Two weeks ago. A Tuesday.
Just after 4 p.m.
I’m stopped at a red light behind an old, red truck. I’m zoning out, not fully present. I scan the back of the truck in front of me as I hum along to whatever was playing on Spotify.
And then out of nowhere (like, literally out of nowhere) I do something I’ve never done before.
Without warning, I suddenly feel myself scowling and look down at my hand, which happens to be (get this…)
FLIPPING OFF THE TRUCK IN FRONT OF ME.
I remember thinking, “What am I doing??
Am I angry or something?
And why am I flipping this truck off?
The truck didn’t do anything and the person driving it certainly can’t see me so…
WHAT AM I DOING?????????????
I was confused.
I scanned the back of the truck again, wondering if I’d seen something that upset me.
I noticed a license plate frame that read “Sigma Chi” as well as some Rainbow Love + Peace bumper sticker, but that was it.
The stoplight turned green and I drove forward slowly, still confused.
What had just come over me??
I don’t really get angry at people or strangers or drivers and I certainly wasn’t feeling angry right then – so what in the world came over me that had me flip off a complete stranger?
Why in the world did I……OHHHHHHH.
And then I got it.
Moments later, it all came flooding back to me.
When I was a sophomore in undergrad up in Washington, the local Sigma Chi fraternity held a party at the house I rented along with 6 other students. They trashed the house, the cops came, and I was the one who got in trouble with the law as my name was on the lease. I didn’t drink, I didn’t party, I didn’t want the party, but I couldn’t stop the party as I got overridden by my housemates. And when things went south, I was the one who ended up going to court and paying the penalties.
I suddenly remembered the frat’s indifference to helping clean the house or helping me with the fines, and the anger and powerlessness I felt as 18 year old Me hit me like a tidal wave.
What’s most crazy?
I hadn’t thought about this incident in over 2 decades, and I had NO CONSCIOUS AWARENESS of it when I suddenly flipped off the truck. (I literally did so without feeling so much as a smidgen of anger).
Our subconscious minds store memories and old traumas that have more power over the steering wheels of our lives than most of us feel comfortable giving credit to.
It’s scary for us to think we might ever do things outside of our conscious control.
This is why one of my favorite activities is to search for the patterns, thoughts, beliefs, and memories that hide outside of my conscious awareness. I love it. It’s fun for me. Not work. Just fun. I’m like my own puzzle I get to keep exploring.
I’m also fortunate enough to have access to a variety of tools and techniques and people that allow for this to happen, ranging from ketamine therapy to monthly gatherings with friends who explore what’s behind the curtains of our minds to a dear friend who’s a badass at hypnosis.
I’ve learned so much about myself over the past years and I have so much more to learn as well.
In the meantime, I’ll simply honor that my mind is holding on to things I can’t consciously remember and may at times have me take actions that don’t always, immediately make perfect sense to me.
I’m on an ongoing, life-long journey of discovery, incremental (and exponential) improvements, inner growth, and exploration.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.
And, I’m really, really sorry if I flip you off along the way.
I probably won’t actually mean it; it’s probably not you, it’s probably just me.*
I just don’t know what comes over me sometimes.*
*Except when I figure out it’s something originating from the 95% of my mind that’s outside of my conscious awareness.
When you're sick and tired of getting in your own way, and you know you're capable of SO much more, it's time to talk to us.