As a child, we’re taught that we should own up to things we’ve done wrong – that we must take responsibility for our actions and accept the consequences that come with them.  Well, most of us are taught that way, anyway.  What if you aren’t?  Or what if you’re so ingrained with it that you accept too much fault?

          You can’t go through your life thinking that everyone owes you something because things didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to, or the way you thought you deserved for them to.  Life isn’t fair.  Period.  It doesn’t matter how much easier things would be if they all balanced out perfectly and things were all equal and perfect.  Life isn’t that way.  To expect me to compensate you for a bad childhood, or a series of failed romances is silly.  I had nothing to do with those things.  I can’t make up for someone else’s wrong doing, but I may be able to help you heal.  If I accept that and attempt to help you, fine.  You can’t thrust it upon me and expect me to do it against my will, though.  At some point, you have to take responsibility for those failed romances.  What about you attracts the "wrong kind of man" and then allows them to mistreat you?  Do women who get beat deserve it?  Of course not.  But at some point, you have to accept that there are things you can do to change the situation and if you’re not doing them, you have to own that.  Your husband beats your kids?  You chose him.  While it’s obvious that not all psychos look like psychos, it is obvious that you now know he’s a psycho, so get the hell out of there.  While not easy, how easy is it to see your kids get beat? 

          We all have dragons to dance with.  We’ve all had unpleasantness in our lives.  Some of us seem to have gotten double-helpings, but in the end, it’s still our choice how we handle those helpings.  Do we wallow in our misery, expecting others to pave our way so that we never have to experience another unpleasant event?  That’s a bit unfair, isn’t it?  If you want something, you have to get it.  No one will hand it to you, nor should they, in most cases.  If you truly want something, wouldn’t you feel a greater satisfation knowing that you earned it yourself?

          On the other end of the spectrum are people who own too much – who accept responsibility for things they shouldn’t and carry it with them like the weight of Atlas.  The abuse survivors who still feel they deserved the beatings, the children of divorced parents who believe their parents couldn’t be happy together because of their existence, the abused child who believes that maybe if they were better in school or better behaved, their parent(s) would stop drinking and hitting them…  Now, if those people turn around and perpetuate the cycle, then yes, they have something to own.  You can’t assume responsibility for someone else’s actions, only your part in them.  It’s not fair to carry someone else’s blame. 

          Sometimes, I feel like this…  I feel like I own too much, though I know at least one person who would refute that and say I still have lots of things to own up to.  In my defense, there are worse things I could have done.  I snuck out, I broke curfew, I dated guys I shouldn’t have.  I didn’t smoke pot or even experiment with any of drug.  I didn’t get drunk and hurt people.  I think I cut class maybe 5 times in my entire life.  I never cheated on an exam, though I did with 2 poems I simply didn’t understand no matter how many times I read them.  I cheated on boyfriends, but never on my husband.  I have never intentionally hurt a child or an animal.  In the scheme of things, I pulled some minor stupid stunts.  I never intentionally endangered my life or the lives of those around me.  I don’t ignore my kids or expect others to provide for them.  I don’t talk to my husband like he is inferior to me.  I don’t utilize free government programs just because I qualify for them because I feel better knowing that while we might struggle, we’re doing it on our own.  We chose to have these kids, and we choose to provide for them.  For me, it’s that simple…  I have a social responsibility to not burden others because of my decisions. 

          You know something, though?  I am really tired of always feeling like the bad guy.  I am really tired of feeling like I own what’s mine, but knowing that others feel that I still have more.  In some respects, you can only own what you accept.  However, I don’t feel like one of those people who refuse to believe I did anything wrong.  I know I screwed up.  I also know I was young and had a lot more going on than I knew how to process.  My methods of coping weren’t the best or even close to healthy, but I think I did what I felt I had to, or the only things I knew to, in order to survive an keep from going insane.  Maybe that’s not good enough for some people, or sounds like excuses, but it’s all I can say, and all I will say.  I did what I had to, made the choices I thought were best and I live with and own those consequences every day.  For people to continue to make judgements about me based on things that happened 5, 8, and 10 years ago isn’t entirely fair.  It’s like looking at someone who ate their cousin when they were trapped in an avalance after a plane crash.  Ordinarily, never would have happened.  After a serious catastrophe and life-altering event, we all do what we feel is necessary to survive.  While we still have to own it and live with it, it’s not your place to constantly remind me and make me feel inferior because of it.  Life may not be fair, but Karma doesn’t ignore anyone.

        Bottom line: Own it.  If you did it or didn’t do it, but could have, own it.  It’s easier to own it now than to have to own it and everything that comes with it later on down the road.