Has it nearly been an entire year since I’ve written to you? I’d say time flies, but as years go this one seemed longer than most.
In some ways, I feel as though I’ve been selfish. Primarily because most of what of what’s written here has been for me. All the things I needed to say to myself I’ve shared with you. Let’s be clear, I know very little about anything significant for the world in general, rather the knowledge I’ve gained only truly applies to my particular journey. I write this because it’s true, but also no one solution can solve every problem. In my arrogance, I attempted to relate the micro of one journey to the macro of everyone’s journeys. For that, I must ask your forgiveness.
Some of you have been so dear to me, the best of humanity. Others have taught me amazing lessons about who I thought I was or wanted to be, and you deserve my thanks as well.
I’ve learned there’s a difference between helping someone and simply supporting them. My previous course was to do as much as possible to “lighten the load” for other people. In the process, I stole their journeys by not trusting them to manage situations on their own. It also exhausted me because I tried to control circumstances that weren’t mine to control. The result – I screwed a lot of things up and take total responsibility for my actions.
By the way, I’m still working on the jumping in to rescue part.
I’ve learned that it’s not my job to live up to anyone’s expectations, and it’s not anybody’s job to live up to mine. Whoa. Talk about a mind-blowing moment. It happened when someone close to me was making demands about what they thought I should be doing. I said, “It’s not my job to live up to your expectations,” and the line went silent for a moment, then everything changed in the conversation. You see, my expectations for myself are unreasonably high. So much so, that I’ve spent a lifetime beating myself into the ground for not meeting them. This, of course, bleeds out on occasion to other people, until reality slaps me a few times, and I back down. That didn’t stop me from imposing mine and everyone else’s demands on myself, then one day I couldn’t, just simply couldn’t keep going. Mentally exhausted, emotionally strung-out, and physically incapable, I stopped, which may actually be the very first wise thing I’ve ever done.
Of course, I’m still working on that part too.
I’ve learned that my compulsive obsessive need to prove that I’m valuable to people ends in unfulfilled promises and allowing people to take far more than I have to give. The blame for this behavior lies squarely on my shoulders. With no boundaries and far too many “sure, I can do that” conversations, I’m quite effective at painting myself into a tight corner, all because I can’t muster the word no. I ask for little to nothing in return, hoping they’ll see I’m worth giving back to, but not expecting I’m worthy enough to receive anything at all. This isn’t some deep rooted thing from childhood or something my parents did or anything the world has ever said to me. It’s a fault within myself that says if something is easy for me to do, and I can push everything aside to make the time (even when I can’t) I should do it, and maybe, just maybe someone will pat me on the head like a fluffy little puppy dog and tell me I’m a good girl. The sick thing – they do. I mean, like sometimes it’s embarrassing how much they do, but something inside says, “if you knew me like I do, you’d know you’re wrong, so please stop.”
That lesson made me withdraw from the world for a time, mainly out of embarrassment. Really, I couldn’t face what I didn’t complete and couldn’t stand up for myself when people accused me of things I hadn’t done because I felt guilty about everything else. Still, I’m completely responsible for every yes, every incomplete commitment, and every time I tried to “help” even when I couldn’t do it or shouldn’t have been involved. The compulsive obsessive need for validation can be an unrelenting bitch of a thing to conquer, but I’m working on it.
To end this post, I suppose I should say this is my confession. So often people, including perfect strangers, seem to confess everything to me. It’s almost crazy compulsive. I know things about people I shouldn’t, some of it I just try to forget because, these secrets about them, never need to be known. And maybe what I’ve told you today didn’t need to be written, but then again I heard somewhere that confession is good for the soul.
Or maybe I’m finally giving myself permission to be an imperfect, ordinary, everyday human being.