This weekend at the Blissdom conference I was joking with a friend. Well, actually, that isn’t quite true; I was joking. She was not. She mentioned how much she loved Tim Tebow (yes, I have friends that love Tim Tebow) and I, basically, snorted in derision. She said, “He’s so innocent…” and I replied, “Ha! He’s using Christianity as a marketing ploy!” I think she might have been able to just ignore me if I’d left it there. Instead I said, “He fucks three women a day, four on Sunday!”
Because I’m THAT kind of asshole.
Truth is, I don’t have any really strong feelings about Tim Tebow. What I do have, however, is a bad flare up of cynicism. Most of the time cynicism doesn’t surface in me, and it stays contained; after all, no one likes a REAL cynic (we all love a good cynical joke, but within reason, of course) and I know that I can be obnoxious, and quite often.
But the worst is when I feel unhappy or uncomfortable in my own skin and I pick up my cynicism and wield it as a weapon.
This happened to me on Saturday night. After a lovely conference, I found myself spending much of the night at the last party alone. The people I’d hoped to be able to chat with and spend some time with turned out to have their own plans, and I was left with that horrible feeling of trying to get water out of a dry well, which made me bitter, so I sat in this loud party ignoring everyone and reading blogs on my phone and feeling sorry for myself.
I worked myself up to such a state that even when my dear friend Robin tried to drag me into the party spirit I couldn’t do it, I was too angry and resentful, and I was pissed off at the universe. It was in that place that I slung the Tim Tebow joke at my friend. Worse, I recognized in her face that I’d offended her, and I couldn’t let it go. I kept going.
I fucking hate that.
Intellectually, and in retrospect, I know what was going on. I’d be looking forward to this conference with great enthusiasm because I’d been thinking of it as a break, as a vacation, and as a way to fill my empty spirit back up with the great, positive energies of other women that blog. But the reality, of course, is that work doesn’t stop when you’re at a conference, it just becomes harder to do. So I was still stuck writing two columns a day for MomCrunch while there, as well as doing the work that AboutOne sent me to the conference to do. And while I had many a great conversation with good friends while there, I was expecting too much from those conversations, and everyone else was trying to fill up their spirits too.
And sadly, instead of contributing to filling up their spirits, I just brought my bitterness and expectations. I took, instead of giving – and that, ultimately, is what my heart does when it’s cynical. It demands, it doesn’t receive, and then when nothing if forthcoming it says, smugly, I fucking told you so.
Of course, I see this all now. And just like that conference I attended last summer, I know that this experience will help change the tone for me at the next blogging conference I’ll attend (and yes, there will be plenty more this year). Mostly because I realize that the empty well is ultimately inside of ME. And it’s going to take some work, personally, to fill it back up.
So I’ve started a morning gratitude list, where I’m forcing myself to list ten things I’m grateful for. I’m praying again, and I’m not asking for anything while I pray; I’m thanking instead. I’m spending a few moments in quiet each morning. I’m listening to beautiful music. Yesterday I forced myself to finish working at 6:30pm and enjoyed a quiet evening of television and surfing the web.
It’s going to take a while, but soon my heart will be full again and I’ll have more to offer. I don’t want to be the person I was on Saturday in Nashville. I don’t like that person at all.