Hurting People…hurt people

I have a theory. And if you bear with me, it might make it as easy as it has made it for me to forgive people their cruelties and emotional abusive behavior…whether it is work, school, family or spouse.

Have you ever been around someone who just enough was never enough? No matter what you said, it wasn’t right. No matter what you did, it was the wrong thing. No matter how hard you tried, they would go out of their way so you knew the effort was wasted…just like the husk you were quickly becoming and were regretting inhabiting. The bouts of scathing remarks, barbed comments, double edged compliments that made you wonder what you did to deserve that treatment?

It’s so hard being in that situation. Because your worst fears, your deepest secrets are being vocalized as if they were true. Everything that you wonder about yourself and fear will happen and someone feels like there is enough to truth to it to force your nose in it every time they see you. And you wonder what you could have possibly done to them. What is so wrong with me that I bring this on when they see? What could I have done that was so terrible to deserve it? And the worst thought that never goes away.

What if they are right?

It’s almost impossible some days to push their abuse out of your mind. It affects everything you do, say, wear and go. It poisons your dreams…if you let it.

If you let it. Do you hear me? If you refuse to forgive it will haunt every step of your life.

Forgiveness. Seems such a weak word after everything you go through sometimes. As if it could wipe those scars you bear away…or change the falter in your step these days. But why not? Why write it off? Why not try for some understanding…and take control of that abuser. Take the club right out of their hands and take a good look as the reason they are concentrating so hard on you. Look at them.

Hurting people, hurt people. We have all heard it. And whether you were formerly in an abusive relationship or in one now…most days it sounds like a pathetic excuse. Let me give you something that has more substance though…because forgivness is so vital to leaving them behind and LIVING your life without them.

You see, to them, that pain that you feel, is what they are feeling. And for one moment, for a fraction of a second before guilt and remorse overcomes them again…they feel normal. Do you know why? Because their constant pain doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary when they are inflicting it on someone else. They don’t feel so out of place. So WRONG. For a sickening inexplicable second they are not alone. Their life looks less hopeless if they can convince themselves that yours is just the same. And it’s not you they are even attempting to convince…it’s themselves.

It’s not an excuse. It doesn’t make it right. But think about it…and see if some pity doesn’t come to you that pulls you out of that red haze that consumes you when you are around them. Try for some forgiveness…because who knows…you might help them find it for themselves.

When you’re broken

She asked me, tears in her eyes, how I got over that first heartbreak.  Years later from what happened, I still choke back the dryness in my throat as I thought about that.

I didn’t.

There was no answer I could give to soothe.  No immediate relief.  Every cliché had only made me angrier, every Bible verse though I knew it was true was a slap in the face, and every step I took into the world as who I was at that time made me weep.  I didn’t feel whole…I knew she didn’t feel whole.  I slept on that feeling of knowing there was nothing I could do to ease this suffering.  Thinking about that pain again and remembering feeling as if it would never end.  And then I realized there was something I could offer.

Hope.

I understand.  The things you are afraid to say, the horrible things you are thinking about yourself, and the guilt you feel over still wanting something that you know won’t work. The humiliation and the fear.  The fear at what you are supposed to do now.  Let me give you hope in the truth.

Over this journey I learned there was a huge difference between getting over something and just moving on.  There are some things you don’t just get over.  You can’t.  It’s almost a genetic code that’s part of your blood…you could as soon bleed yourself dry as you could rid yourself of the pain of their absence.  But that’s exactly how you feel.  Hollow.  A husk.  Trying to live half alive.  As if they are the light, blood and breath that make your life more than just putting one foot in front of the other.  More than just getting through another day.

In the beginning, you think you will never feel right again.  You even forget what it was to be happy, to not wake up to your heart clenching because they aren’t there, and to the absence of that pain.  That blinding, overwhelming pain that now defines your waking and nightmares.  Logic only makes it worse.  For those of us who think through everything, we crave the opportunity to just be emotional.  Cry, scream, pour our heart out and let it out of our blood.  And no matter which end you are on…logical or emotional…you come to the same place eventually.  You know nothing will ever make it right again.  You cannot…cannot…go back.  No matter how big of a fool you make of yourself, no matter how tightly you hang on to those memories, and no matter how you cling to that last part of yourself that is slipping away with what was…you can’t go back to that moment.  Because everything is different now.  Your previous happiness would be fear now.  Your hope of the future would be a frantic decline to resignation of the inevitable.  Nothing has changed.  Everything has changed.  There is simply nothing you can do.

So you get angry.  Bitter for a while if you are still dealing with it emotionally.  Good and angry if you are ready to be logical.  Did you deserve this?  No.  Is there something wrong with you?  No!  How could anyone be so cavalier with something so precious…did you cause their actions?  NO!  Instead of the timid and wept “yes” you had answered before, each resounding “no” becomes louder than the last.  As if they have any right to continue to dictate your life after they ripped your heart out.  As if you would continue to crawl after them, satisfied with their leftovers they knowingly leave for you because they need your tears and broken heart to feel wanted.  As if you would live your life waiting for someone who didn’t have the class to treat you like a human being.

And somewhere in this anger is where you are ready for truth.  Ready for hope.  Finally embracing a change you did not want. You begin to realize that very few things will hurt you the way this did.  Why be so afraid of change now?  Maybe it is time to put away the person who is still clinging to the past…and become someone who is ready for the future.  Because let’s face it, that broken person is no more.  She was destroyed in her innocence with the loss of what made up her being.

Like a butterfly abandoning its cocoon, you might be afraid of that first flight if you hadn’t left all your fear and pain in that empty husk behind you.  How could anything compare to that?  How could anything not be better compared to that?  You leave behind the weak side that couldn’t have known how to fly…because all you were content knowing was the ground.

How do you get over the loss of someone who defined your life?  A parent?  A child?  Your first love?  A spouse?  Why are we expected to pretend we are ok with the loss of something we cared about?  Pretend as if it never happened?  But here is where there is hope in the truth.  People want to box you into how you should deal with this because your pain inconveniences them.  Close your ears to match your heart for a moment and hear this.  The truth, my love, the truth is you don’t have to forget about this, but you do have to move forward.  Truth is you don’t have to pretend to be ok, but you do have to let yourself grieve.  Cry.  Why should you be expected to flip a switch inside and just stop caring?  You poured yourself into this.  This meant something to you and it is gone now.  Cry.  Letting go of anything precious deserves grief.  Losing anything that you put passion into deserves to be marked with grief.  Grieve that loss.  Truth is you don’t have to be angry at yourself, but you must learn from this if you want to be alright.  Truth is you won’t feel this way forever.  Truth is even if you went back to that moment, somehow, that nothing has changed.  You will just be waiting for the same thing to happen again…and you both know it.  Truth is you were given a gift.  It doesn’t feel like one.  It may not feel like one for years.  You can’t change the truth though.

The truth is you are about to blossom.  Put your hope in the fact that everything that made you who you were comfortable to be has been stripped away.  This is you.  This is the beginning.  Anything is a possibility.  You can chase after the most impossible dream you ever dared to dream; because even if you fall short anywhere between here and there, no fall will come close to this one.  Wipe the tears from your eyes my love…because this is where it truly gets beautiful.

I know you don’t believe yet, but I promise it’s possible to live with the past. Not forget it. Not pretend it ever happened. Truly LIVE. You just have to figure out how to accept change you didn’t want. Don’t let it numb you. Let it ignite the real you.

Why everyone should have a crappy first job

My little adopted brother is 16 and is chomping at the bit for his first job. It’s probably the independence in him. And he’s excited to start creating his life, which by all accounts in his mind starts when he gets that first job.

I almost hate to let him down easy that this first one is going to suck. But I don’t want him going in blind. Although I do want him going in.

So I made sure I made something clear. You need a crappy job for your first job and you need to keep it for at least a year. Why?

-because the only time you exercise patience is once in a while with your siblings. You need the time to learn how to deal with co-workers who act like children

-because you need at least a year doing something you hate so you can learn how to do excellent work in crappy circumstances

-because you need time to make mistakes. Time to be late and learn the consequences. Time have bad days and learn how that affects your team and numbers. Time to learn how to turn bad days into BETTER days. Better days into GOOD days.

-because you need to show your next job that you are reliable and can be somewhere, even a crappy job, for at least a year. And let them imagine what you could do with a job that makes you happy.

-because you need to see your value. Seeing what is poor work ethic and building good work ethic anyway is more valuable currency than most the people going up against you in an interview is going to have.

I hope I prepared him and didn’t discourage him. And we are lucky to be in an area where he has a lot of options to choose from in a first job.

Here’s hoping it’s the crappiest…and he finds his humor sooner rather than later in that first year.

When it’s over

It was one of those things that I didn’t know I would miss until I was running away…or maybe I was walking slowly with my eyes already on what was next. I don’t know…I just know I’m left with this feeling of emptiness where you were.

You consumed me inside and out, tormented me with the idea of what you might think of me, and pushed me to be more than I was. I came to you a little afraid and ashamed to show it, daunted by what lay before me, afraid of what you might ask me to do…afraid because I might fail you. You who had accomplished so much, humbled yourself to seem impressed…impressed at ME. What could I possibly have to offer you?

Instead of failure, we spoke in a harmony that hardly seemed possible. I questioned over and over if this could possibly be real. I must have been lucky. I must be so caught up in the experience that I am kidding myself as to how euphoric this was to me. I was captured by every expression, every smile, every unplanned word. My fascination drew me into the web that you had spun and did whatever you asked. My exhaustion nearly disappeared when I was with you, my tears forgotten. When you were down, I felt your pain and momentary disappearance from the life we had created…and when you were happy I could only smile in wonder.

But how you made me angry at you…not realizing that I was breathing for you. Not seeing my exhaustion, ignoring my needs, oblivious to anything but the moment. So caught up that at times I wasn’t sure you really saw me…but who I represented to you. And how I loved being angry with you all the same. I knew you cared. I did. It’s just that I wanted more…as much as I was giving you.

Then it was over. Barely a hug, a quick pat, a wave and a whisper of a goodbye and all that had consumed me was gone. I heard the promises to keep in touch, to stay friends. But my heart told me you would move on to others, feel those exact same things, say those same words, and walk away all the same. I wondered if you would hold me in a special place in your heart? Was I kidding myself to think this had been something special, simply because it had been special to me? I’ll admit…I’m jealous to think that soon, despite your promises, I will be nothing more than a name in your page. A vague face who did not change your life as you did mine. You were my first…perhaps that is why I will always remember. And perhaps why you will not remember me.

Now that it’s over, I wish I would have stood up and screamed my existance so that you would never forget it. I wish I would have made every minute count, taken too many pictures, found a camcorder, and raised hell just to see that frustration that showed me you cared. I wish I would have shone better so that every one you go to after me will remind you of what had been.

I would have lingered instead of run my friends.

I only ran because I had no idea what I was running from.