Warning: This post is honest, raw and was hard to write. I wrote it to help me process, organize my thoughts and possibly help someone going through a similar situation.
Last night, my cell phone rang at 11:46pm. The minute I answered and heard the voice on the other end of the line, I got up, put on my flip flops and grabbed my keys. Lump in my throat, I left my house and my family sleeping and drove away. That's the thing...there are some phone calls you are so scared to receive and some people you can't imagine anything bad happening to that, without uncompromising certain privacies, will leave you dead in a way. But you can't be dead, because your heart is racing and mind is creating a million different scenarios that surely end in Hell! Before I go on, nobody died, nobody was physically injured. This is just the tough stuff that life is made of everyday.
What I will share with you is that when someone I love needs me, I show up! I show up every time, no matter how late, how tired, how fucked up I think the situation is, how stupid I think someone is being....I SHOW UP! I am sure all of you can relate. There are two things that I think are most important about showing up.
First, if I haven't taken the time to show up for myself and assess my own behaviors, patterns and choice making, I can never show up for someone else. I know my own shit and know all the stories I tell myself that keeps me from being the only version of myself I want to be. I have wallowed in it, I have played victim, I have pitied myself, I have felt so lonely that nobody could possibly understand, I have run away, I have stayed in situations that didn't serve me for far too long, I have been embarrassed, shamed, made fun of, told I would never amount to anything, allowed myself to feel like a doormat, abused, mistreated, and underestimated for most of my life. So What??? Who cares?? We have all experienced pain, loneliness and suffering in our lives, there is no question. My degree of suffering can not be measured in comparison to others. We all suffer the same. What I can do...is to find the patterns, correct and try new patterns to not repeat the old. This is a game I have been playing for many years and will continue to play as I always seek to be better than I was the day before. To think that I am special because of circumstances and deserve special treatment is plain old bullshit. We all play our part in every decision that has happened upon our circumstance. We all have choices. That is what is so beautiful, the choice is ours and ours alone to rise above "bad" circumstances.
All of that said, I can only show up for others if I continue to show up for myself. I take responsibility for the situations I put myself in, I own misguided steps, I do not regret, I only learn and move on. I do not let my past dictate my future. My past does not make me who I am today, rather it makes me more experienced to be better today. The past is opportunity, never baggage. Opportunity. Change the way you see your past. Opportunity for growth is in every obstacle you meet. When someone dear to you is going through something traumatic, it's hard for them to see the opportunity. In fact, only if you can detach yourself emotionally, can you see the opportunity. And when feelings are involved and passionate values and beliefs are in question, we sort of loose our shit!! That is when practicing opportunity is the hardest. When you are smack dab in the middle of the shit filled swamp, it all stinks. Tha'ts the work, and if you're not working on it yourself you will never be able to show up for anybody else.
Secondly, showing up for someone is not telling them that everything is going to be okay and skirting around issues that are uncomfortable to talk about. Honesty is the ONLY way to show up. I had to communicate with one of the greatest loves of my life, in a way that I never have before last night. I hurt his feelings, not intentionally, I embarrassed him, not intentionally, and a little part of me died watching him unravel. I have known this person his whole life and see his true self. I want him to see it too. I, unfortunately, can not do that. I can only continue to tell him the truth, to really listen and watch, to remind him of his gifts, his light, his presence and the love I have for him no matter what! Why is it so hard to see our gifts? Why is it so easy to be led away from who we really are? Why do we seek constant approval from our peers? Why do we put on faces and never get to know people? Why do we suffer and struggle in order to fit in? Why does any of it even matter?
So much of last night is with me, not just as I write, but as I continue to ponder on some of the questions that have been raised. Part of me is angry and part if me is sad. Sad that we have created a society of instant gratification, where we need to feel good all of the time and when something makes us feel less than good we can't handle it and find things to dull our senses. Sad that many of us have lost the ability to communicate what they need in order to feel loved. Angry that we choose to text instead of talk face to face, eye to eye, heart to heart. Sad that we think confrontation is a bad thing. Sad that it took me this long to be so honest with one of the people I love most in this world.
If you do happen to read this mess the whole way through, Know that you are never suffering alone. Seek out honesty, even if it doesn't feel good. Make mistakes and move on. Show up for your friends and family when they need you. Most importantly, show up for yourself everyday and put in the work it takes to be a better human. That is our responsibility. All of ours. Instead of sadness, today I will continue to work on being honest and forthright in all aspects of my life. I will not hurt others in the process and I will forge ahead even when I want to retreat. I will also call my therapist, he is always honest with me, even when I don't want to hear it. Check yourself before you wreck yourself...courtesy of some rapper in the 90's I think!!