Context: “No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.” Alice Walker, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning (1982) novel, “The Color Purple”.
It’s such a beautiful winter’s day…saucer-sized snow flakes are leisurely descending to earth in a synchronous slow-motion ballet, and…
(*smiling to myself*)
I just spied a couple who, determined to stay entwined, are navigating an exit snow bank at the park across the street. They put me in mind of children committed to a three-legged race.
In case you’re not familiar with this right of pass(the summertime)age, each pair’s inside legs are lashed together, and the goal is to cling to each other and co-ordinate lurching strides in a race to the finish line.
The lovey-dovey snow birds are tethered only by arms linked around bulky parka-ed waists, but, the charmingly-awkward effect is much the same…
Anyway, that momentary detour over,
my mind returns to the thought at (no-need-to) hand (me a tissue…I’m okay, now).
I’m reflecting on a single comment that spelled the “ding-dong”,
“Bang -a-Gong” Show demise of a “Wicked”relationship.
“There but for the grace of God go I”—
I just couldn’t find my way back from being told,
(by a life-time someone who doesn’t have the capacity to understand where I’m coming from)
“Don’t turn this into one of your stories.”
And, this person didn’t mean a story of the written kind…
She literally was referring to my verbal response to the mind-blowingly toxic information she’d (a moment before) casually flung at me.
Although reeling with shock and revulsion,
I knew I had to handle the situation delicately.
See, the thing is, knowing her pattern of vilifying others—
followed by her detailed reasons why she needs to maintain relationships with them (and, why I—“In the name of God’s love, Truly”—should, too).
I knew to handle the situation as delicately as I could.
In a split second, I decided the best course of action was to defend her while deflecting focus from the alleged transgressor’s action…as in, “If only so-and-so could realize how worthy of love and respect you are…”
That’s as far as I got before her crazy-making insult shut me down, and backed me into an unvarnished
(*Wooden’t you know it…
Hear we go again!,*) box.
And, in this very moment it strikes me that she knew, on some level, that—stuck—I’d (reflexively) revert to a people-pleasing script whereby,
rife with pent up humiliation and incredulity,
I’d end up doing nothing more than punctuating her one-way conversation with two syllable acknowledgements that I was (“When will this phone call ever end?!…and “I’m never doing this again!!!”) listening.
Not that I think she considered (at that moment) that I wouldn’t speak to her again…
Given her (wounded/wounding) need for control,
and, our pattern of years’-long-estrangements—
followed by re-(re…re…re..)connection agreements that she’d no longer fill my ears with soul-sucking assessments, grudges, and gripes involving mutual loved-ones…
And that she’d stop telling me about/justifying why she doesn’t stick up for me when others put me down (*people I haven’t seen in decades, who live worlds away from me, and know little about me beyond what she might be filling their heads with…*)—
I’m confident she was so busy counting on my forgiving heart she couldn’t sense that there was no coming back from this one…
No idea that, internally,
mystified-resentment roiled and spewed like a volcano.
If she had that level of sensitivity and empathy, I wouldn’t have the need/ability to finally stick to my decision to love her from a world of distance.
I no longer feel even a twinge of guilt, shame, loss, or fear of judgement for feeling/sharing this, dear listeners.
And, in case it’s not lost on you that I shared this—once very painful (and multi-sequeled)—chapter fresh on the heels of recounting an idyllic winter scene…
I don’t mean to ambush you with a dysfunctional type of communication…
I hope you see this as evidence of continued-desire to contribute something of value to your hearts and minds…whether it be the comfort of knowing you aren’t the only one,
or, validating your hope that you are making an important difference to people you’ve never even seen,
or that, even people who have so much to be grateful for, aren’t immune to the challenges inherent in the human condition.
And, I hope you see my abrupt shift as my increasing-ability to integrate life’s lovely grey areas…
Those magical, perspective-enhancing times when you sit down to share something deep;
and are struck by a fleeting,
joy-inducing moment best savored before getting down to the business of heeding one’s instincts to air the truth out.
And, speaking of joy-inducing…
While I am sure that,
if I haven’t yet,
I’ll give a shout-out to each of my core group of blogging besties…
Today, I want to single out two merried men/fathers who consistently encourage me to be brave!
And, not that I relate to them as father figures,
but, having grown up without one, I sooooo appreciate that they wear their hearts on their sleeves where their children (and wives) are concerned 🙂
Among my favourite writers, each contributes a uniquely- textured brand of wonderful.
In response to last week’s post, their comments included (and, not for the first time) the heart-warming assertion that they eagerly anticipate (and read/re-read!) my “thought-provoking/enjoyable” offerings…and, that I shouldn’t ever change or worry about what I share…
So, I’m sure, Delightfuls, you can see how—in contrast to someone who’s known (*scratch that*)…
been conditionally-connected to me all my life—
I am beyond grateful for those who don’t insist on reducing me…intimidating me…using control and emotional extortion to steer me into voicing only uplifting and unconditionally-complimentary communications.
Having exhausted every possibility I can endure,
I’ve finally accepted that my soul can’t navigate any terrain meant for my (briefly) tolerated leftover utterances—those truths that seep through the expectation that I don’t confront diminishments meant to “keep me in my place”—
For my authentic place is where my unfolding truth and growth is…
And, Lord willing, I’ll have much more to say.
In the meantime, thank you for hearing me out…helping me out…uplifting and inspiring me, Wonderfuls!
You are gifts beyond measure; and, I’m wishing you a peaceful Saturday and moments of utter delight (even if it’s in response to having been in your pajamas all day…)
(*Yes, I’ve been in my uber-soft Christmas pj’s all day! 🙂 *)
God bless you and your loves.
P.S. Today, I kept my (perhaps obscure) puns to a bare minimum because I wanted to be sure to get my thoughts out in one sitting…as opposed to breaking the writing up over a couple days (as it is, this took me all day to think through/write in a share-with-others context :)).
“Ding dong! The witch is dead” is a song from the (1939) movie, “The Wizard Of Oz”;“Get It On” is The Power Station’s (1985) cover version of the hit (1971) song—“Bang A Gong” by the band T-Rex; and “The Gong Show” (1976-1978) was a “talent” show where all manner of dubious performers auditioned in front of a panel of celebrities who banged, rather than “boo-ed”, contestants off stage. It was hilarious 🙂 ; “Wicked” is a long-running Broadway musical I would looooove to see, and is based on the (1995) Gregory Maguire novel, “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch Of the West” (Thanks for the info, Wikipedia)…it’s the story of the demise of the (best-) friendship of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch…The person I shared about today told me a few months before the final blow that I was her best friend…it was one of the best (and, long-awaited) days of my life…that’s probably what gave me the strength to move on–knowing I chose to/overcame this final heartbreak in light of her inability to approve of, or love me in a healthy way.
P.P.S. To end on an even higher note…here’s my (restricted-viewing) FB posting from a couple days ago:
Today, I calmly spoke up for myself in a really significant way at work–evidence of professional (and personal!) growth…
And the icing on the cake is, not only was I supported once I did, but I was thanked! and commended on how sensitively, succinctly, respectfully, and well I did it. Cake never tasted so sweet 🙂
I share this for 2 reasons:
- In order to celebrate my gains.
- As an example of the difference caring people make when they give others room to grow and bloom according to their own unique colors.
I’m really, really grateful 🙂