What does AA’s “principles before personalities” really mean? It means we practice honesty, humility, compassion, tolerance, and patience with everyone, whether we like them or not. Putting principles before personalities teaches us to treat everyone equally.
Just for Today (Revised) – pg. 311
I went and picked up my 1959 Shasta camper from my friend’s barn today. I say mine but I perpetually think of it as “Our” even though there is no “Our” or “Us” and hasn’t been in nearly nine months.
We bought it on Painter’s birthday in 2017 for Us to use. We had plans for it. That was just about a year ago.
Here is the problem I am currently having.
I’m irritated as shit that Painter won’t even have a conversation with me about the things she still has that I brought to the relationship or bought for myself that she won’t return – my power tools, vintage clocks, art, and a few other things.
I’m annoyed as hell about how Painter won’t have a discussion about the things we purchased together that she feels entitled to keep without even a conversation.
It’s heartbreaking after seven years there is no adulting…maybe as my doctor alluded too, there may have never been as much adulting in that relationship as I thought.
Is that all on me?
Anyway, I’m angry at Painter’s selfish entitlement to take whatever she wants.
Not because it is hers but because she is vengeful and is angry with me. She can fuck 50 boys, keep everything, delete our history, deny the truth of our Power together, and never speak to me again but the truth is it might make me jealous and angry but it hurts her far more than me.
As such, when I describe Painter as an entitled little brat this is another example. She is being a bitch…and not the good “empowered” kind.
I’ve tried to take the high ground from the beginning with Painter.
I’ve paid for things when I didn’t have to pay for them, I’ve returned things that are clearly hers I’ve found in the van or in storage. I’ve sent money. Offered to pay for her doctor.
For example, I found unopened mail from Painter’s sister in the van last week. I returned it.
I found an external hard drive holding images of her art in storage a few weeks ago and I returned it.
I did it because it is the best thing to do. I asked for nothing in return. I did not put any love notes in them. I simply said, “I found this. It’s yours. I’m returning it.”
I could have pitched these things and she would never have known but I have to face myself in the mirror. Just because I screwed up in one area is not permission to screw up in every area.
I haven’t crashed Painter at our home or her work. I don’t spread rumors or lies about her. I haven’t tried to force her into a conversation.
A few people may not like my writing but I’ve never lied or forced anyone to read it…and up until Warren and others started their social justice crusade, it was largely anonymous.
I see these actions as taking responsibility and what a person with integrity does. And contrary to the story of my betrayals et al, I do have integrity, principles, and a sense of honor. It doesn’t matter what Painter or anyone else thinks of those actions. Those are part of making direct and indirect amends.
It’s part of adulting.
Which brings me back to the camper.
Painter willingly gave me the camper to take. I asked for the camper because I knew she would sell it immediately. At the time I was thinking we would talk – maybe reconcile – and I wanted to protect the camper that was so important to her from the wrath of her anger and vengeance. She can be impulsive and vindictive.
To my point, about a month after Painter asked me to leave she called Calendar Girl, the woman storing the camper from Us, and tried to get it back.
Apparently, the conversation didn’t go well.
It sounds like Painter was trying to recruit pity and girl power anger from Calendar Girl and get her on Team Painter. Calendar Girl is a no-nonsense woman and a friend, and told Painter she was being a bitch and should grow up. She told Painter to talk to me instead of spreading rumors about me.
At least, that is what I was told by a very pissed off Calendar Girl that wanted me to explain why Painter was calling her and inserting information that didn’t involve her.
As Calendar Girl said to me, “It is none of my business. You didn’t cheat on me.”
She also called Painter a “bitch”.
Painter immediately accused me of recruiting people against her and spreading rumors. She blocked Calendar Girl on all social media…and anyone else that has told her to grow up and talk to me.
I was baffled and angry Painter was including people well outside of Our circle of friends in the drama. I didn’t have a good explanation at the time as to why.
Although, now I do.
However, now I’m left holding a camper probably worth a few grand. A camper we bought for “Us” on her birthday for less than a $1000.
However, she won’t talk to me so I can do whatever I want with it.
The highroad tells me it is still “ours” and whatever I choose to do with it should include her input. Stupid high road.
Now, outside my desire to roll it into a field and set it ablaze or pitch eggs at it, principle above personalities says it is still “Ours”. Taking something that meant so much to both of Us, and selling it out of spite or greed or keeping it, would be petty and selfish.
I’m dead-like to Painter which is why whenever I have tried to reach out to her she freaks out.
After all, dead people tell no lies.
Or maybe she doesn’t freak out. Maybe she just gets pissed. In her entitled silence I have no fucking idea.
Anyhow, as I’ve been reminded over and over, doing the principled thing can also look like narcissism if that is the trouble you want to borrow.
Let me clarify.
The narcissist handbook says that the narcissist will show up at some time with a big gift (usually money or a big ticket item) and try to buy goodwill.
Meaning, if I show up with the camper and return it or because I don’t want it, the Flying Monkey’s will leverage that as an “Ah HA! See he’s trying to maintain control and show what a great guy he is! It’s a trap!”
If I keep the camper to use or sell it then I’m being a selfish narcissistic prick only thinking of myself. And Painter – and the vara – will continue to say, “See, S only thinks of himself!”
Painter and her Flying Monkeys already think I’m a narcissist so it doesn’t matter what I do with the trailer. Everything I do will be twisted by confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. Pain-driven self-serving thinking processes I know entirely too much about.
Several of my friends have said, “To hell with her! It’s yours! You deserve it!” Or some variation…but I don’t deserve it.
I also don’t deserve the silent treatment or the rumor-mongering but if we all got what we deserved there’d be more raises, orgasms, and ice cream.
I’m also not entitled to the camper either but neither is Painter.
It was (is?) Ours.
The bottom line?
No matter what I do with the camper someone is going to twist my actions – without talking to me – as either part of a narcissistic trap or naive romanticism.
However, the only opinions on the matter that matter are mine and Painter’s. And at this point, I think we can all divine Painter’s current opinion.
And yet, knowing all this, I’m faced with the same issue.
So where does that leave me?
It leaves me in the same exact spot: I have a 1959 Shasta Airflyte and no information from Painter. I’m left to guess.
My fallback position has always been principles above personalities – even when I don’t do a great job applying it to my life.
My Doc has consistently reminded me that the heart never lies because it comes from a place of our true selves. We ignore it at our own peril hiding in pussy, alcohol, food, gambling, sports, money, and a thousand other types of self-betrayal.
Avoiding the intimacy my heart demanded in order to fully love Painter is why I lived out of the van for seven months. It is why I ran from her, hiding in the past, instead of towards her and living in the future.
So yes, to answer Brene Brown’s question, you can love someone and betray them too.
Therefore, I’m going to wash the camper, paint it and rewire it over the next few weeks. It needs some tweaks and TLC, but so do I, so this will be good practice.
Once it is ready to go, I have at least seven options:
- Sell it to Painter for a price
- Give it to Painter
- I can sell it and give Painter half the money less any expenses
- I can keep it and buy it from Painter for a price
- I can move to a warmer climate for the winter and live in a campground
- Store it in the garage again until I’m more ready or
- I can roll it into a field, pelt it with eggs, and set it ablaze
At the end of my life I still want to be able to look in the mirror and know that, although I made a mess of many things, I also made the best of others and acted on my values and principles. Some people will have an ill-informed opinion about my motives.
Some people can fuck off.
The camper is “Our” camper. I will act accordingly.
11 thoughts on “129: The 1959 Shasta Airflyte”
When it comes to the dissolution of assets, best leave emotions out of if it. Shame can color the way financial decisions play out for the divorcée. It’s extremely manipulative of C to give you the silent treatment when it comes to the matter of your joint property. I agree with blackacre02631 , give C a time limit with which to reply to your request and if you don’t hear back tell her you will interpret her non-response to mean she does not want the camper.
I wanted to also plug pg. 83 of the Big Book of AA:
“There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don’t worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could. Some people cannot be seen-we send them an honest letter. And there may be a valid reason for postponement in some cases. But we don’t delay if it can be avoided. We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping. As God’s people we stand on our feet; we don’t crawl before anyone.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others that feeling of uselessness in self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest and selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook up on life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us but we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
If you are going to beat yourself up, do it with a feather~
Page 83 is a great page.
Over the months, as the pain has matured, and perspective returned, I’ve slowly, with a lot of help, picked myself up off the ground.
I know what I did. I know who I am. I will not do it again.
Thanks LL for the reminder.
She has spoken volumes without saying a word to you.
On another note though, the trailer, you can sell it, keep the money, or split the money with her. If it was a birthday gift? Drop it off to her and go. Who cares what anyone thinks your reasons are? They are nobody in the grande scheme of things. Or keep it for yourself since she won’t talk to you. It’s a super cool trailer!
You have the right to knock on the door and ask for your stuff back. Especially the clocks. I have a thing for old clocks, go get your clocks back!
She most certainly has hasn’t she. Lol.
That is the kind of conflict I’ve been avoiding and it is what my doc is encouraging me to face.
I don’t care, that’s the point. I’m going to do with the trailer what I think is best regardless of how others see it. Even if it causes conflict.
Sean, this is like trying to be the executor of an estate when the other heirs are unresponsive or aren’t getting enough to give a flying fig. Send her an email or a smoke signal that says “Please let me know by September 1st how you would prefer to handle ownership of the Shasta. If I do not hear from you by then I will assume that you have no interest in it or in its sale or other disposition.”
If you hear from her, great. If not, do what you want with it and don’t pine over it. You tried. You have no obligation to try repeatedly, forever.
Is a smoke signal an option?
That is a really great suggestion. I’ll do that.
More reliable than a carrier pigeon… 😉
See! I didn’t know that was an option either! I guess I could use an arrow with a note on it but that might be construed as “threatening”.
Message in a bottle?
Oh wait, I have that. It’s my WordPress journal…
I sent her a note and gave her until 9/30 to let me know her thoughts.
Good for you. If she replies, terrific. You’ll have a definitive answer. If not… well, on 10/1 you get to sell it, keep it, throw eggs at it, etc and not give it a second thought.
Fire. I’m thinking fire. That is sort of like a smoke signal right?
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