What we say

There’s a war within me, begging for understanding: What we say and what we mean.

I’m as guilty of duplicity as the next person, mostly in earnest over obstinate pride. You’ll never catch me fronting like I have all the answers. In fact, I’ll be the first to admit I’m clueless, and hey, let’s work together on this.

But I’m not so far gone that I don’t know what it’s like to hold onto a rationalization like you’d hold onto a life raft in the middle of a storm in the middle of the deep, blue ocean. We are made of the stuff. Some of us more than others.

All this to say, I am often confused by what I’m told versus what I see.

For those intentionally doing damage, I have little empathy or patience. See my dysfunctional childhood.

The same goes for the weak, the lazy, the spectacularly selfish.

Just give me a crumb. Show me a sign that you’re trying to make some sort of contact. Show me who you are, even in increments. Meet me halfway, and I’ll be there. You’d be surprised just how far I’d go, and what little I’ve operated on for that one spark in the darkness that assures me we’re on the same page, that contact, connection happened.

I know an awful lot of withdrawn, introspective people who opt to hide rather than deal with their problems. It’s often too much for them to bear. Hey, I’ve been through that too. Maybe not for long. I’m incapable of keeping it in — it’s a gift from G-d which has saved my life many, many times. It’s also threatened to take away everything and everyone I ever held dear.

It’s why so many, the majority of us keep it to ourselves. The burden, the judgment, the effort, the price we pay for leaving our heart on our sleeve…

Recently, I’ve experienced incidences that have placed me in a position to help someone else, if for nothing else than offering a safe place to vent. Let me tell you that 99.9 percent of the time, no matter what I say, no matter how much I back up my talk with action, I get nothing but radio silence in return. Nothing.

Today, I received a mixture of truth, projection, and knee-jerk surface bullshit conversation strangers engage in to shoot the shit before they go home and do what they really want.

It is beyond frustrating to know that I’m willing to put myself on the line, but you won’t — for whatever reason — especially given the ticking time bomb of our mortality.

What are we doing here wasting so much of our precious time pretending, hiding, bullshitting our way through life?

If you don’t want it, give yours to someone who will appreciate the gift, who will make something of himself/herself.

I see too much of the struggle, not enough fighting.

So fight. Baby steps. Small gestures. One, monumental movement forward — even if it’s to pick up the fucking phone and say hello before falling back down into your pit again. Forget your precious pride for five seconds, go outside to greet the sun, which comes so rarely here in the Northwest, and sing along to your favorite song at the top of your lungs.

Stop making excuses, go in the kitchen and bake a family recipe, go next door, surprise your neighbor, UPS it to your favorite cousin down in Portland. Surprise your child’s school, start dropping off homemade cookies at the office every other month, just because.

Offer to drive a friend’s children to and from soccer practices, so she can take a fucking break for once in her week to have a bath and eat chocolate on the couch.

Ask your troubled teen to tell you what happened, then STFU and listen to his side of the story, really listen. Remember what it was like when you were a kid. If it was totally different, ask your teenager to make you understand what she’s going through. Don’t judge, don’t interrupt (I need to learn this one), don’t insert your own ego masquerading as wisdom, and offer fyi advice but let them think for themselves.

I’m not the kind of person other people come to for advice or comfort. Nobody and I mean nobody comes to me for a shoulder to lean on. I always have to ask. I’m the last person they think of to confide in, or go to when the chips are down, or hell, when they’re celebrating milestones. Not a pity party, fact. I’m okay with it; took me 50-some years, but yeah, I get it.

Here’s the thing. I get it. You’ll never know, because you never bothered.

That’s a shame. We only get one life, one chance, and most of us are colossally focused on the wrong goddamn things.

Today, I tried. I did the best I could, to help without getting in the way of my own need to save your soul, uplift your spirit, be the muse to inspire you to change, to write me a song, dedicate a book…

I tempered a sense of growing futility and life’s infuriating injustices dispensed by a godless system (favoring the biggest assholes) by retreating into my own comfort zone, without totally disengaging: crocheting, writing, music, running outside for the first time this year, eating chocolate.

Mostly, I gave you my heart. Freely.

Because that’s how love works.


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