When I was 13 months old, I slipped from the protection of my mother’s eye and crawled out the back door and into the swimming pool in our back yard. Ironically, she happened to be on the phone with a fence company about barricading that area in, and back then phones were attached to the wall. My mother found me floating face down in that 1970’s kidney shaped, turquoise pool. She jumped in fully clothed and pulled me out.
I was blue in color and not breathing. She resuscitated me, took her two other small children to the neighbor, and rushed me to the hospital where I was released that same day.
She saved my life.
I cry for my mother every time I recall that story. Obviously, I don’t remember the incident, I am retelling what she has told me about that day. I can’t imagine how awful that moment must have been for her– it’s almost too much to think about, so I don’t… not that often.
Today I am am feeling particularly raw and vulnerable. Many little things beyond my control have accumulated to the my boiling point. When this happens, I can be impulsive and reckless, especially with the people around me. I feel like I was born with this kind of personality, that’s why I shared the story of me crawling into the pool. I also climbed cupboards, stoves, put things in light sockets, ears, nose, climbed into gutters, ripped and threw report cards into the air.
As I grew into my tween’s I hitchhiked, took my sisters’ clothes, TP’ed houses, left school grounds during lunch, and other various impulsive behaviors. High school was even worse. The things that I put my parents through leaves me full of anguish. One might describe me as a troubled kid. Others might say I was a typical kid. Looking back, I was a little of both.
Being slightly impulsive has been my greatest curse and also my most powerful gift. I’m not sure I even recognized my erratic behavior until recently, but life is peculiar that way, things never stop rising to the surface, you never stop learning. Life is like an old tree, just when you think it can’t get grow anymore, a new branch appears, or perhaps one falls off in a big storm–the one thing a tree is NOT, is staying the same, and that is true with us too.
I can’t beat myself up over my passionate behavior. It has propelled me to achieving many things that I am very proud of. I have run ultra marathons on a whim, I write and maintain this blog, I am raising three small children, I am a do’er. If something needs to get done, I do not think, I get it done. I am hard working and intense. I am not a quitter. I may think about quitting, but I have become accustom to to riding out the painful feelings that come with giving up.
Being impetuous has it’s dark side, though. When you act without thinking, the damage can be heavy and sometimes without repair. I have been in arguments with people and said things I later regretted. I have done many things that have injured me both physically and mentally, but more important and the reason why I’m writing this, is that I may have hurt others with my spontaneous behavior. I have hurt people that I love, and I most likely have hurt some strangers (sorry to the jackass I flipped off the other day in my car. Oh, and to the Dad at the soccer field I went off on, because his kid continuously plays dirty to his own team mates).
Okay, I am sorry to a lot of people. Maybe too many to count. I’m not proud of that, and in fact, it leaves me feeling full of regret and sadness. Sometimes, I can be impulsive, and I want to change. I know first hand that being mean never helps.
Awareness is a very powerful step. Also, running, which is a type of meditation for me. Being outside and quiet, is a really good way for me to tame my inner bear. Writing it out is always healing. I know what I need to do, and as I get older, I also become wiser. My impulsive behavior becomes less frequent, and my rational mind more dominant. The thing is, I don’t want to say goodbye to my bear. I have a love/hate relationship with her. I need my bear in moments like mile 22 in a marathon. I need her, to be able to keep going and take care of my family. You see, a bear is also one of the greatest mothers in the world.
I will never say goodbye forever to that intense energy that I believe I was born with, but learning to tame her is something that weighs heavy on my mind. Some days are better than others – life is a serious of ebbs and flows. I know one thing, though, I have come to love and appreciate my passion and fire. But if left to it’s own accord, it will burn the place down to the ground, as I have so painfully learned from past experience. Obviously, I do not want or love when this happens.
All is not lost. Where there is hope, there is progress. Just as a Firefighter or Bear Trainer must slowly learn his or her difficult craft, we too can learn and grow. Through awareness and action, we can master, or at least have a handle on, that blaze that burns within us. And when we do, not only does it bring personal peace of mind and empowerment, but it brings the same to the ones around us. That’s something that I have a deep desire to do, and you know me… that’s my que for relentless, unstoppable passion.
[bctt tweet= “The Gift And Curse Of Passion #Fitfluential #life”]
How about you? Any fellow bears out there? How about a Lion or a Tiger? Oh my.
Which are you.. Passionate, level headed, or a combo?