Digging the dirt

When you dig be careful where you throw the dirt – WGB

This seems a little sinister after my tale of love and self acceptance but I wanted to explore this. It seems like a little quip – being clever with the metaphor of digging but I can see an extraordinarily valuable lesson here.

I want to share an experience I had years ago where my partner was cheating on me. I became a super sleuth, thinking I was so clever by winkling out every piece of information on who, when, where what! Well I might as well have taken a very large plank of wood and beat myself over the head with it!! For every time I found something I would almost go into shock. It was like a stabbing pain in my heart, the blood would drain from my face and I would get really cold and start shivering. The worst thing that happened was that I forgot basic maths skills. I would add two and two and make five, or two hundred and even a thousand! Seek and ye shall find. I sought, I dug; dug with my bare hands in effect and smeared that dirt all over myself, before I continued digging.

Imagine if we had some milk and it was off. Getting a rancid mouthful is not nice but it’s useful information. We deal with it. Continually testing that sour milk in every coffee, or on cereal or to make smoothies once we know the milk will probably give us a sore stomach, is just madness. We have our information. We dug and we found dirt. Lay the dirt gently aside and process what you have found. Stop digging.

Indulging an awful addiction is the only way I can describe it the sleuthing and was one of the bleakest times of my life. It was not because of the events – yes he was troubled enough to think that chasing other women would help him escape his woes. I don’t judge him for that. The problem was my reaction and the need to keep attacking myself with all the details which clearly hurt deeply. I didn’t see that then. It was like I enjoyed this heightened sensitivity. I was full of rage; self-imposed I now realise. I told myself wild stories about what a monster and a liar he was and that I was undeserving of this treatment. However he wasn’t doing it to me. He was just doing it to himself. In the same way I was just doing this to myself; looking for further proof that I had a right to anger and misery. But we probably all have a right to anger and misery if we relive our past and judge an event as worthy of self pity. Of course I was actually afraid – of my life changing with the split; of being unlovable, alone and broke.

But all good things come to pass. And I say good because ultimately we were fine and good friends and better off apart. What I have learned from this quote is once you have dug and found what you are looking for, process it, and let it go. Don’t take the dirt, roll in it, smear it on your friends with your rants, fling it at everyone who comes near. Step outside and see it objectively or seek help to do this, as if it were happening to someone else, because your own health, mental health and wellbeing are at stake. It is extremely difficult to do but you get the ultimate prize – the strength to deal with crises as they arise, and more importantly the knowledge that you have that strength when you need it.

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3 thoughts on “Digging the dirt

  1. That must have been such a difficult time, Emma. But you’re through it now, and here you are, able to use it well. I enjoyed learning more about you.

  2. Emma,
    I am a lover of metaphors and the one you used about dirt and the other about sour milk was awesome. I loved it.
    I also love the way that you brought us on the journey to your ephiphany (I know I didn’t spell that right!!!!?) realizing that you were addicted to repeating the same actions that brought you such pain. You weaved such a great story, I KNOW the feeling of the blood rushing from my face and feeling so cold from the pain that you shiver!!!! Who hasn’t felt that? But you nailed it! I not only see you as a great writer… but I could see you as a speaker at woman conferences! I think you have a platform worth pricking!

    • Diane, I am so, so touched. I can’t thank you enough. The kind, descriptive words about why you liked what I wrote and the bit about the speaker. I secretly would love to be a speaker! I once spoke off the top of my head at short notice (5 minutes) to over 100 people and it wasn’t scary at all. I got good reviews. The secret was being passionate about what I was talking about. But I was terrified of speaking growing up and my worst experience ever was running for treasurer of the film society at University. I wanted to leave Uni, I embarrassed myself so much! At school I would blush if I even put my hand up. Not sure what changed. I want to take quiet time to read through your book chapters so far. One day I will write my books. I’ve done bits and pieces but you have actually written yours. Congratulations!! I want to be your support group to help you get it published on Amazon if that’s what you want. I will see what I can find out. Another blogger mentioned recently that they finally got their book on there. Maybe we can ask him? I think it was Cristian Mihai. Bye for now and thanks again. xx

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