Watching a Netflix series on TV last night gave me a sudden realisation of how I have acted in the past. A reflection of a man who had driven others insane with their behaviour.
Ricky Gervais wrote and directed a series called After Life. For me, a stunning depiction of how somebody can transform into something they’re not, and how they can push away the people they love them the most, without even realising it.
The character portrayed by RG resonated so much with me. A ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude and not really caring what anyone else thought, as they didn’t understand what I was going through. A narrow-minded attitude coupled with feeling that I was always right in my assessments of the world, and the people in it. Drinking to excess and at times worryingly so, as I would have no problem in having four cans of Stella Artois with a bottle of wine chaser. Then the passive-aggressive nature with AJ who was at the frontline of my attacks, as she dared to question my attitude and approach to a life that was close to slipping away.
Speaking to people with no thought of how they would feel was a ritual that I followed to the letter. Nobody was immune to the hard-line stance but it was making me worse. I was thinking that everybody hated me and that I had become a burden on their lives. I guess the turning point was SJ’s birthday. Being away from them is hard enough but arguing with AJ when we were supposed to be going out for dinner to celebrate was bad, but refusing to go with them was worse.
And what for? To take the moral high ground and upsetting everyone during the course of my ‘antics’? They went out and I stayed at home and decided to send a message to SJ which he ignored – I don’t blame him either!
When I look back at this, I am left with the feeling that every subject that was tackled in After Life, was a reality for me. Although the topic was different, the actions were very similar. So similar that on watching the series back to back (yes, it was that good), we fell silent watching the whole lot. I think that this was a realisation from myself and AJ that we were watching ‘another me’. Being so engrossed in something is both unusual but, frankly, welcomed. There are times that when we watch tv together, there is the undeniable clattering of jaws making it sometimes unbearable to watch anything!
The aftermath of watching the programme was one of acceptance. An acceptance that I have behaved in such a way that God would find it difficult to forgive me, let alone AJ. An acceptance that even though I behaved horribly during the last two or so years, I have only realised very recently that everyone, especially AJ, was trying to help me. Help me get through the difficult times with understanding, love and commitment. A devotion to finding the good man that was hiding in the body in which he was possessed.
For this, I owe her so much. We have sat and discussed the things in our lives that we want to achieve, obtain and overcome. This is something that I have hidden away from for so long, to the point she was ready to walk away from this tiresome man who had become the millstone around her neck. That’s what I was. A drain on her resources, squeezing every last drop of self-esteem they had to manipulate and hurt her. I never realised that I was that sort of person and to be honest, I really don’t like myself for this very reason. If the shoe was on the other foot, I am not sure that I would have the same resolve as she has had. She is phenomenal.
So what now? We sat yesterday and discussed where we needed to improve. A no-nonsense approach to lifting the lid on our fractured relationship but it needed to happen. Although broken, we love each other and we will work together to repairing the damage done. It will mean that we are working now to improve every aspect of life and what it means to both of us. Being honest enough to accept when you’re wrong, and the need to understand that everybody who matters, wants you to be OK, no matter what it takes. But also, the compromise you make when in a relationship and how not to be so self-absorbed. Accept help when it is offered as it is a sign of compassion for you. I find it difficult to take compliments but I would like to learn how to if I can, and also give them.
I guess going forward, the vision is to plan but not look forward or backwards. I cannot remember where I saw this but the quote was something like this:
‘There are two days that never matter in your life – yesterday and tomorrow – one is a past that cannot be changed, the other is the future that we don’t know. The only day that matters is today’
So, focus on what the day brings. The problems that may be faced and overcome but using each other as a helper and guide during choppy times. My feeling is that I have never opened up to anyone – a similar position to others, I’m sure. Nonetheless, if I want to be the best version of myself for others, I must be the best version for me too. It starts from within.
The last few days have been swallowed up with understanding where we need to focus which is in these key areas:
- Diet and Exercise
The acceptance that we are not out of the woods yet is good and gives us a platform to work from. Everybody has difficulties and the sooner we realise this, the better, so we don’t isolate ourselves thinking we want to be like the couple across the road or next door (as they seem to have the perfect life compared to us).
But they are not unachievable goals to reach. Setting our areas of focus is good and not having a mountain of improvements we need to look at, is a must. One of the solutions to finding the time to create a list of 101 things you would like in your life. Wanting things is easy, writing them down maybe slightly more difficult as it takes time – but do it! It could raise a few eyebrows but also a laugh as well because there were things on the list that AJ seemed hell-bent on questioning why I wanted to do some of the things I do want to do – for example, swimming with sharks in South Africa!
I am writing a post soon on the things I would like to do from a personal perspective and how I want the rest of my life to pan out (as much as I can, of course!) but for now, take the steps needed to communicate, and make it fun!
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