I should have seen the pattern years ago, but I thought I did. I saw a pattern, sure, but it was the wrong one.
Addiction is a funny thing. Funny to everyone except the addict, that is. Because the thing is, the majority of the time, the addict is the only person who can’t see the problem.
I have a different kind of addiction–or had, I should say. I’ve decided to go into rehab. The 12 steps are a little vague at this point, but since I’m the one writing them I guess I have some leeway.
Hi. My name is Alexa and I’m an addict. (Hi Alexa.) It’s been about 24 hours since I’ve tried to change someone before they were ready.
If you don’t think I’m nuts by now, I’m going to refer you back to the intro post on this blog. (And again, Gram, if you’ve somehow found this, stop reading now before I start inappropriately swearing. Love you!)
Ever since I can remember, I’ve witnessed people make what I judged to be shitty, stupid, detrimental, harmful choices. And it was so obvious that these choices were bad! Like so so so painfully obvious that the only solution I ever came up with was to talk to them like they were the most fucking inept human on the planet in the most condescending maternal tone I was capable of. Or, I’d pick them up off the floor, whisper there, there it’s okay, you’re okay, you’ve got this…and dump a bunch of advice and stories of strength, grit, determination and inspiration that I could spew in that moment.
And they’d say thank you, you’re so right, I know I’ll fix it, etc. etc. I’d go to bed happy. I’d go to bed feeling like, wow, I’m so glad people can depend on me. I’m so glad I can help. I’m so glad I can fix them.
But within the next day/week/month/semester/whatever, they’d relapse and fall back to the same habit/relationship/vice. I’d sit there and get so pissed. So frickin pissed, that quite literally, I wrote letters. (If you missed that reference, please stop what you’re doing and go watch White Chicks. You’re welcome.)
Anyway, I wrote letters, I hosted friend interventions, I boycotted activities with these beautiful souls. For years. Years. And when I would grace them with my presence, my protective brick wall of judgment was really fucking mean. Perfect example–we know I love to use colorful language. I don’t function well if I can’t say fuck. Just a fact of life. However, I have always had an issue with the c word. I don’t like it; I think it’s toxic; I think it pulls power away from the person using it; it really just gives me the heebee-jeebees.
I called someone the c word. I believe it was the “stupid c word.” I’ve never had my husband call me out on my language, but he looked at me and goes, “You must be really upset.” Hell fucking yes I was.
I was mad at others for not figuring it out, for not taking my advice, for not learning from my mistakes. I was mad at them for not taking the heart-felt advice or comfort or support I was offering them. I was mad at them for choosing to fester in their pain instead of facing it and letting me help them heal. So I’d find a way to step out of their lives. I thought by leaving I was doing the right thing to protect myself.
Years and years of this and I could not figure out why different versions of these situations kept happening to me. And up until very very (literally less than a full day and a half ago) recently, I could not figure out why people who needed help kept popping up. Was it my destiny to torture myself putting all of my energy into helping people who didn’t listen or want to be helped?
Who’s the asshole in hell pushing the rock up the hill every day just to watch it roll down? Yeah, I just Googled “guy who pushes rock up hill.”
Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology: Sisyphus. Sinner condemned in Tartarus to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back down again. Sisyphus was founder and king of Corinth, or Ephyra as it was called in those days. He was notorious as the most cunning knave on earth.
Am I the millennial version of Sisyphus? WHOA IS ME, I AM #SISYPHUS.
So, you see what happened right? You see my addiction–my addiction to dumping my own shit on other people and trying to fix it. But that’s still not it, not exactly.
I thought it might be an addiction to helping people who weren’t ready, but that’s not it either.
True Life: I’m addicted to helping people who don’t need my help.
We’re all on our own journey here, right? What I know and the things I’ve learned may help you, it may not. But it’s not my job to figure that out. My job on my journey is to live in the authentic truth of my soul–the hokey feel-good version of myself that makes me feel like I’m prettier than Cinderella smelling like pine needles with sunshine coming out of my face. (Thank you, Bridesmaids.)
That’s my job. And your job, their job, his job, her job, is to follow your/their/his/her path. Read it again, it’s ok, there are a lot of forward slashes.
(Hat tip to my coach, Marisa, for helping me really get this and decide to write myself into this 12-step “get off your fucking high horse” rehab [my words, not hers])
It’s just not my job.
It’s my job to believe that the Universe fucking provides. And Universe lets you hear the things you need to hear, feel the things you need to feel and love the way you need to love. And if that weirdness does not line up with my weirdness, guess what, it’s still love. It’s still the right path. It’s still the right choice. It’s still the right way to do things.
“I do my thing and you do your thing. You are you and I am I. And if in the end we end up together, it is beautiful.” While Topanga may have had a lot of wisdom (and if you’re missing the Boy Meets World reference, good luck trying to find the seasons because I’m convinced the Disney Vault lost the footage.)–I think she’s missing something here.
You are you and I am I. And if in the end we end up together, or don’t, it is beautiful. It is beautiful because we have learned what we needed to learn from each other. You’ve continued on your path and I on mine. That is beautiful.
I should have seen the pattern, but I didn’t. And that, my friends, is beautiful.