of the week I’ll have killed this blog entirely with all this emotional shit. So there’s that.)

My therapist described it as going up a mountain.

Right now, it feels more like falling on my ass.

Over

and over

and over again.

Unless you’re rock climbing, you don’t go straight up a mountain.  You go around it.  And it can feel like you’re just going round and round in an ever looping circle.   You can pass by the same points and think “damn it, I’ve been here before!”.

Except, you haven’t.

You’ve been by this spot, this side, but now you’re farther up the mountain.

Such is the way of Personal Growth and Learning.

But back to falling on my ass.

I learned several years ago to stop worrying about whether or not my mom was going to be happy.  I used to more than worry.  I was constantly convinced that I knew what would make her happy and I was hopelessly invested in the outcome of all of her decisions.  I was angry when she didn’t take my advice.  I was resentful when I saw her making decisions I didn’t agree with.  I judged the hell out of that poor woman until she started hiding things from me and all of our communications took place under a veil of secrets and mistrust.  It went on like this until our relationship combusted and we went months without talking to one another.

Months.  This is a woman I talk to almost every day, and I went months without having her in my life.

It’s been more than three years now since we’ve had a serious argument.  In fact, I can’t even remember the last time we really fought.  And a big, big part of that was me learning to let go of my insistence that I knew what was best for her – and not just on the outside, but on the inside.

(Amazingly enough, she’s done just fine without my help.  Go figure.)

In those three years, I’ve heard myself arrogantly proclaim that “I’ve learned to trust people to know what is best for themselves.”

Hey!  Look at me!  I’ve got this figured out!  Check that off the list of things to learn about life! Next!

Except… well… no.  Apparently I’ve learned to trust my mother – but I routinely find myself falling flat on my face when it comes to applying that wisdom to other people.  (Like, say, oh I don’t know, Jared.  I mean, you know, just as an example.)

Personal Growth FAIL.

Next up – accepting the fact that some people are just not good for you.  They don’t have to be miserable people.  They don’t have to be bad.  But if every interaction you have with them ends up making you feel like crap about yourself – well, it might be time to say “You know, there’s nothing wrong with who you are.  You’re fine.  But, please, go be fine over there.”

I cannot even tell you how many times I have learned and relearned this.

And yet… there are weak spots.  I, like my mother, have a tendency to see humanity in damn near everyone.  I might as well have “no one is all good or all bad” tattooed on my forehead.  And that’s great.  Except that I see flashes of good – glimpses of that humanity – and all of a sudden I’m throwing out every single past bad experience and letting someone who is inherently not good for me deep into the recesses of my heart.

And then the pattern repeats, I feel like shit about myself, and I’m hollering “why? WHY do I constantly let myself believe it will be different!??!”

I think somewhere in there is the definition for insanity.

Personal Growth FAIL NUMBER TWO.

And there are others.

There is the declaration that “I set these boundaries, I hope you respect them, but it is my responsibility to enforce them.”  And my failure over and over and OVER AGAIN to not do exactly that at all.

There is my pig headed belief that if I just explain myself one. more. time, things will suddenly be more clear.  And then it’s not more clear for more than a milisecond and I slap myself for HOLY SHIT, WOMAN, STOP IT ALREADY.  But surely if I just find the right words in this great big English language… NO.  STOP.  Just stop.

And I don’t stop.

Because just one more… just this once.   This is the last time, I swear.  But just this once more.

And you have no idea what I’m talking about, I know.

The point is:

FAIL.

FAIL.

FAIL.

Basically.

Wouldn’t it be GRAND if we only had to learn something once?  If you learned a lesson in one relationship and BAM!, you could effortlessly apply that experience to the rest of your relationships… If life was a series of checklists – check! check! check! – and we just got to move the fuck on already

Wouldn’t that be swell?

But, no.

Life, it seems, is not a rock climb.

And so, I labor up along the mountain.  I come by the same damn spot again.

Today, I remind myself that this spot is not, however it may seem, the same.

I am, in reality, further up the mountain.

And I pretty much expect at least half of you to go OH MY GOD, UNSUBSCRIBE right about NOW.

Get More Inspiration & Encouragement

Sign up to get my weekly(ish) email with personal stories, practical tips & links to recent blog posts. You'll also have access to exclusive discounts on products & events and a handful of freebies I've made just for you.

I save my best stuff for subscribers! Join us.

Your email will never be sold or shared, because I aspire to not be a jerk.

  1. Dawn says:

    “And I pretty much except at least half of you to go OH MY GOD, UNSUBSCRIBE right about NOW.”

    Do you think that will make me happy?
    Do you think that’s what’s best for me?

    FAIL.
    :)

    xo

  2. melissa says:

    it’s a never ending process. baby steps, y’know.

  3. Maria says:

    Oh wow, I feel you on a LOT of this post. Man.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Maria, I’d be interested to hear which parts, someday.

      • Maria says:

        @Miss Britt, I am all up in my mom’s shit. I worry about her constantly. I really struggle with trying to FIX EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE RIGHT NOW LISTEN TO MEEEEE!!!

        Have in the past surrounded myself, FREQUENTLY, with people who are clearly not good for me.

        And I can’t seem to learn life lessons for more than the ten minutes it takes me to write down that I had them.

        I hope we can spend some time together soon. Although in person I get all avoidy and talk about hot guys instead of Feelings.

        I don’t think that’s gonna fly with Therapist #1 on Friday though.

  4. “But, please, go be fine over there”
    I LOVE IT! Plenty of people I’ve thought that exact thing of. So great to read it somewhere else. Chin up, young person! We’re still here!

  5. Robin says:

    accepting the fact that some people are just not good for you. They don’t have to be miserable people. They don’t have to be bad. But if every interaction you have with them ends up making you feel like crap about yourself – well, it might be time to say “You know, there’s nothing wrong with who you are. You’re fine. But, please, go be fine over there.”

    You have no idea how much this fits me, there are certain people in my life that I can’t seem to just walk away from even though they make me so miserable. I swear, I have a tendency, always have, of finding friends that I fear and I am always walking on eggshells so I don’t get them mad at me. I’ve been this way since I was little. I’m getting better though, a little bit at a time.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Robin, MAN. I don’t necessarily have a tendency to have friends that I walk on eggshells around out of fear. That would SUCK. ASS.

      Here’s to you getting up THAT mountain sooner rather than later!

  6. Kim says:

    This post?

    Personal growth WIN !

    Score one for yourself my friend.

  7. Hilly says:

    I have to thank both you and your Mom for teaching me the “You’re fine. But, please, go be fine over there.” thing. That’s how I feel about many people yet never have been quite able to describe it correctly. I mean shit, not all of us are meant to be in love with each other (friends or otherwise) and I hate that I tend to feel the need to defend my ambivalence about certain people.

    No more.

  8. Marion says:

    Oh, I so know where you’re coming from. Or at least I think I do. My constant attempts to “clear up” what I thought were “misunderstandings”… this constant taking too much of the responsibility for our interactions upon myself, thinking that if I explained things correctly one more time, if I solved the problem, then we’d be fine… when in truth I just needed for once to say “stop – you can go this far, but no further.” And it took me so long. Back then it didn’t feel like going up a mountain at all, it felt like being in one of those hamster wheels.

    So… first time commenter here. I wish you the very best of luck.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Marion, hamster wheel. Yes. And you don’t even know you’re on the damn wheel still until afterwards and then I’m like “SHIT! HAMSTER WHEEL!”

  9. Laurin says:

    Actually, I think I just might know what you are talking about. Can I get your therapist’s card??

  10. muskrat says:

    Should the last sentence say “expect” instead of “except”? I’m a helper. Or, I try to be.

    Hope the kids are well…

  11. avitable says:

    None of these are fails, in any sense. Now, when I do something stupid and stubbornly refuse to admit that it was stupid or that it was contradictory, that’s a fail. You, however, learn from everything and are constantly growing. Stumbling is okay, too, because you always pick yourself up and keep walking. That’s why you’re the strongest one out of all of us.

  12. avitable says:

    Fuckin’ subscribe box didn’t check.

  13. I have just recently learned that it’s ok to move people to the periphery of my priorities based on that exact thing, that I’m sure they’re just fine people…for someone else. My sister is one of those. I had to let go of the feeling of obligation to like her because she’s family and realize that she makes me feel bad every. single. time. Enough.

    I do the same thing with over-explaining myself, mostly with my son. I want so badly for him to see where I’m coming from that I browbeat him with my viewpoints. I’m sure he would do a happy dance if I could learn to let go of that.

  14. Nanna says:

    Hey! You forgot that really annoying habit you have of beating the crap out of yourself, Missy! Seriously, child. Give it an “oops” and let it go, OK? You’re doing so much better than you think! XOXO

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Nanna, DAMN IT! I thought you’d be proud because I was like “ok, not actually a fail, it just seems like, but I’m up the mountain.”

      I’m getting better! Honest!

  15. Kristin says:

    accepting the fact that some people are just not good for you. They don’t have to be miserable people. They don’t have to be bad. But if every interaction you have with them ends up making you feel like crap about yourself – well, it might be time to say “You know, there’s nothing wrong with who you are. You’re fine. But, please, go be fine over there.”

    This babe, describes my entire adult life. If only I could put half my thoughts into words like you can…..
    Love you!

  16. NYCWD says:

    This post obviously brings new meaning to the song, “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes… she’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes… she’ll be comin’ round the mountain, she’ll be comin’ round the mountain, she’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes…”

    Time to invest in six white horses.

    /Cryptic Comment a la SnackiePoo

  17. “accepting the fact that some people are just not good for you. They don’t have to be miserable people. They don’t have to be bad. But if every interaction you have with them ends up making you feel like crap about yourself – well, it might be time to say “You know, there’s nothing wrong with who you are. You’re fine. But, please, go be fine over there.”

    Oh holy shit yes.

    But every time I grow balls to deal with these people, I end up looking like a complete asshole. I should just go back to being a nutjob, instead of being nice to damn near everyone. It was not exactly easier that way but in a way nobody fucked with me either.

    Being a grownup is hard.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Karen Sugarpants, I think that’s why it takes so long and so many restarts. Because we hate looking like assholes.

      The hardest part isn’t coming to the realization. It’s coming to it with enough conviction that you can honestly say – it’s ok if you don’t get it, because I do.

  18. “You’re fine. But, please, go be fine over there.”

    That is genius. I never could put into words what I meant when I thought that same kind of thought.

  19. Steve says:

    I learned that lesson about the same time you did… I may have used it on the wrong person once or twice, but that happens. Mountain, or football for the guys. Each down you work like a dog just to get a couple yards… and then you get to do it all over again.
    I learned to live in the present – time gets very confusing where you are. I found someone who lives in the present with me, and won’t let me live elsewhere – changed my life.

  20. Pstar says:

    I try my hardest to not put specifics about my relationship with my ex in public spaces out of respect for him, but again I see striking similarities between what you’re going through and what I went through.

    My motto that got me through separation and divorce: Love hard while people let you.

    That includes loving yourself and letting yourself be loved by you.

    My phone won’t let me post this comment under my identity so I’m trying from work computer under my real email address. Forgive the lack of Ripley icon.

  21. Finn says:

    This is why people get lost — because where you are can look an awful lot like where you’ve been even if it isn’t. You go over similar territory because there is always more than one lesson to learn and sometimes you’re not ready for all of them at once.

    Growth is a process; it happens in spurts. Progress, not perfection.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Finn, yeah it’s been really helpful for me to understand that I’m not going over things again because I didn’t learn anything the first time. Makes me a little more patient with myself.

  22. Lisa says:

    You know, don’t be too hard on yourself. Every day that I get through without killing myself or someone else is a WIN.

  23. Beth says:

    I have just recently started reading your blog, and I would say you are not going to lose readers but gain them. People appreciate honesty and the ability to show vulnerability, above all else. Keep it up!

  24. lceel says:

    Very often, those of us much higher up the mountain will try to reach back down and help someone further back to catch up a bit. More often than not, that helping hand, that sage advice, is ignored, rejected or slapped away. No, we who are further up the mountain don’t learn any quicker than those of you on the way up. FYI

    • Miss Britt says:

      @lceel, I actually made a similar comment on another blog recently.

      Basically – once you’ve found your truth, it is so hard to have patience for people who aren’t as far along the path yet.

      I sooooo get the inclination to want to lend a helping hand.

      If only humans worked that way – just THINK how much farther along we’d be as a civilization!

  25. Kris says:

    Know why none of those are truly a fail? Because you learned from it. Sure you might repeat it, but you’re still learning…and now you’re recognizing. Pretty soon you’ll be BYPASSING all that and then where will you be?! ;)

    Hang in there, kiddo. Life does get better.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Kris, “Life does get better.”

      It may not seem like it – but I do believe this. I think it’s pretty much unavoidable unless you dig your heels into the muck. Life naturally moves along to some place better if you’re willing to let it take you there.

  26. Headless Mom says:

    “well, it might be time to say “You know, there’s nothing wrong with who you are. You’re fine. But, please, go be fine over there.” ”

    *slaps forehead* Yeah, that one is something I need to remember, too.

  27. Mary says:

    Don’t you hate the feeling when you reach for a branch to help you get further up the mountain and the damn thing either has thorns or pulls right out and you slip backward a couple feet (skinning your hands and knees in the process). Say a few choice words and keep going.

  28. the first guy who wanted to marry me was SO wrong for me. while i loved him deeply (still do), one day i woke up and realized i could love him from afar. so i do. and i am MUCH happier for it. guess i am trying to say i can so appreciate your “go be fine over there” comment. love it, actually.

    i’ve never seen a therapist and you make me want to go to one. that heading up a mountain so things are familiar, but you are higher up thing is fucking brilliant. please tell her that the internet is very impressed with her right about now. :)

    for the record, i don’t think any of the things you mentioned make for giant FAILs. my reasoning is that you were able to see the issue(s) and are acting upon them. seeing them and ignoring them on purpose is the fail.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @hello haha narf, I don’t really think they are fails either.

      I do in the moment, but I wanted to write this to say to myself – you know, it’s just another trip round the mountain.

  29. FC says:

    ((Hug)) I’m going through this as well. Take care of yourself.

    ~ FC

  30. Lynda says:

    I remember being in this spot myself. In fact, I do a lot of the same things you mentioned.

  31. ADW says:

    OK. Ouch, ouch and ouch. Especially since I am pretty sure I got all of that.

    AND…. well….. I really have been there. And am so empathetic.

    The great thing about mountains is the view when you get to the top. It always makes the climb more worthwhile.

  32. Bre says:

    Ebb and flow. The ebb sucks but when the flow is good, it reminds us of the “ebb” we felt would *never* end.
    (I just pictured myself with an old-school cheerleading outfit, wearing a shirt with a “B” on it… Then I chuckled to myself thinking… ‘Convenient that Britt’s name and MY name start with a “B”‘) <–too much time on my hands, apparently.
    All of the rambling aside,
    Keep climbing!

  33. Issa says:

    You will totally be able to tell I have kids by this statement, but I can’t help it. Just keep swimming. :)

    I think that if we learned things the first time around, it’d be great. Awesome even. But most of us just don’t. Maybe we’re stubborn (me), maybe we forget, maybe time changes it in some way. all we can do is keep freaking going up that dam mountain and hope some day we see the top.

    In effect, baby steps dude. You’ll get there.

    ps. you’ll have to do a lot more to get rid of me as a reader.

  34. Denise says:

    What can I say that hasn’t been said already? Three pitfalls for the future: horny,”If only I’d” and nostalgic. These are not good counsellors.

    Wishing you well.

  35. Becca says:

    As I tell everyone I know, It will be alright. I know that probably sounds like the pithy, crap statement you don’t want right now, but… Every time I feel like I can’t get up again I say that to myself. It will be alright, because it has to be. We don’t have a choice to do anything else. I mean, if you didn’t have kids you might be able to lay at the bottom of your mountain and yell and cry and decide not to fight anymore.

    But, you do and so you breathe in and out every morning even when it sucks and even when you don’t want to. I’m sorry dear girl, I am sad that you are even having to experience any of this. ((hugs))

  36. califmom says:

    Sooooo many people need to “go be fine over there.” We weren’t all meant to be BFFs. Doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate each other from afar.

    I, for example, love gorillas. Don’t want to live with them, but do enjoy their beauty. I could watch them for hours. I also read People magazine while my kids are at the shrink’s. Doesn’t mean I want to spend time with most of the people in it. Just enjoy the fodder on the page.

    Now give me a high five and a hip bump. You’re awesome. This is a big ass mountain. Don’t try to climb it all in one shot. Give yourself the day off.

  37. lauren says:

    And i keep you on the phone for an hour longer than you want to be because I NEED to be reassured. Fail.

  38. Sybil Law says:

    If only we all had our own Tenzing Norgay’s to help us up those mountains. (Sorry – I hear mountains and I go all Simpson’s. )
    Seriously. It’s the suck, the whole growth thing, because I am pretty sure it never stops. But if it helps us breathe easier and live happily, then I guess it’s all worth it. I hope you get to the top of that mountain and stick a Britt flag up there, proudly!

  39. mare says:

    You miss Jared. Tell him directly (this is, my girl, referred to as beating around the bush) and see what happens, for better or worse.

    But stop beating yourself up about it.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @mare, lol – I told him. Using my blog to communicate with him is, um, well – no longer the best option. :-)

      • mare says:

        @Miss Britt, I’ve been on the Jared side of an avid blogger; it has an element of flattery but does not replace one-on-one communication. Telling the world is great, so long as you can look your loved one in the eye and say the same.

        Be well Britt,

  40. Faiqa says:

    Unsubscribe? Never.

  41. Fantastagirl says:

    So, it’s a bad thing that you miss him?

    This is going to seem brutal -(and I don’t mean it that way) but this is why you are separated – so you can sort things out. You are going to have moments of “I can’t stand this, this and this… and moments of I really miss the way he…, or this, and that.”

    And you are going to have ask yourself:

    Is life better with or without him?

    It’s a tough question, no one can answer it for you, and no one expects you to know the answer today. Your friends can give their opinion, and tell you what they think you want to hear.

    But it is a question that only you can and will have to be able to answer at some point – and I know you know this.

    I hope you find the happiness you desire. I really do… we are all in your corner.

    It’s okay to feel, to hurt, to miss, to love, to be happy, and it’s okay to know that where you are is not where you want to be, and you need a change.

    (and I’m expecting hate email in 3,2,…1)

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Fantastagirl, no, it’s not bad to miss him. It’s natural. The feelings are natural. I do know that.

      Some of these “fails” aren’t even directly related to Jared, actually.

      “It’s a tough question, no one can answer it for you, and no one expects you to know the answer today.”

      Thank you for saying that and for believing that. Really.

      And I don’t think anything you’ve said deserves hate mail at ALL.

  42. racheal says:

    someone once brilliantly described therapy to my ocd mind..

    it’s like cleaning out and organizing your closets…you take everything out, it’s all messy and disastrous and in complete disarray for a while..then you slowly catergorize, and put away in labeled boxes, finding compartments for everything. it gets worse before it gets better…but it always get better. no matter how disastrous, no matter how awful and overwhelming…if you keep working at it..it gets better.

    ….or so i’ve been told.
    :)

  43. Robin says:

    Nah – not unsubscribing. :)

    I am learning it’s not what the failure is, but how you react to it. So far, so good.

  44. Vic says:

    Unsubscribe? Not a chance!

  45. MB says:

    It is such hard work but the view from the top of the mountain will be amazing. Keep climbing.

  46. MB says:

    You’ll have to shut it all down before I’ll ever unsubscribe. Keep the faith.

  47. Deb says:

    I wish I had something enlightening to say that would make everything better, but I don’t. This is your journey, hold tight to your faith, lean on it and let it carry you.

    You and your family are in my prayers.

  48. Lauren says:

    Sorry for the total lame-assed-ness but everything will work itself out. Some days, some weeks, hell, some years are harder than others. You’re kind of a rock star so I know you’ll make it through this with grace and awesomocity. Yeah, that’s a word. Okay, it’s not.

  49. Kelly (Kay) says:

    The scenery and the view look so similar, it’s easy to feel that you’ve “been in this spot before”… but you’re right. This time, it’s a few feet higher than last time. It’s not the same. And every time you’re tempted to give up, you have to remind yourself of that… the fact that you got just a little bit further this time.

    And as for finding the humanity in everyone (almost everyone)… yep, guilty here. I’d like to say it’s a good thing, but when it winds up biting you in the ass, not so much :)

    Nowhere close to unsubscribing. Instead, yours is the first I look for in the morning, cause… well, you get it. You get where I am right now, and you’re putting it into words for me.

  50. HELL. NO. No unsubscribe. Sorry. Because almost everything you just said here, I can relate to. I get it.

    I think life is about growing and learning, and sometimes, yes, we have to learn the same thing over and over again. For example: I did to a good friend the same thing that you did to your mother. I thought I knew what was best for her, and maybe I did, but the constant pressure and nagging distanced us. Like you and your mom, she began keeping things from me because she didn’t want my judgment. She knew she was wrong, and didn’t want to hear it. We stopped talking, I realized what I had been doing for the last few years, and she realized what she had been doing to herself the last few years. But it took both of us doing those same things over and over to realize that, holy shit, we were wrong. And we might do those things again.

    I think you just have to keep learning, and try to change your ways. As long as you’re trying, you’re okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It just makes you human. So keep dusting yourself off and starting the climb again. That’s what life is: working toward being better, working toward the top of that proverbial mountain.

  51. I truly believe that people are magnets. Opposite magnet poles? Attract. Same magnet poles? Repel. Not good, not bad, just how it is with magnets. And think people are that way, also. Some of us are just similar magnetic poles and shouldn’t try to force the attraction. Is that you and Jared? I don’t know. I don’t know enough about the two of you together and I haven’t seen you at your most raw to judge.

    But I know I couldn’t stand Mandy Thompson in college. She was nice, personable, sweet, but we always ended our conversations with anger and frustration. We were similar magnet poles.

    Did I just totally make this into a physics lesson. Fuck.

  52. Jessica says:

    I’m learning to just say f*ck it when I mess up. Is the world going to blow up? No? How about my house? No? My own person? No? Well, then I guess we’re all good, then.

« « The Ache | In which I quote Dora and the Bible and reassure you that I’m fine. Basically. » »