“Hey, let’s print out the first blog and take it to therapy. Good idea. Hurry, we don’t have much time. Ok. How do you print from the WordPress site? Hmm. I don’t see a print button. I need a manual or really should spend some time reading through this website. (Scanning quickly across toolbars, nothing.) This is taking too long. How about a quick cut and paste into a word doc and you can print it from there. Smart. Great call. Cut, paste, done. Print…whoa, whoa. WHOA! Wait a minute.”
“What the $#(*&$?! Where did all of these red underline spell check squiggles come from?? They were not showing on the wordpress site. What is going on here? There must be something wrong. Yes, there is! Of course, I didn’t spell some words correctly because I am a shitty speller and the wordpress spell check didn’t catch them. Why is the Microsoft Word spell check better than the wordpress spell check? Oh no. (Panic sets in). I’ve already uploaded this post to my site. Everyone is going to see that I misspelled judgement like a million times. I thought it had an “e”. Judge-ment? Microsoft word is saying there is no “e”. Judgment? That doesn’t look right but spell check knows best and I must be wrong. Shit. I need to fix it on the site RIGHT NOW!” (Anxiety kicks into gear)
Take a deep breath
“No. Now, everyone is going think I am not very smart. And I’m not smart because I didn’t get a college degree and I was told once that I would never be successful without a college degree so now I’m going to fail and everyone is going to know I’m not good enough.
“Man, I’m so mad. I trusted this wordpress site not to let me down. When I misspelled other words, it caught them but it didn’t catch this word which means that it’s not going to protect me from looking bad. Ok. Need a plan. Think. Hurry. THINK FASTER! Got it. What I can do is either type it in wordpress, then cut and paste for a triple check in MS Word or just write in Word in the first and then cut and paste it back into word press. This should ensure that I’m covered before I publish anything at the moment. Let me go back and edit this quickly, print a fresh copy and hopefully no one read anything in the last hour to notice.” Ok. There it’s fixed.”
“Remember, you can never really trust anyone or anything to protect you. If you were good, you would know how to spell this word or at least know that you spelled it wrong so you could have looked it up. Now, you need to be very careful and cautious about your writing. This should be a lesson. You are safe for the moment, but this can and will happen again when you least expect it so please, please be on the lookout. You don’t want to make us look bad, right? Right. Ok. Let’s go.”
Rough. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to have to introduce you to a cousin of Mr. E., Hypervigilance or HyperV for short. (Oh no, the red squiggly underline has just appeared! WARNING! WARNING! DANGER! DANGER!) Hypervigilance is an elevated symptom or response that keeps people on alert for any potential threat that could induce harm to them mentally or physically. In its diligence for protection, it constantly scans the environment and is on guard for anything that might attack. HyperV’s Dad is PTSD. And I’ve got to tell you, this isn’t the nice side of the family.
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which is an anxiety that occurs after exposure to any traumatic event. I recently heard a great explanation of trauma described as any emotional event that is too much for one’s emotional system to absorb or process. PTSD sometimes gets its roots way back in early childhood but can develop at any time in someone’s life, especially when subjected to extreme violence, like war, etc. Sometimes people may know exactly what occurred when it started and some others may not be able to consciously identify it because it is buried so deep within. It waits to potentially get triggered through anything that the Ego decides is fearful, especially when the pattern matches the essence of the intense feeling around these wounds.
I have come to believe that almost everyone has had some unpleasant things happen in their childhood. And it doesn’t have to be extreme like the obvious physical or mental abuse that is common for many, it can be loneliness, neglect or an unsafe environment that caused a lot of stress for that certain individual that was just too much for that person to handle. It has been said by many professionals that we are all suffering from some form of PTSD from our childhood.
For me, as a child, I think at last count my Mom and I could recall was we lived in 7 different places within the first 7 years of my life. Looking back for my system, this felt very unstable. My parents were together, then separated, back together, then divorced all before I can even remember. My Mom struggled as a single parent of 2 young girls and did her best. My sister and I were often separated to divide and conquer the child care responsibilities and found myself alone in several places that turned out to not to be healthy for a little girl. HyperV has a history of lurking around the doorways in my life which sometimes manifests as keeping my guard up just in case, scanning…..waiting…..for something bad to happen. And when he’s not around and my guard is down, I can feel vulnerable, then WHAMMO!! In the moment, once the anxiety kicks in, everything starts to go south. Past emotional triggers can take over and override the rational reality of the situation.
Think about it like this.. One day, my calm, cool, rational, sane self was minding its own business, driving down the highway and all of a sudden something splattered across my windshield. Whoa! Yuck! What IS that? It looks like some big ass bird pooped right in the middle of my window! With a quick non-thinking reflex, I decide to turn on the windshield wipers without the fluid by mistake which gives it a nice big smear. Excellent. Then I remember to push in the fluid button which gives me a couple of squirts which seems to make it worse before it gets better. But slowly, the messy nasty residue of this lovely bird’s last meal is clear enough to see the road again so I blast my 18 wheeler horn twice and keep on truckin’. (Insert Smokey and the Bandit theme song here) Can you imagine having your windshield wipers on all of the time, just in case it rains or something might happen to fall out of the sky? Sounds crazy, right?
Now, since this little conversation happened in my head a day or two ago, I can go back and look at it without the emotional charge. I have studied this family line of bullies so I know them well. Sometimes they can light me up like a Christmas tree in an instant but through hard work, I have learned to be pretty diligent about spotting them when they appear within a reasonable amount of time so I don’t get too squirrelly. I mean, come on. We all know there is no danger here and certainly no need to bring out the HV/PTSD brigade. For a misspelled word, really? And so now based on that, the bottom line is I’m worthless? Wow. Dramatic. But that is the bottom line essence of how the Ego views it. Mr. E is not rational, loves drama and will always send out the troops for investigation to see what he can dig up. Because for Mr. E, its not the typo, it is the layers that lead to unworthiness. I know no one likely cares about my typos but me, myself and I.
So, check this out. Literally as I finished typing the inner voice part above, I started to tear up. Because again, it’s really not about the actual typos per se, it’s about the tone of how those voices inside sound and there is enough history and energy there that when they strike, it stings and I feel it. But this time, I choose to take a deep breath and relax instead of letting it get me all railed up again. Back, back you savage beasts. Woo-Hoo! Progress.
What you my dear reader can’t see when you read this on your screen are the spell check lines. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love them when they help me but hate them when they let me down. And now, that they have burned me, they make me a little anxious. So ironically, immediately after I typed up that episode , I then introduced the word “hypervigilance” which appeared with a red squiggly underline it. Like it was taunting me….Na-Na-Na-Na-Na, you can’t spell me. Then,when I right clicked to check for spelling options, nothing showed up with any suggestions for a different spelling in the damn wordpress dictionary! It felt like a slap in the face. Figures!! Just when I needed spell check most, it left me hanging. Hurt and angry, I decided to mentally gave wordpress a little “bird” of my own courtesy of my middle finger. But, then I told myself, calm down.
Take a breath. Let it go.
Ok. I’ll just keep typing and come back to figure it out later.
A soft voice enters my mind:
Check Google for Judgement
Hmm. That’s strange. I’m getting the feeling I need to check something. Holy guacamole!! WOW!! This is amazing. I just put the word judgement in the Google search box and you are never going to believe what it says…
Judgment (or judgement) is the evaluation of evidence in the making of a decision. The term has three distinct uses: Informal – Opinions expressed as facts.
And here’s another one:
In Great Britain and many of its former colonies, “judgement” is still the correct spelling, but ever since Noah Webster decreed the first E superfluous, Americans have omitted it.
WHAT!!! You can spell it either way and both are right??? I must have been channeling a past life as a writer in England that day! HA! 🙂 Blame it on wordpress? Shoot, blame it on the Webster and the whole American society while we are at it!
Incredible, isn’t it? Here , I had been kicking myself around for something that wasn’t even technically wrong in the first place. And you know what is even more fascinating on top of it all? Look at the WORD!! I didn’t get hung up on a word like potato (or is it potatoe?). But I was using the word “judgement” which is exactly one of many articles of clothing the Ego likes to put on to make us feel bad. Welcome to the Blame Game! No cash or fabulous prizes. Just shame as the parting gift. When I slow down, I know I don’t need to blame anyone, or anything and that certainly includes myself. This is truly a divine lesson if I’ve ever seen one.
Thank you to the universe for the guidance to use spell check with a neutral party and never getting tired of showing me again and again that there are moments when we can choose our thoughts and actions. I could have probably heard that loving voice at the time of the incident a couple days ago but I didn’t slow down. I had the pedal to the metal. We all have the ability to choose the thoughts that direct us to live in the light or the darkness. And today, I’m going to pick the light. Plus, they say it’s good luck when a bird poops on your head anyway. I think the same rule applies to windshields too. 🙂
See you tomorrow!