As I was cleaning my parents’ house at the Ranch, I looked over at the phone, which said “Messages Full”. Nothing really new, as the phone has said “Messages Full” for over 5 months. As I looked down at the phone, I remembered exactly which voice mail messages were saved on that phone. My familia had lately been asking me if they should keep the messages on the machine or not. I had never wanted to listen to these messages, yet I was reluctant to erase them. Why not?
These messages were from an individual who decided that my familia “had” to hear his side of the story about what an awful person I was. Sadly, I had grown accustomed to this person telling me all kinds of demeaning and disgusting things. It’s amazing how easy it is to push those kinds of comments back — partly because you hope that he is kidding, that if you just shut up and take it, that he will get the rage he feels for you out of his system and NOT do the ‘sinfin’ of crazy things to humiliate you with familia, friends, and colleagues. I learned the very hard way that it is almost impossible to control another person’s actions — especially when they have made their mind up to prove their point, however misguided that point may be. As I had to hear the same things over and over, I knew exactly what would be said, how it would be said, when it would be said, and which names would be brought into these episodes. Once this individual would start in on “lo mismo”, I was usually shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and thinking/saying, “…here we go…”
It’s one thing to have to listen to this person go on and on to me alone…it’s quite another to listen to a recording of this individual saying the same things to my family. With every word and sound uttered by this individual, my normal ‘autopilot’ was OFF. I felt as if I were hearing the words for the first time, as if he were tearing my skin off piece by piece with each word. On one call, he would sound normal, intelligent, and composed; on another call, he would sound unglued, angry, on others, completely drunk or loaded. To hear my private business all out there, to hear each and every derogatory name, to hear each reference to my body and person, was almost too much at times, and I kept turning the machine on and off.
How to move forward from this? First, I totally MADE myself listen to each message, there were 37 of them, some as short as 10 seconds, some as long as 15 minutes, and then I cried out of pinche coraje anger, humiliation, embarrassment, and rage. When I stopped crying, I decided that I would indeed erase each message. Each time I pressed ‘erase’, I gave myself ‘shout outs’ telling myself something positive that I had accomplished during the past 5 months, or I would say a goal out loud that I wished to accomplish within the next 5 months, and I would remind myself over and over again that there are good people in this world who don’t live to harm me, that my familia is right beside me, as are my friends and colleagues. By the time I had erased all of the 37 messages, my positive attitude was very much intact, as was my resolve to put 2012 behind me and keep on keeping on. My life remains very much a work in progress. It is never too late to start over!