From my previous blog post on Day 20, I shared a couple of truths about my personality that I have been battling. 1) Expressing my negative emotions. 2) Always focusing on the possibility of greatness instead of fully experiencing a current negative experience.
After finishing Heidi Priebe’s book, I came to the realization that I have an emotional experience that I have never really fully processed.
Catching Up with My Reality
When I always keep things positive or create inauthentic happiness, my negative emotions will end up haunting me later.
Last February in San Salvador at 11pm, I woke up in a dizzying blur of confusion. I have fallen asleep in my ex’s car. The reason why I’m awake is because a man is shaking the vehicle. I’m disoriented. I’m in a foreign country, and the last thing I remember is my ex parked the car to get one drink with a local El Salvadorean we just met. I check my watch and two hours have passed. It’s been way too long for just one drink, and panic creeps in.
I contemplate what is safer: just staying in the car or going outside to find my ex. My Spanish is very limited. I’m in El Salvador, and I don’t know anyone. I figured I better find out if the two guys were okay. I start walking through the crowded streets and randomly popping my head into every bar on the block. The locals are trying to talk to me, and I just keep ignoring the catcalling. I am so out of it because we have been at the beach the entire day drinking and exploring. I’m exhausted and confused.
I start to get really frustrated, and I wonder how the hell am I gonna catch up. My limited amount of Spanish classes. My limited awareness of where I am. And, this sudden feeling of helplessness. It becomes just another awkward and humbling experience for me. Why couldn’t I keep it together?
I finally find the two guys . They are just knocking back drinks and having a grand old time when I appear sobbing and a complete hysterical mess. I’m angry, upset, and exhausted. They immediately close their tabs and my ex and I head back to the vehicle. The gaslighting begins. At the time, I didn’t even know what gaslighting was. My ex told me that I handled the situation poorly. And, it was my fault for not joining them, and I was a burden because I didn’t know enough Spanish. I’m the one who is in the wrong. It’s my fault that I am upset about all of this. I start to believe him. I focus on taking the blame and I start to question that maybe I could have handled this differently.
Overlooking a Huge Red Flag
One year later (the tears are welling up in my eyes again), I’m just realizing how this situation should have been my red flag. This was the Universe trying to send me a message (GTFO ASAP). I blamed myself. Somehow this was my fault because I’m the weakest link in this scenario. I’m the one who didn’t speak Spanish. I’m the one having to rely on other people to get by in a foreign country.
The reality was too painful to realize. I should have faced the honest truth in that moment. My partner for seven years was being an awful human being. I have every right to be angry, upset, and hurt. Being left in a car in a foreign country to go drinking in a bar is not acceptable. Taking the blame for other people’s poor behavior can lead to other dark paths.
The Dark Side of Being Positive
How did I did I let this horrible experience go unnoticed? It’s because of my propensity to overlook negativity. I want to believe the best in people and the best in my relationships. I didn’t stand up for myself, and this makes me so angry and disappointed. I really believed I was doing my best in this scenario.
I’m 100% responsible for dealing with my pain and suffering, and I need to be more aware of the discomfort and ugly truths in my life. Relentless optimism can be a blessing and a curse. Honestly, I need to start giving myself permission to be more vulnerable and honest about traumas and disappointments in my life. Life isn’t perfect, and if I am unable to accept that, I will miss out on these crucial life lessons.