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I Don't Care...

"I don’t care is really just a hollow facsimile of acceptance." Anonymous.

Someone said this the other day, and his words hit me, they landed. How many times do I say “I don’t care” about things that I really do care a great deal about? Is “I don’t care” just another avenue to acceptance? Or is it something that beguiles me into believing that I am accepting things the way they are, when really I am not accepting very much at all?

I am pretty sure it is the later, at least for me.

I wish that I didn’t, care so much about all the things. But I do. I care about everything, all the time. You. Your thoughts and feelings. My animals, the world, my home, my children and family, friends, stuff that doesn’t really matter like the house being tidy and in order but I have said that I don’t care a lot about all of the above. And that was a lie. Or a hollow facsimile of acceptance that wasn’t really acceptance at all. It was most likely, and usually apathy or inverted anger, being displaced for the time being, just long enough to give myself some space or to appease your judgment. Acceptance was nowhere to be found in that particular situation or room.

My son used to say “I DON’T CARE!!!!!” A LOT! And I would tell whomever he was saying that to, “actually when he says that it means he cares a lot!” #truth.

Why do we do that? Say that we don’t care when we actually care a great deal about something or someone? Ego? Yes most definitely. But also I think this man hit on it the other day, we say we don’t care because it is the way we kid ourselves into thinking that we are accepting something when we are really not doing that at all. Resignation is not the same thing as acceptance, at least to me...

Resignation might be a part of the whole acceptance process but it is not the entire process for sure...again, at least for me. Resignation means a departure, as in ending an employment or leaving a position or belief previously held. Definitely helpful in the whole acceptance process and perhaps many of us get stuck right there...

However, at least for me, acceptance requires more. A lot more actually. It isn’t just me resigning myself to whatever circumstance or situation has happened or is happening, acceptance means that I do the emotional and spiritual work to get to the place where I see that while I may not like what is going on, it is reality and my options are often limited.

Take death of a relationship for an example, as I had one of those recently...

The relationship likely was over before it got started, but I didn’t know that for a long time. I mean a part of me did. I knew that there was stuff wrong from the beginning...but I didn’t want to see it, so I couldn’t. And because I agreed to put on blinders and wholly decide to not listen to that inner voice, my inner guidance, I compelled myself to fly blind from that point forward. Reality was right there all the time but I couldn’t see it or afford myself all that reality gives me, because I made a decision to commit to hope and folly as my guides. Fuck, if that isn’t an old pattern...

At some point in time, I resigned myself to this position of feeling the truth, and refusing to accept it as my reality. And so the relationship continued way past where it likely should’ve. I can see the ending so early on now, so fucking early on, that it is almost painful. But I did not accept it. I just resigned myself to some other fate that was more to my liking in that moment, wholly failing to see the ending that was inevitable.

Then it took me a great deal of time to work my way around to acceptance. To get to a place where I could actually honor what my internal compass told me from pretty much the word go, this relationship was not viable.

So weird that the resignation was not part of the healing, just actually something I used to keep me engaged in the charade longer and with greater heartbreak for all involved...

In this particular case it took me a year and half to get to acceptance...while I said “I don’t care” so often in that intervening 18 months...that should have been a sign. Actually, I think it is a sign, at least for me.

Going forward one thing I have learned is that when I am screaming, loudly and without volume control, “I DON’T CARE!” This should be a warning to me that I am actually not in acceptance and likely headed into the land of hollow facsimile..."I don’t care" has never really gotten me anywhere except further lodged into something that I should have likely never gotten myself into in the first place.

I have committed to really learning this lesson now. And I see my part in all of it. How I got where I am, again, still. And it is embarrassing and painful and I feel so sad about how much I let myself down again, and hurt people, to include myself, in this process. I really had no intention. I didn’t know, and haven’t known, repeatedly, how much and how far my unhealed trauma will go, what it will cause me to do, say and act.

Another layer peeled. Another lesson learned. I think perhaps really this time. Magical thinking and “I don’t care” do not help me anymore so I must give them up and rely on the more stable and reliable ground of reality because I don’t want the hollow facsimile, I want the real deal. True acceptance that I am doing all I can comes from the recognition that I cannot change the outcome, I am not in control of the narrative...

See with acceptance comes the realization and knowledge that when you relinquish control, all sorts of options become possible that are clearly off the table when I am running the show. “I don’t care” helps me not at all except to move further down a road that I have already traveled way too much and wholly dislike the journey. Acceptance requires me to relinquish my denial and delusion that I know anything but delivers me to places I’ve never dreamed were possible...every. single. time.

And one more time, I am reminded that depth and gravitas come from doing the deeper dive, the hard work, the painful stuff, sooner and more completely. That is my task. It is delving more completely into things that scare me and bother me and vex me and require me to move past the illusory comfort of “I don’t care” and into the real, and often painful, reality that awaits us all when we have the courage to be honest with ourselves.

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