Everything is Waiting for You
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
— David Whyte
I’m starting it right off with David Whyte’s words today, because, I am.
I have some things to say and it’s been a few days since I’ve gone off on a rambling rant. It’s Sunday morning, I have my strong coffee right next to me and a head full of ideas stimulated from that exhilarating shower I just took.
Everything is waiting for you, Whyte says.
But my rant is about this. You have to reach out and take it.
I’ve been living for nearly two weeks now, again, with my home basically converted in to a transitional living home at best and Psychiatric hospital at worse. I’m not going to whine again about how the various systems let
us down over and over again because that’s just boring and I’m sick of my own voice in and and out of my head talking about it.
I’m tired of breathing life in to other people.
There I just said it.
I was born to do that, I’m good at doing that, I’ve lived a life that has trained me for that and yet I really want to do something else.
Here’s the thing. You see a person gasping for breath and you have a full lung capacity going on. What do you do? You naturally give them one of yours.
It’s very insidious and crafty this thing of co dependence because it sometimes takes days or months or years to realize you’ve stopped breathing your own breath. And someone else is surviving because of your infusions.
But you realize it, you do. And often, once you do, you’ve so run out of oxygen yourself that even figuring out how you got to that point is a mountain to climb, much less hoisting yourself out of the hole. It’s a sticky wicket that ensnares you, just like that black widow I found this weekend in Sedona. I was wondering why she showed up, what message she had for me within inches of my still healing leg wound. I was wondering why I had to kill her.
She had the red violin on her underbelly–shudder
As I write this I’m starting to see the triumphance in that decision to say NO to that lurking danger and her sticky web and her thousands of eggs (did you know each pod can hold up to 400 eggs each?).
I am tired of getting trapped and stuck!!!!!!!
I woke up again this morning to my brother giving me the weather report on how depressed he is. Yes, he is. Yes the system sucks and he’s been limited on services since he got out of the hospital. Yes he has to wait two more days to get seen by the Psychiatrist then three more days to get started with his new team. This is all true. So yes, he has to find ways to be resourceful, internally resourceful to get through these days.
I’ve been once again breeding a dependence on me for another person’s well being. And once again reaching that breaking point realizing I’m investing more energy in their recovery than they are themselves. It’s happened over and over again in my life.
Sometimes a tricky bond forms between people which looks like this:
Person A is the identified “weak” person or person in need of help.
Person B is the helper.
Person B has lots of ideas, energy, ingenuity, time etc. and pours them in to Person A to help them get through that rough patch.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Either Person A responds to that jumpstart and is ignited once again and starts maneuvering down the road on their own volition.
Or Person A starts living Person B‘s life, losing their own unique imprint along the way. And sometimes resenting it, understandably.
This, to me, is a tragedy. A tragedy upon a tragedy.
I think each of us has our own unique trajectory and imprint to make on this world in the short years we have to live in it. Once you start becoming defined by someone else or an institution or a plan created for you, then you’ve lost your own place of belonging and you are coasting.
I’ve attracted that second version of Person A my whole life in different forms. I’ll just say it, I have a strong light that projects in to the world. I’ve known this since I was a kid. It just is. It attracts people to me in some kind of magnetic way that I don’t understand and it’s not driven by me.
I hear this description of me over and over so I know it’s true. I know this is something given to me as I came in to this world yet I do have to learn how to manage it. I don’t know how to describe it other than I don’t always feel a lot of energy but I always have this magnetic light around me.
The best relationships I have are with people who are basking in their own light. I feel so energized in their presence. In fact, I’m headed off today to a spa overnight with one of those people, my colleague Mya. She is one of the baddest asses I know for a tiny little person. We co treat together and have not for one second, ever, had a moment of competition or energy imbalance. We just fit. She holds her own and I hold mine. She is fully defined. I’m looking forward to being in that energy today.
Now that I think of it, I’ve surrounded myself in that since I got back from my recharge in Sedona having had dinner last night with my friend Andrea. I’d describe her in the same way. Strong, resilient, holding her own, filled up with herself.
I woke up again this morning in my home to John’s latest rendition of his depression. He reports to me how he feels and what he’s done about it. His choice today was to take a 10 minute walk around the complex. This is good, but it’s not enough for a full day. We do this routine every day now. Him reporting what he’s done, how he feels and me giving him ideas of things to do to manage it.
I’ve spent hours and hours acting as a case manager, coach, therapist, you name it with him since he got out of the hospital, AGAIN, because the services are limited. Calling people who don’t call me back, making plans with and for him, including him in my activities, taking him places, discussing with him options to manage his time while waiting for the services to kick in. All while he sits back and is infused with my energy. I sound angry and I am. At myself.
I don’t realize how I do this until it’s depleted me usually. I’ll just suffice it to say I’ve taken John to many many watering holes and he chooses not to drink. This is not an unusual pattern. Is it depression? His personality? A combination probably. I do know this. He always manages to get his own cigarettes and meals. Always. Things that are priorities to him get done. By him. Independently with no prompting. Sometimes we have to ruthlessly look at things as they are.
People are as low or high functioning sometimes as we deem them to be. I’m mad at myself for filling in so many gaps, once again, depleting my own source. Buying in to his version of “limitation” without acknowledging how functional he is.
On the outside, my getting away on this overnight (which has been planned for weeks and prepaid by the way) might look cruel leaving John alone again. But it also may give him the motivation to find something internal that pulls him out of this slump. We never know what bottom people need to hit to dig deep to find something to turn around. Someone once said to me “if someone is heading for their bottom, get out of their way. The sooner they hit it, the sooner they will start coming back up”.
This is a hard thing when someone has been suicidal. This gets very real.
In the shower this morning I was reflecting on these thoughts. How I’ve fallen in this hole over and over and over again in my life. All the ways it’s shown up, primarily with men.
How humiliated I’ve been dating men who don’t or won’t or can’t give to me. Usually it’s it falls in the “won’t” category. How many relationships I’ve engaged in that most women wouldn’t consider for a moment. How it’s been a joke (but I’m not laughing inside) how many men I’ve been out with who “fall on hard times” “forget their wallet” “oh, there’s a problem with my credit card”. How entire relationships have been formed on a foundation of me providing and them receiving.
I once dated this man who would be busy until say 9pm most evenings. Then he would come to my house, drink my wine and enjoy the cheese plates I put out, have a romantic evening with me then go home. I remember talking to my friends about this pattern, that I’d not been taken on a date at all with this man. They told me I needed to talk to him about it. That should have been my first clue: telling a man you’re dating that he needs to take you on a date.
The story of the one date he took me on, after this awkward conversation, is something you’d seen in one of those movies starring Kristen Wiig involving a bowling alley in a bad part of town, three games of bowling, no food or drink offered to me and a passive aggressive dinner I insisted on because he wanted to take me “for dinner” to a “dive bar” that served no food. I’m not kidding you. The hideous part of the whole thing was I didn’t break it off immediately after that fiasco! It took me about two more weeks.
I shake my own head at myself.
I know where the roots off all of this comes from, I don’t need to enumerate it here. I do need to set about doing something about it if I’m ever going to find a relationship again, a real relationship. If only my Psychologists’s booking person would call me back…..sigh…
But what I really want to say is this.
We’ve all been through shit in our lives. Some more than others.
I’ve survived the death of my mother at the age of 5, the abuse of my stepmother that I’ve shared extensively here, my one life raft, my sister’s homicide, a terrible terrible anxiety disorder with depression and all involved in that and on and on. Yet…I’m still living my own trajectory.
I will say I navigated most of those life situations on my own. I sought out resources to help me and took advantage of them. I really didn’t have anyone pushing me or handing me out anything.
One of the main reasons I held resentment toward my stepmother for cutting me out of her Will is because I spent thousands of my own money in therapy undoing the damage she inflicted. Even though we were estranged at the time of her death, I’ll just say it. She owed me at least that.
But I have gained strength by knowing I bought and paid for my own recovery.
I don’t crawl back and let my life be defined by someone else or wait for some arc to be built so I can board it and start sailing. I set about swimming.
So sometimes I lose patience with the “I can’ts” of the world.
If you lead with your limitation, you will be defined by your limitation. But don’t expect a life that is your own or creative or fulfilling. Expect a life that is limited.
And, frankly, I don’t want to join you there. I will support you from afar but I need to stop being a life support system.
Because what happens is I do get drug down. It happens. And I do start to dim and feel my own light suffer. Like what’s happened over the last week.
And that is not what I am on this planet to experience.
I will share this which everyone who is suffering from this “I can’t” mentality should see:
Who are you, who am I to not be triumphant?
Even if you can’t find your bootstraps to grab yourself up by, if someone else puts them right in your hands, who are you not to at least grasp them?
I’m sure many of you have read this but it’s worth a revisit:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson
On that note, John just announced to me that he’s going to the gym. Good! We are both changing how we do this. It’s not me dragging him to the gym, it’s him making a decision and following up on it. Just like he decides to drive himself to the Indian Reservation to get cigarettes.
Sometimes it’s like ripping off a bandaid and feels kind of heartless to cut someone off from your energy supply if you’ve had them on your life support for too long.
Yet it allows them to find their own breath. Or not. But it’s the only chance they’ve got. The only chance you’ve got.
With that all being said I’m going to pack for an overnight getaway. This is how I keep my sanity these days. Physically removing myself from my own home which is some form of Psychiatric facility to get some clear oxygen. Some might say I need to learn to set boundaries for myself to be able to breathe in my own home like this but there’s only so much change a personality can undergo. I am born to bond, some are born to detach.
Sometimes balancing our own traits is the best we can do while letting our light shine in the world.
And shine I intend to do.
I welcome anyone to bask in it but please, find your own light and we will both have a much brighter time.
(I don’t know why this entire post showed up in italics and no time to figure it out..so there it is!)