Guest Posts

At My Worst.

July 19, 2013

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By Amy Roost.

Jennifer Pastiloff’s work has inspired me to be more authentic in my own writing. Below is my bravest piece of writing yet. It will be published in a local newspaper on Thursday and they have the rights to it for 10 days afterward. I need to tell you a brief story about how it came about:

A young women (a former high school classmate of my son) was killed at 4am last Thursday morning when the car she was a passenger in was t-boned by a fire truck. An open container of alcohol was found in the car and the driver (who survived) was a 44-year old man. If you’re interested in the details, you can access it thru this link: http://www.pomeradonews.com/2013/06/20/one-killed-when-fire-truck-vehicle-collide-in-poway/

What disturbed me was not just the tragic end to a young woman’s life but the comments at the bottom of the article about the accident, essentially blaming the victim and showing great insensitivity toward the girl’s family.

This column was inspired by the reaction of some in our community to her death and it is dedicated to her memory.

 

AT MY WORST By Amy Roost.

At my worst I drove my car when I’d had too much to drink; I called my kids names; I had an affair.

At my worst I let my ailing aunt’s phone call go to voicemail; I yelled at a customer service representative for a company policy she had nothing to do with.

At my worst I drove without insurance; I tattled on my brothers; I brow beat an employee.

At my worst I gossiped about friends; I stole a rabbit’s foot from 7-11; I pretended I’d read a book when I hadn’t.

At my worst I didn’t brush my kids’ teeth for a week; I played hooky from work; I yelled obscenities at my husband.

At my worst I made my children late for school so I could stop at Starbucks for a coffee; I talked during a movie.

At my worst I drove with bald tires; I didn’t send a sympathy card; I got in the “15 Items or Less” line when I had twenty items.

At my worst I failed to pick up after my dog; I had an abortion; I went on vacation instead attending a dear friend’s funeral.

At my worst, I jumped a long line at a freeway exit ramp; I stole money from my dad’s coat pockets.

At my worst, I looked the other way when I saw a mother slap her child in the grocery store; I told a white lie for having missed a friend’s birthday party.

When I meet my maker, I’m sure I’ll have some ‘splainin’ to do. Who knows, I might even be sent back for a “do over” or reincarnated as a tick? However, if she’s been paying attention, my maker will know that, at my best, I was loving, tolerant, understanding and kind.

Marilyn Monroe once told an interviewer “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” The same applies to me. My life is full. Full of mistakes. Full of love. Full of gifts. Full of catastrophe to paraphrase a term coined by the stress-reduction and mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Full catastrophe living does not mean disaster–it means living in acceptance of the whole of life, saying yes to the enormity, the full range, of our life experience. There are major crises in everyone’s life. And, yes, there is death and disaster. But there are also all the good deeds and offerings that, along the way, add up.

There are fires and floods, open containers of alcohol in your child’s car and strained marriages. There are pregnancies that go horribly wrong and also children who won’t clean their room. Refrigerators that leak. Jobs that are menial and bills we can’t pay. There are lovers and there are lonely nights. There are crushed expectations. Melted eyeglasses. Traffic. Toothaches. At our best we respond well to these tests. At our worst, not so well.

Those who know me well, and who know that at my best I have contributed value, would never condemn me based solely on what I did at my worst, nor would I them. They would accept that none of us is perfect, we have all been at our worst and we have all been at our best. As such we are all human and works in progress. Hopefully, we learn from the worst growing in strength and wisdom. Hopefully, we can stop ourselves before condemning another’s worst and instead dance together through this full catastrophe–dancing each other, as Leonard Cohen would say, “to the end of love”.

 

 

 

airport skepticismHer multi-dimensional suchness, Amy Roost, is a freelance writer, book publicist, legal and medical researcher, and vacation rental manager. She and her husband are the authors of “Ritual and the Art of Relationship Maintenance” due to be published later this year in a collection entitled Ritual and Healing: Ordinary and Extraordinary Stories of Transformation (Motivational Press). Amy is also Executive Director of Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach (SAYCO) which offers geriatric yoga teacher certification, and provides yoga instruction to underserved seniors.

 

The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 19th. Book here.

The Manifestation Workshop in Vancouver. Jan 17th. Book here.

 

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above.

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52 Comments

  • Reply Ingrid Cohen July 19, 2013 at 11:51 am

    brilliant.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Humbled Ingrid.

  • Reply Michelle July 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Powerful, powerful words. I hope this has the same effect on those in your community as it had on me.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Thank you Michelle. I hope so too. That’s the only reason I write, i.e. to have a positive effect on others.

  • Reply Mango Girl July 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    this may be a repeat…I have been out of touch: I so needed this today ~ I struggle so much with being human as we don’t come with an operators manual…I am human, I make so many mistakes…why is it we are our worst enemies…

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      I glad this found you when you needed it Mango Girl. I love it when life works that way!

  • Reply Melody July 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Beautiful piece of art! Raw and relatable. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Thank you Melody.

  • Reply Janice July 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    What a brave piece of writing. I am not brave enough to list my “worsts” let alone have them published in the local paper – amazing courage and inspiration.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Try writing them in your journal instead. I’m still learning but finding it is SO liberating to look at my shadow self.

  • Reply Brenda July 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Raw and honest….and I am sure I wasn’t the only one who squirmed a bit when it touched to close to home! Thank you

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Haha Brenda. It made me squirm submitting it for publication! But I can’t tell you how great it feels to know that others took something positive from this piece. I was expecting so many snarky and judgmental comments when it was originally in a local community newspaper with a very conservative readership, but that never materialized.

  • Reply Zeynep July 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you! This is such a beautiful and inspiring piece. None of us are our best selves or our worst selves all the time – we are all a struggling, surviving, splendid combination of them. I loved your bravery, your sensitivity, your humanity at your worst and your best.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Thank you Zeynep.I hope it inspires those who read it to be brave enough to be authentic and love themselves for all that they are and their lives encompass.

  • Reply laugia78 July 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    honest, truthful, beautiful…thank you

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Thank YOU Laugia78.

  • Reply laugia78 July 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Brilliant, truthful, honest, thank you

  • Reply Anita Webster July 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for exposing your brokenness with such clarity and honesty. I believe the key is to leave our worst with nowhere to land. As in flow, breathe and keep moving toward the light, the dark will diminish minisculely (did I make that up?) each day!!

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      haha, “minisculely”, I’m going to have to use that 😉
      “the key is to leave our worst with nowhere to land.” Love that!

  • Reply couleewind July 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Beautiful, brave and inspiring! Thank-you for your sharing, your honesty and your realness.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you Couleewind 🙂

  • Reply Stephanie July 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Authentic, Real…the healthiest ‘Raw’ meal you can eat! Thank you!

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you Stephanie. If only I could eat as healthy as I write 😉

  • Reply Michele July 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you. I am grateful & affirmed by your openhearted honesty.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Grateful and affirmed by your comment, Michele.

  • Reply mandy main July 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    love! thank you so much for sharing this.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Thank you Mandy 🙂

  • Reply marika July 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    how could you go wrong ending on Leonard Cohen? brilliant, Amy, I love this! Thank you so much for reminding us of our own humanity and how to remember that we all share different configurations of the same stories…

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      In that case, I think I’ll end all my writing with Leonard Cohen! What a rich vein to tap, right?

      Jen’s Mom’s comment (below) reminded me of another LC quote that applies to our imperfectness: “Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in.”
      Mmmm, think I’m going to go put some Leonard Cohen on the ol Victrola!

  • Reply Linda July 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    What a beautiful piece!! And i did indeed flinch as some of your words (more than I would like to admit!) hit home!! I especially like that you teach yoga for us senior citizens, whose achy bones need some good movement!!

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      I flinched when I submitted it Linda. But finding your limit in the pose of life is good thing, right?

  • Reply MsChief July 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Thank U a very powerful read.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you MsChief 🙂

  • Reply naturegirltara July 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Thank you for saying what needs to be heard. I like the way you think !

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      I like the way you think too, naturegirltara 😉

  • Reply barbarapotter July 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Wow Amy I love this. Brought tears to my eyes. Got so deeply inside of me and rang so many bells. I could never have put this into words. Thank yu (Jen’s mom)

    • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Jen’s Mom! Thanks so much! Hope they were good, cleansing tears!? Happy to ring your bells as long as I don’t push your buttons 😉 You have an AMAZING daughter. But I’m sure you knew that!!

  • Reply Michelle July 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Wow. And true. I often think, “there by the grace of “goddess” go I”… sometimes the only reason I’m not in that position is luck. And it’s a chance to rethink myself and do better. I had something happen recently that I was kicking myself about. And I did it for a few days and then when I would start to berate myself I would say to myself, “Don’t be guilty, be better.” If we can’t learn from our mistakes.. what do we have?

  • Reply Amy Roost July 20, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    “Don’t be guilty, be better.” My new motto. Thanks Michelle!

  • Reply Gayle July 20, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I have read this three times now. Each time, I’ve deemed it more beautiful than the time before. And, as I’ve scrolled down and seen your photo each time, I’ve taken a moment to appreciate how beautiful you are. Putting yourself out there like this takes an act of courage. Putting your face with it…a tremendous act of courage. Thank you. I am vowing to live my life more authentically.

    • Reply Amy Roost July 22, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Thank you for your kind words Gayle. It’s so very liberating to tell the truth. To say and be who you are rather than who you want to appear to be. Whatever courage it required, it certainly pays high dividends! I just hope my face doesn’t show up on an “WANTED” posters!

  • Reply Tamara (tammie) July 21, 2013 at 7:26 am

    We are human and as you said, we aren’t perfect, we claim spirit spirital progress, not perfection. We should live life on life’s terms. I am truly sorry for you loss. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • Reply Stacy July 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Thank you.This is the latest of many reminders lately that I’ve received while I’ve been harsh on myself for mistakes I’ve made.

    My oldest son is not talking to me, and I’m struggling to walk in faith, and I keep coming back to karma. I’ve cut ties with people before, to keep my sanity, to not hurt in encounters, and this–this feels like punishment. For that, and for not being a better mother.

    I know it is not, when I can step back long enough to reason.
    There is grace enough, but I am much quicker to see it for others than for myself.

    Your post eased me. Thank you.

  • Reply Amy Roost July 22, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Hi Stacy, I’m glad my writing could be there when you needed it. That it eased your struggle somehow is the nicest thing you could say. Stay strong. Remember that kids generally don’t talk to us for reasons having very little to do with us and more to do with the individuation process. Give yourself a hug from me.

    • Reply Stacy July 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Thank you for the hug!
      And you’re right–it’s his process, not mine.

  • Reply Kelly July 22, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Amy,
    I think I could have written this…every one of your worsts are also on my list, I believe. Thank you for your honest and beautiful writing.

  • Reply Rachel August 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I can not tell you how much I appreciate’d reading this. My mother never gave me the power of healing myself, in fact quite the opposite. It’s refreshing to hear that other people out there struggle and have done bad things. Doing bad things does not mean you are a bad person, something I have learned in my older years. Thank you again!

  • Reply Teeanna January 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    This was powerful, truthful and healing. I felt as if I was reading about myself and you wrote al about my struggles and feelings of not being the cookie cutter mother and wife. I wish I had your wisdom. I have been nailed to a cross for so long now and my suffering is on going. Thank you for letting me know I am not a complete failure I will be able to find the peace in small ways.
    Thank you Amy

    • Reply multidimensionalsuchness January 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Teanna, Thank you. And here’s a little secret, just between you and me: there are very few cookie cutter mothers and wives (thank God, right? Can you imagine??). Just a bunch of posers living by some made up societal construct…and miserable because they don’t allow themselves any imperfections. So forgive yourself, completely. xoxo

  • Reply Heather Carroll January 26, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Absolutely inspiring. Raw truth is so rare. Thank you.

  • Reply Lynnmarie November 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I have only just read this today and I don’t know when I have ever felt more touched by a piece…you truly opened a window for me. Thank you.

  • Reply Lacey December 1, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I love this article more than I can say. It comes at a time when I am healing and growing. It was much needed. Namaste

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