Having to be right
I don't know why I always thought I had to know the answer to everything. Of course, I didn't have all the answers, so my next best thing was to theorize, or guess.
The kind of learning disability I have meant that in school if I wanted to comprehend, I had not only to listen, I also had to watch the teacher. Classmates could doodle and listen at the same time. If I watched someone doodle, or looked out the window, I missed what the teacher said. It was hard to feel intelligent during those times. Maybe that's why I started to come up with reasonable guesses.
As I got older, many people came to rely on my answers, even if they were just guesses. I was compelled to guess. Maybe I thought I'd appear stupid if I didn't at least imagine the answers.
When I was in my 40s, I chose a boyfriend who theorized even more than me. I chose him for a reflection - to drive me nuts. During the first stages of our relationship I thought he was pretty darn smart, and caring. That soon wore off. All I had to do was say something like, "I wonder why that guy is standing over there." And the guessing would begin. He had no more idea than the man in the moon, but that didn't stop him from droning on endlessly with his stupid theories until I just wanted to hit him in the mouth.
How could I break my annoying habit? I was too programmed to be able to just quit.
So in my 50s, I started going to Dr. Bob Chaney at the Native Hospital. He's a psychologist. I followed his lead and tapped on the side of my hand, repeating "in this moment I have free will." He was using a form of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Attractor Field Therapy. We did a "tap tap here and a tap tap there, here a tap, there a tap, everywhere a tap tap," and, lo and behold, it shook things loose. I think my brain muscles were all matted together. I breathed in some fresh air and drank a gallon of water to flush all that loosened residue out...and then for the first time, feeling such happiness and freedom, I said, "I don't know!" I wanted to yell it from the mountaintops.
I've heard we have parallel and alternate realities happening simultaneously. I've deduced the reason I had that annoying habit was from my thousands of years as a politician. After being elected to the parliament or senate or whatever, I traveled long distances away from the ones who had elected me. I grew quite fond of my political self and started making up answers. How did I know what my constituents wanted? They were far away, and I was the one with all the answers.
Can you imagine what happened to all those parallel pieces of me when all that tapped energy busted loose? Another me was probably standing before an angry throng, maybe wearing a wig or fancy robe, or expensive suit and tie, and for the first time I looked down at the people with an honest face and said, "I don't know."
I wonder if they embraced me for finally being ethical, or if they hung me out to dry.
Patricia Wade is editor of The Chickaloon News, which she started in April 1995. She is affiliated with the Ya Ne Dah Ah (Ancient Teachings) School of the Chickaloon Village education department, which received High Honors recognition in the 2002 Honoring Nations program of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.