It wasn’t until I was working at AWAIC (Abused Women’s Aide in Crisis) that I got it! I finally saw what it means to be honest, 100% honest with myself. I saw myself for the first time from a third person perspective, as my boss saw me (bless her heart!) like a mouse in my pocket. I was working, impressing everyone around (as far as I could see), it wasn’t until my boss, Jeanne, called me on it, that I saw it for what it was! I wonder how many other people in my life saw it, but didn’t have the nerve to tell me what they were seeing!
I was good at what I did. I knew the material, I had the attention of the crowd. I educated the boys in the Juvenile Detention Center about the devastating effects of domestic violence. I talked about the cause, the pain that both the victims and perpetuators were feeling, and set goals for the boys.
My goal was to help them get out of the cycle of abusive behavior and heal from the abuse they’d experienced. I knew full well that most of these boys were abused and abusive.
Jeanne called me to her office after the class, to debrief. She asked me how I felt about the class. Of course I told her I thought it went well. The boys continued to pay attention, right until the end. I was sure they must have gotten information at least in their ears, it would take many more times (if ever) until it became a part of their lives.
Then the blast hit. Jeanne said, “It looked to me like you were flirting with the boys.” I couldn’t believe it! I wouldn’t do that! I was 25 years old! These boys were still in high school! I was a happily married woman, with 3 children! I would never even think about such a thing!
That is the truth! I would never have consciously thought of such a thing! As we talked about it, I couldn’t deny it! The way I commanded a crowd of hormonal boys was to keep their attention through my mannerisms, my jokes, my smiles and an occasional wink. As I felt the discomfort washing over me, sitting in the office with my boss, I was so embarrassed!
I felt so guilty! I couldn’t help it, I started to cry! (Later, I learned that is another coping strategy). I had been so proud of myself, teaching these boys things that I was sure they had never heard before, (another thing that I learned, they knew too much and how to hide it!)
This consciousness, this awareness of what I’m doing, being able to be honest with myself, has allowed me to live in peace and happiness! I am continually growing, mastering my observing skills! I am honestly learning, as Katie Freiling said, it’s all about ‘Witnessing Consciousness’. This is reality! Yes!