Dr Jekyl and Mr Tax

One of the things I pride myself in is my capacity to stay present in a way that lets much of what life throws toward me either bounce or roll off my back.

Except the stuff that doesn’t.

I can get intensely testy when certain boundaries get crossed.  For instance, my tolerance for inexcusably bad customer service is… well, it isn’t.

I want to let you know up front that I don’t mind paying taxes.  In fact, I see it as one of the things I get to do as an adult agreeing to a social contract.  I drive on public roads.  My kid went to public schools.  We go to parks.  All that stuff costs money that’s gotta come from somewhere.

In that regard, I’m very much like the affable Dr. Jekyll.

Then there’s the preparation necessary before filing and writing those lovely tax checks…

I’m not terribly proud of the beast that, several years running, shows up when it’s time to gather papers, print reports, review and enter numbers on our accountant’s prep forms.

I can’t trace the origins of my ugly attitude and deep, bilious aversion to getting down to the tax season inevitable.

It’s not like I can’t see this annual event is coming down the road for months.  I’m clear that the Tax Prep Fairy Godmother and Magical Uncle Tony Tax do not exist.  I know my accountant doesn’t live in my computer, nor in my head.

I even made it a point this year to have all my business bookkeeping ready to rock well ahead of time – then I skulked around, indulging my inner avoider, letting a perfectly good early lead slip away.

My wife, who on this front is surely a candidate for sainthood, is of the “get it done and over with” school of thought.

I’d love to tell you that once we finally got the pencils sharpened and started putting numbers in boxes, the clouds parted and the angels sang.

But what actually happened was this: my world shrank to the area of our dining room table and my dark side came online.  Behaving as if I were a cornered beast, I quickly shifted into Mr. Hyde – or Mr. Tax – mode, becoming an angry, snarling, short-fused bundle of petty meanness.

Why am I telling you all this?

Like I said above, it sure ain’t because I’m proud.

I’m sharing this because I really don’t want to behave this way again next year, and I find that telling the truth is often a key step toward healthy change.

I notice I’m not quite ready to declare that Mr. Tax will never show his face again.  In fact, I think that’d be a set up for magical thinking, some kind of unsavory bypass, one bound to end badly.

Intuition – and more than a little experience – tells me Mr. Tax is one of those untended, marginalized shadow aspects in need of some serious, conscious attention.  He’s a part of me that I really don’t want to face…

Which tells me, in turn, that his direction is precisely where to point my compass and my steps.

I can’t say for sure, but I have a strong suspicion that I’ll find yet another marginalized aspect of myself that, more than anything else, wants and needs to be seen and acknowledged.  He needs to know he belongs… and that he is loved.

That’s an adventure I’m up for.