Please Stop Doing These Four Things

stop doing these four things erika napoletano redhead writing“Religion is being afraid of going to Hell. Spirituality is having been to Hell, and not wanting to go back.” (quote from a friend’s Facebook wall)

I suck at “passive.” Completely. I’m a doer and live four inches from the flame day in, day out. When faced with a situation that not only knocks you on your ass but changes the way you think – and in an instant – we get a very unwelcomed reminder of our human limits.

Sometimes we simply have to wait and find patience. I’m relatively sure that my patience is somewhere in the basement, packed in some box with kitchenware and knick knacks and the random spider carcass. And even if I went down there and dug around for it, I have no idea what I’d do if I found it. Patience and I haven’t gotten along for quite some time (and frankly, it escapes me why I haven’t eBay’d the fucker already).

The people in our lives are the most precious asset we have. Friends, family, strangers in line…I learn my best lessons from them. And I know why: because they think differently than we do. They can rattle our cages with a facial expression or words and we’re left reeling because…well, because they did. We got surprised. And all on account of the fact that we allowed ourselves to see the world differently, if only for a moment.

This past weekend turned out to be one huge “moment.” A (mis)adventure in dawning recognition that I actually care how something turns out. The realization that I care. Along with the realization that I can’t. Do. Anything. I can’t wave a wand and don’t believe in prayer. I can’t Google the answer. I just have to wait. And I don’t care for it one bit.

Laying in bed last night, I made this list of four things I need to stop doing. Life can change in an instant, and I don’t need any of this useless bullshit on my plate. Maybe your plate will be better off without these things, too:

Don’t – We have no problem creating a laundry list of reasons to NOT do something and we’ll happily add to the list every hour of every day. It’s exhausting, and we could decide to take the jump into DO in an instant.

Shhh – Somewhere along the way, we were told that saying what we feel is uncool. I write when I can’t speak and would probably lose my mind if I didn’t have that outlet. I’d rather live knowing that, when life turns on a dime again, I’ve said everything in my heart to the people who need to hear it.

Yap – When I’m nervous, silence is terrifying. So I fill the gaps with noise. My noise. And sometimes, just being right where you are, saying nothing at all, is enough.

Meh – Movies, books and stories are filled with guys, gals, words and actions that we’re all to willing to say, “If only that could happen to me!” When you sit next to someone who’s given you every ounce of that in spades, stop looking over the fence, around the corner and under the rug. It’s right there, you idiot.

I’m still waiting. Impatiently. But I have a list of things to stop doing until I can actually do something.

26 comments
Cynthia
Cynthia

Glad to hear I'm not the only one that got the short end of the patience stick. I've said for quite a while now that that is one virtue I simply just do not possess. And my "yapping" gets very irritating to the people that can sit in silence, I'm sure! I know I have a hard time with that, as well. You inspire me, Erika. I used to be passive, and now I'm stuck somewhere in the middle of that and something like you. My voice grows stronger every day! And reading your "rants" is definitely helping me find my...grrr. Thanks, woman!

Cherry Woodburn
Cherry Woodburn

I forget what novel this comes from but it talked about Green Blanket days - those days when we just allow ourselves to do nothing or to feel sucky. Hope you will allow yourself to throw a green blanket over yourself and wait or cry or whatever. Take care Reds, Cherry

erinlynn76
erinlynn76

The "Shhh" part---took the words right out of my mouth. If I can't write, I'll die. That much is certain. And the Yap? Yep yep yep. I loathe lingering silences. But there are a few friends where silence is comfortable...and that is the best. evah.

Antonia Harler
Antonia Harler

My biggest thing is "if only.." or even "what if.." - accepting the past for what it is, is hard for me. If only I had done/said something differently. Oh and yes.. filling the silence with needless babble is a big one. When I get nervous I talk. If there's too much silence I talk. If it's an awkward situation, I talk. God damn, I really should stop talking sometimes and just listen. But I remember too many things which makes my mind go crazy so talking is easier. I think the things you listed are pretty great. All of which should be on my list as well. PS: Keep your head up, beautiful redhead. I send you ponies, dolphins and butterflies. And maybe puppies, if you want them.

Sarah
Sarah

Erika, you're much more patient than me, girl! I can't stand a don't list (list meaning things waiting for me to do, or worse, work on stop doing). So give me the other side of the coin: I'm going to do this, and it starts NOW.

Shelly
Shelly

I just jumped into a 'do'... It's still early too - maybe I'll do another! I need to think about the Meh... LOL and I love (and hate) when I have to catch up on my blog reading! On one hand, I get great posts all at once - bam bam bam... or in your case slap, slap slap... but on the other hand, I feel like a stalker! LOL just kidding #mostly

Amy Nievera
Amy Nievera

I don't have much to add to your message but wanted to say I love the sentence with "random spider carcass." Brilliant.

Andrew J. Gay
Andrew J. Gay

You know Erika, Patience is a virtue, only when exercised appropriately Silence can be deafening Dreams are meant to be chased The best things in life are the most elusive And everything you need is usually right under your nose Hope that helps.

Chris Ledbetter
Chris Ledbetter

Truly motivational Erika! You're spot on. I totally need to get that useless bullshit off my plate. I especially need to get more "DO" on my plate!

FischWorks
FischWorks

Great catharsis Erika, thanks again for sharing your lucidity!

Steve Hall
Steve Hall

Sounds like there was a really positive breakthrough in all of this, Erika.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Not what I was talking about today, but you're absolutely right. I was more in the vein of not censoring yourself on account of being seen as vulnerable or sappy. Screw that noise.

Killian
Killian

I think my 5th thing would be "What if?" Altogether too often, I think about how cool it would be if...and then the doubt creeps in. "But what if..." you fail? Someone thinks you're stupid? You can't make it happen? You're my muthafuckin hero, Erika; especially on a Monday morning when I crawled into my despicable office job.

Jim Raffel
Jim Raffel

Erika, I keep coming back to your writing and I think I understand why. You are snarky as all get up and that's cool....to a point and when well done. The vast majority of your snark is directed at yourself. You seldom (if ever) tease or attack another directly with your snark (well there was that dumb ass columnist who knows nothing about treating women like ladies but he deserved it). You use naughty words, well and appropriately. You point out your own failings in hopes of helping others. You seem (to my untrained eye) to always take the high road when there's a choice. I know this comment is a tad off topic and probably has more to do with what I'm dealing with now than your post. Oh, when you find your patience please ask if it's seen mine ;) -Jim

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