Wednesday, August 3, 2011

...It's Me, Again...

Well it’s nearly out of my system.

I still feel pretty sick and hurt by everything that’s happened. I never would have imagined myself here. Not ever and especially not with all the involved parties or under the specific circumstances. At one point in absolute desperation to resolve the issue, I asked Predator what exactly it was about me that was causing them to be the way they were with me. The answer? “Because I don’t think you deserve more happiness than I do.”

We went around in circles on that for a minute. It sounds ridiculous but it was a serious argument, and they were really mad and meant every word and I was just confused.

Me: Are you seriously telling me that you’re mad at me because I seem like I’m content with my life?
Them: Yep. You think you’re f---ing perfect.
Me: No, I don’t and I’ve never said that, you keep saying that. You keep making the “perfect” comments. That’s not how I feel, that’s how you feel.
Them: You’re not better than me. You could be me. You would be me if you ever got out and lived your life.

I still don’t understand that. I don’t even know what that means. I do get out; I do live my life. I’m just not living their life, and it feels like they hate me for it. Plus, by their definition “getting out” and “living my life” means I will turn into deluded, angry, brainless person who turns on everyone that’s ever been kind or helpful to me and then blames them for all of my problems. Makes no sense to me.

In the end, acknowledging that the other person involved was a complete fruit basket has been helpful, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t examine my role in the whole scenario. It’s the only way I’ll learn, not for next time, but in being sure there is no next time.

I came up with five things I should have done differently, and three things to keep in mind to make sure I never do the five things again.

What I did wrong

1) Willingly reduced myself to something I never was or wanted to be in order to accommodate the other person. My relationship to certain people in my life depends almost solely on me being who they need me to be regardless of who I really am. I am not the best person I know, but I’m miles and miles away from the worst.

There’s no reason to ever maintain a relationship with someone if that relationship only works by everyone being fake and playing a role.

2) Didn’t trust myself- when everything inside of me told me to move one way, I made the decision to move the other way anyway and paid the price for it.

I’ve talked about this before. It seems like every time I resolve to put my foot down about something, I get tackled by something that upsets my stance. I would have never thought that so many people that I love and trusted would have turned their backs on me the way they did. I had a few supporters, but they reminded me as often as I reminded myself that the promises I make to myself are as important or even more important that the promises I’m strong-armed into making to other people.

I don’t want it to sound like I’m saying that I was forced into doing anything. I begrudgingly gave in to someone at a weak moment in an effort to help someone that I KNOW would not have done the same (Because the one and only time the opportunity presented itself, they shrugged their shoulders at me and moved on). I knew I had made a huge mistake even as the words left my mouth and I (very reluctantly) gave my final consent to help.

The last thing I want to do is turn into some cold, heartless bitch because of all the sociopaths I encounter. I would never want to take the rage that builds inside me because of other people’s wrongdoings and inflict that on someone else. It’s not the next person’s fault and I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that. But I tell you what. It’s come to the point with me where I don’t care how hard you cry, what danger you’re claiming to be in these days, or how much you swear it will never happen again, you will not make a fool of me again.

The next time someone calls me threatening suicide, if I’m stupid enough to have answered on impulse, I’m going to at least be smart enough to hang up on the sound of their voice. I would very strongly warn anyone against going against their “gut” instinct. And I will never ever do it myself again.

3) Didn’t seek enough outside support. Like a lot of people in an abusive situation, I chose to keep what was going on a secret. My instructions were clear: take care of the person, and whatever you do, don’t upset them. I’m not sure how many incidents went by before I started speaking to other people about what was going on. I was so beaten up, I used three words I almost never use: I need help.

Mostly all I got was people reminding me that everyone gets into tough places and sometimes you have to help them get on their feet again. I started asking people what they were doing to help, and why was everything falling on me to take care of, and all I got was under the breath mumbling. The consensus was there was “no point in dragging other people into it’ and that I was “strong enough to handle anything”. And that I was “probably blowing things out of proportion anyway.” I think I had a millisecond flashback to a different time in my life when I was at the mercy of someone I never should have had to deal with.

I had to endure a lot of horrible things for a lot of years because I was supposed to be “strong enough to handle anything” and because I was probably blowing things out of proportion. It took me a very long time to find the right person to help me then, and as a result probably didn’t reach out far enough to get someone to help me this time. I have a cousin that tells me of a time when a domestic situation got so bad for her once she ran out of the house without being fully dressed to a group of strange men in order to be safe. It worked, too.

Safety and support could be the last place you expect it to be. And I will never be too ashamed or too afraid to reach for it.

4) Held in too much for too long. Simple truth: if you hold your breath long enough you could pass out and injure yourself. If breath is the expression of the spirit, then what happens when you hold your breath?

5) Tried to help someone that I KNEW didn’t want to be helped. You can never, ever, NEVER help someone that doesn’t want help, or isn’t ready to be helped. I think the motivation for this is sometimes selfish. We want the person to be okay so we don’t have to worry, or so we don’t have to go through the toil and trouble of cleaning up after them.

The real solution is to not worry or feel obligated to clean up after them. I know it’s easier said than done, but consider how well it all goes (or doesn’t go) whenever you do what you’ve been doing. Try something different this time. Don’t let their problem become your problem.

Listen, sympathize, wish them well and then flee the scene. Lest you end up on the wrong side of the police tape.

What I learned/re-learned for next time

1) Expand my social horizons. For whatever foolish reason I tend to keep a very sharp division between the circle that is made up of my family and relatives and the circle that is made up of my friends and acquaintances. Mostly because the family/relative circle has more nuts than a Pay Day bar.

As shameful as this is to admit, I would think anyone that gets to know anything about my family would be pretty likely to back away from me. If being “crazy” truly runs in families, I’m doomed. I couldn’t even really be mad at someone not wanting to get next to it. And even though logically speaking I probably don’t have any stranger family members than the next person, it’s hard not to wonder.

Lots of us joke about having the mysterious uncle in the backroom at Grandma’s house but how many of us will also admit to having the uncle that your mom told you to stay away from completely? (“If he comes near you, scream as loud as you can, and then run away.”) How about the aunt with the serious drug problem? The cousin on “vacation” on some federal charges? Or the other cousin, although I can’t prove it, all signs point to him having been a pimp? I think that my efforts to keep that part of me tucked away from public view inadvertently kept my whole self tucked away from everything.

We are all such tiny particles in a very big universal picture; no matter where you are in the world it is only one very small part of the picture. The more of the world you get to see, the clearer and more beautiful the picture becomes. But you don’t have to literally travel the world to get the big, beautiful picture. You can start right where you are by meeting new people, going to new places, and seeing new things.

One of the best things I ever did was volunteer work late last year and early this year working with little kiddies whose parents were serving in the military. A lot of my (mis)conceptions about children were rewritten. I still know better than to try and have one of my own, but I’m a lot less likely to break into a sweat or hives when one comes near me. It’s a nice feeling to experience something new. And it gave me a wonderful opportunity to realize that the world is as full of good people as it would seem bad.

2) None of us is less than or greater than any of us. Yes, I stole and reworked that from Kenna. But it’s true.

One of the things that upset me so much and hurt me so deeply was that I knew I was in an abusive situation. I knew that I was accepting behavior and assaults that I would never, ever have accepted from anyone else. Anytime in my life anyone has ever tried to put one over on me they learned very quickly that I was not the one for that. But I allowed myself to be put in an extremely bad situation because there was family involved this time around.

Everyone always says, “blood is thicker than water” meaning the importance of your family outranks everything. But I don’t think it’s supposed to outrank common sense, or self respect. Both of which I lost entirely, allowing myself over and over again to be disrespected and made to feel small. I allowed and even willed myself to shrink down to nothingness. I will never let that happen again. I don’t care who it is, or how we’re related. To know that people so close to you could take advantage of you to the degree that I experienced let me know for sure: family or not, you’re going to respect me or you can gofuckyourself.

3) I am my own best thing. And I stole that one from Toni Morrison. Being able to finally sit down and review every side from every angle has been helpful to me. Everything seems to always come back down to the same message: Know yourself, be true to yourself, and you will always have yourself.

I suppose the trick is to not be yourself to a fault; so for example, being “the responsible one” doesn’t mean you have to take responsibility for everything and everyone. Being someone that solutions-driven doesn’t mean that you have to be everyone’s problem solver. Working hard at being a good person doesn’t mean you have to take crap from someone who seems happy being unhappy or possibly just a bad person.

You are the most valuable thing you have, don’t let anyone rob you of the treasure that you are.

Earworms o’ the week…

Jay Z – Thank You

Obviously a Neptunes production- because the song makes you feel pretty. Babyface – There She Goes

N*E*R*D – Spaz … by attacking these things I earn my wings…

Final random, unrelated notes, 1, 2 and 3
1) Why don't we all have the chance to raise our debt ceiling? Still not sure how they missed the most obvious solution which was pay cuts for every member of Congress. One dollar a day is all they get, and they can live off the money they collect from lobbyists.

2) It’s been a minute since I’ve posted a random Pharrell pic, so here ‘tis. Not sure what it is exactly about this guy that sometimes looks like pure art to me, but I do so enjoy it. Applause to the photographer who had the eye to capture this.

3) In my small but mighty boycott of Google forcing me to link up all of my accounts including YouTube, I haven't been able to log into my YouTube account meaning no new vids and no email.

Happy Birthday wishes to two of the coolest and most wonderful people I have ever had to get to know, both August babies. I hope you see this and are doing well. -xoxo- Angel

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