Thursday, May 29, 2014

What I Can Do And What I Can't

It's a baby Jack. Caught in the Gulf of Mexico, May 2014.
   "This is just where I came in." I love this line from the Bee Gees. No one asked me if I wanted to be here, but I think I would've said yes regardless.
   I remember the person who turned me on to the Bee Gees. I remember him buying me a beer and handing me a cigarette when I got fired from my newspaper job. He was dating my roommate at the time, and he and I had barely spoken. I didn't think we had much in common. He was a little older than me, and he seemed standoffish. But the man knew a traumatized woman when he saw one. I was so thankful for his sympathy. He didn't say much. I remember being very still while he drove his car to a gas station. It was dark. I was trying not to cry. He handed me a cigarette even though I don't smoke. I lit it up. I was up feces creek without a paddle. Or at least I thought I was. As it turns out, I was offered a job the very next day. I just had to spend that one night on my bedroom floor, awake, shuddering in terror about the future. What was I going to do?! I had never been fired before. 

   I have read that your wounds are what allow you to have true sympathy, or empathy, for other people. I know this to be true. Maybe that man had been fired before. How else could he have been so understanding? When one of my friends loses a job, I am quick to support them. I know how awful that feeling is. What can be scarier than having the rug pulled out from under you when you have bills to pay? 

   Friends sometimes come from where you least expect them. I will always be thankful for my roommate's boyfriend. He seared a place in my heart that will never unravel. I was low, I was low. He kept me from crashing. And I never would have guessed that he could do that for me.

   Sometimes, when you are low, the people who you thought were your friends drop the ball. Or, in my experience, sometimes those people who you thought cared about you take that ball and throw it at your head while you are weak. That is called betrayal, and it is a terrible, terrible thing. I have seen it more than once. I have felt it more than twice. It is so bad, I want to apologize to anyone I may have betrayed while we were friends. I am sorry! There is no honor in trying to kill someone when they are down. 

   I recently read an article written by a nurse who works with terminally-ill patients. She compiled a list of the most common regrets she hears from people on their death-beds. One common regret is that people don't express themselves enough. We try too hard to "be nice" all the time so we can be socially accepted. This isn't always healthy. We get angry for a reason. When someone hurts you on purpose, you SHOULD get angry! I have been scolded by others and told that this is not lady-like. I suppose a lady should let her husband or boyfriend deal with her problems for her. All I can think of in response is that scene in the movie Winter's Bone where some redneck woman asks the main character Ree, "Ain't you got no men could do this?"
 "No ma'am, I don't," Ree replies. Cheers to that. I've been fighting my own battles so long, it's hard to think of it any other way. I can't undo any of the hurt I have caused people, and I can't take back any of the angry things I have said or done. If they could understand that I fight my own battles because I have always had to, then maybe I wouldn't seem so strange to them. Besides, since when does "being a lady" mean being an emotional cripple? 


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