I'm not ready to post the post I need to post, and so I went back to the posts I wrote, or partially wrote, and then never pressed publish on.
These drafts - and there are hundreds of them - some only a paragraph or two, some quite long. And they're all unfinished in one way or another, or sometimes just spew. But for the past year or so, they're usually about something I want to write about, need to write about, and used to simply just write about, but for the reasons explained in the previous post, don't see the light of Internet.
The one that follows is a partial. I'll let you read it, then talk to you on the other side. Here goes:
So, the past month has been about one pattern. Just one very specific pattern. A pattern of suffering in my living for the entirety of my life. Even past lives, if you believe in that sort of thing.
It's a pattern that's had me cast in the role of victim, with the other person playing the role of abuser. And wording it like that, it'd be easy to blame the other person for being an ass*hole, a jerk, a rapist, someone who stole my energy, money, lifeforce, time, good will. Someone who yelled at me, or drew blood, or created bruises. Someone who told me over and over I was a wackjob, a loser, a bad friend, a bad girlfriend, a bad familial linkup, not to mention ungrateful, flaky, willfully inattentive to their needs, and just plain not good enough.
But in every single instance, I chose it, chose them, chose to stay when I could have stood up, said finito, and walked off into the sunset or rain or fog or whatever the heck weather was passing by.
The past few years have been about all sorts of Deep Sh*t, all of it around waking up to what's really going on, and what's not. And to see, really see, how I've chosen this role for myself has been mindboggling. Of course the trick has been to see how I'm responsible for my reaction, but how I'm in no way, whatsoever, not even a tiny little bit, responsible for the actions of the person maligning, attacking, or saying repeatedly in a hundred thousand million ways that essentially I'm a waste of air, skin, and other spacial molecules.
What sort of person sticks around when the person they're with says and does these sorts of things? Intellectually, we all know that hanging out with mean people is a drag. But even smart people stick around with folks who like to use knives, both real and metaphorical. But why?
Because we think we don't have a choice. Because we believe it's normal. Because we don't know another way. Because at some point in our development of ego/self, we bought into the interpretation. Because it's just another set of false beliefs in the bag of tricks known as personality.
And because it seems so real. It's as if we're just standing here, trying to live a good life, when yet again, some ass*hole comes in and harshes our mellow in a most unphun way.
Damn you, we shake our fist at god.
F*ck you, we say at the monster in front of us.
But then I began to wake up.
And I looked down at the iron manacles around my ankles, the ones connected to the iron chains bolting me into a dank cell, far underground, just a small shaft of light coming in from high above. Until I looked at the manacles, looked and Looked and LOOKED, and realized: that sh*t is loose, and if I stop eating so much bullsh*t, I won't be so puffy, and if I'm not puffy, these weights are gonna slide right off me. And I'll be free.
I'll be free.
And it seems so simple to put it like that. We can smile and laugh at how silly and cliche the metaphor is, the image of someone sitting in a cell for decades on end, heiney parts all cold for no good reason whatsoever. But that image is us. That image is me. That image is you.
A month ago, the Hilarious Coworker left Hiveworld for a new job elsewhere, and a few days later, a new coworker was assigned to come over from Cubicleland to help me run our program. For obvious reasons, I can't go into details, but the important part isn't who she was or what she did, but how she fit into this very specific, very detailed role of abuser.
They're always the same personality type, and the same unfolding of circumstances: They come off as incredible nice, very charismatic, do small, thoughtful actions, or give small gifts. They tell me I'm amazing, and tell me so often. Based on this, as they have things come up they need, they present these needs to me as issues they're dealing with. And I offer to help. Or sometimes they're in some sort of crisis, and say they desperately need my expertise.
It's usually at this juncture that I lose time, when I submerge into some weird sort of autopilot. They become such a constant flow of intense work, so quickly, that I don't notice what's happening.
Then the next part: It starts as small judgments: I didn't do an action right, my choice of words was poor, I was slow getting something done, I looked bizarre or unattractive doing it. Then it ramps up, to outright insults, hardcore judgments, patronizing looks, things said to other folks with rolling eyes or a sneer.
By the time I realize I'm cringing every time I deal with them, the roles have been set: I'm working as hard as I can, but nothing I ever do is good enough, and the person in front of me expresses continual contempt, ridicule. The understanding is that the effort I'm putting in is so shoddy it's pointless, so they don't owe me anything, especially not thanks, because in fact I should be thanking them because having to be around me and my ridiculousness, my inadequacy, having to put up with how disappointing my efforts and in fact my mere presence, is a deficit.
But what's really happening is that the other person has me doing things for them, a continuous stream of energy draining out of me, filling them up. Until I'm empty, and they toss me away, and there I lay, poor sad me, all sad and empty and drained of lifeforce. Until I slowly stand, build my energy back up, until I'm strong and vibrant, and the next wave of feeding begins.
To my credit, I don't hang out with people who outright (metaphorically or physically) punch me anymore, and the time frame and level of interaction has moved from a two year relationship with a man I cohabitated with, to a one month back and forth with a coworker.
... and that's where it stops. And why I wanted to publish it today. It's such a great signpost for level of distance travelled. Just eight months ago, I was still in a place where someone could pull me into that level of drama.
The coworker I wrote about actually quit the job a few weeks later, of course stating to my bosses that it was because of me, but it was so clear she was a bundtcake with blame and hysteria frosting, I just shrugged. And my bosses didn't much care about anything either way other than the excellent numbers my program came in at, so it all slid away with very little fanfare.
The coworker to replace her came in with another level of blame and hysteria, but this time, I literally just kept walking away. She'd cry, I'd walk away. She'd blame, I'd walk away. She'd go into Poor Me, tell her sad, sad story, I'd walk away. She'd come in with anger at my lack of grandmother compassion, and I'd walk away.
By the time I left in April, she didn't like me very much, but I was decent to her, respectful, and she knew where my "walk away" line was. I watched her pattern of needing to turn people inside out, to get them to give her time, money, problem solving, and saw clearly that it had nothing to do with me. I wished her well, and opted out, over and over and over.
And I got strong.
At my new job, it's at a level that can really only be seen internally. The folks it runs with probably only feel a weird sort of frisson, something that causes them to want to back away, but they don't know why. And as I master the last shards of this pattern, I watch as folks smile and are drawn to me, then pull away when the level of muscle tone I still haven't built yet causes me to drop it.
This is yet another reason I love this blog, love this tool of spiritual practice I keep: it shows the passage of time with an issue, shows the lack of mastery, then partial mastery, then full mastery of the tearing down of an emotional wall, a place in the living where a person stops. Translate this also as pain, then no pain. Or frustration and anguish, then nothing but a shrug and a smile. Or prison, then freedom.
I love this blog. I love this place I come to write. I love that you come to read.