I may or may not have mentioned that I am co-facilitating a group of young adults with disabilities at work on Wednesday evenings. We are actually about to finish the first of three 10-week sessions of the group, which is called the Living Well Young Adult Group. I began working with these young adults as a way to get more face-to-face time for my PLPC (I need 1200 F2F and 3000 total hours). I have never been involved in any kind of group therapy before, so this was very new to me and admittedly, somewhat scary. I was also concerned because I was to be the only member of the group without a disability. Questions such as...
Will they like me? Will they compare themselves to me? Will they assume my life is better? Will they accept me?
...flooded my mind. These are not emotions or questions I was prepared for because after all, I am the (co) leader, I will be different from them. I will have a different agenda. I am just...different. That could not have been further from the truth.
And that leads me into the next topic. Truth. Honesty. Two words that people use so very often, but what do they really mean? I imagine that they mean very different things to different people. One of the biggest things we emphasize in our weekly meetings is being honest with ourselves and with each other. I have come to trust the members of this group more than I have trusted many of my friends. No offense to my friends, but when you are in a room with strangers who have taken a pledge to not judge, to support each other, and to listen, and I mean really listen to each other, you see what truth can really look like. I have tried to emulate these factors in my relationships outside of the meeting.
I had my feelings hurt by a friend a week or so after these meetings began. Because of my commitment to honesty that I have with this group, I confronted the friend about it. The result was perhaps not what I had hoped it would be, but what I got out of it was the truth. Finally, the truth. Isn't that what we all really want anyway?
A few weeks ago I read this post. This guy at Single Dad Laughing is a little bit of a schmuck. That is completely my opinion. I enjoy what he writes, and so does he. And he is not afraid to tell you so. I will take what I want from his writing and leave the rest. Just consider yourself warned if you start to poke around his blog.
So anyway, that post is a bit long, but completely worth your time. I promise. There is a disease called perfection and it plagues us all. At work the other day, a woman called me perfect. The scary part is that I really think she meant it. I really think she thinks I never make mistakes and always have it all together. I started to think, could some of that be my fault for always acting as though I have it all together? Is my desperate attempt at perfection forcing those around me to feel less than perfect? Just in case, here are some reasons why I am so much less than perfect.
I become easily frustrated and quickly very angry with BBZ. I am sometimes afraid that I might hit him out of anger.
I spend money on things I don't need, then complain about being broke.
I procrastinate at work, then complain about having too much to do.
I am an aggressive driver. I have had more middle fingers thrown my way than I care to admit. I also yell choice works often while driving. If BBZ starts dropping the eff bomb I will not be able to blame N.
I'm afraid everyone has noticed that I've gained weight.
I'm afraid that some of my frustration with BBZ is that he, in fact, isn't perfect either.
My biggest fear is that one day everyone will see that I'm not really a good person and I'm not very good at my job and I'm just a big, fat phony.
So there, I am certainly not perfect. What I am is human. I am realizing that I get the most upset with BBZ when I am trying to make him do something that he doesn't want to do. I tried a sticker chart this weekend that truly is more for me than for him. I needed a way to get him to do what he needs to do without me having to physically force him, which seems to be what gets my blood boiling the worst. It only works about 50% of the time, but that is 50% fewer anger-inducing fights. There is hope. The other stuff is just stuff. Most of the time I do feel hopeful and positive, but these things do plague my mind. I have things I do that help me feel better about myself and ways to cope with the things in my head. But nevertheless, they are still there. They are in all of us, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.
There is something else I learned while in the group...I am most effective with connecting to people when I am my real and open self. When I let down the wall that says I have it all together and talk about how scared I am for BBZ at his new school. How hard I try to fight back tears and not cry in front of others. When I let down these walls and show the people I am trying to help that I, too, have things I struggle with, I can truly connect and maybe even help them. Acting as though I only have something to teach and not something to learn gets me nowhere.
That guy was right about one thing, admitting my imperfections does feel freeing! But also very uncomfortable, which I suppose is a good thing! I think Not Me! Mondays are definitely a more fun way to share my imperfections...maybe I'll start that up again next week.