Social distance

I think I have been employing social distance since long before COVID. There are just some times when I need to be doing that low ground-scraping belly crawl through the proverbial jungle. There is toxic fauna along the journey, so I have to be ever aware…and when something doesn’t feel right, gotta stay vewwy vewwy kwyut and wait until I see a way out or the danger has moved on. Sometimes I chide myself that such a tactic is merely passive aggressive avoidance, but ya know what? So be it. The last thing I need right now is to get taken down by some manipulative stealth bomb, so I have to avoid. Maybe one day I’ll be able to look a threat in the eye directly and tell it to eff off, but today’s just not the day.

Because I’m a poster child for codependence, I feel guilty and stupid when I resist being manipulated, and really don’t like telling myself the truth about those efforts. Manipulative people generally aren’t focused on my best interest, but only their own. I don’t need that. And I don’t have to have it. When I choose not to engage, no matter how sloppily or awkwardly, I am making a choice for my Self, and that shouldn’t cause me to feel guilty. I would like to believe it’s getting better, and I suppose that’s true, but when I make that choice it’s still uncomfortable. I don’t particularly care to be uncomfortable, but who raises their hand and eagerly volunteers to feel uncomfortable? I suppose in some twisted way, that’s what I have been doing when I don’t resist my own codependence, so…no more. I wave the white flag of surrender, surrender to believing it’s not a big deal, that I know how to do this stuff, that it’s my job to be there for everyone else. It’s never been my job to make anyone else feel better, and truth be told, I can’t make anybody feel anything. I enjoy being the hero, being the one that has made the difference, but…that’s just my ego for the most part. There’s an entirely different energy involved when I am just trying to help than when I am trying to solve a problem. It’s not my problem to solve. Dammit.

The codependence thing, the feeling of it being my job to make someone else feel better, to solve their problems, the feeling that my only real value is in how well I do that…that’s just some serious and unadulterated, smelly, vile bullshit. I remember to the day when I got the conscious idea that it was my job to do that…my mother was bemoaning her own shortcomings, her feelings of inadequacy. Everybody has those, I suppose (except perhaps died-in-the-wool narcissists), but it’s a little different when your parent is needing to ask their child for that kind of support. I think that’s a level of support that should be reserved for adult-adult relationship, not adult-child. When you’re a kid, you don’t even have the skill set to solve the problem, but you probably want to please the parent, and so you try. You try over and over and over again, not realizing that it’s a problem you can’t solve, that no matter what you do you can’t fix them. You associate love with your usefulness, with utility, with how well you can do your job. But it’s not my job. I have to remember that it’s not my job.

So, I guess that brings me to the question of…what IS my job? What’s my purpose? Is my purpose my job? This is a whole nother track…and maybe it’s the operative one. What is my purpose? Do I need to know what that is, or do I just do the next right thing, what’s in front of me, what commands me ethically? I don’t quite know. I am standing at the crossroads of figuring out whether I continue to satisfy what I believe are obligations, or what I may falsely believe are obligations. Maybe I need to examine what I feel I’m obliged to be doing…and why. I don’t feel as though I’m obliged to do anything wrong, but definitely some things not in my best interest. I don’t know if I should be demanding anything, even if it’s in my best interest. I almost said that I don’t know if I have that right…which is a heavy thought. Do I really have the right to be happy? Now, THERE’S a heavy thought. The RIGHT. Do I have the RIGHT. That’s a little complicated. Is happiness an entitlement, is it the ultimate goal of the common good? Is the only reason I strive to contribute to the gross domestic product so that I accrue financial resources that are sufficient for me to get…high, drunk, travel tickets, season tickets to sports events, symphony tickets, books, a house, a car…whatever conspicuously consumptive thing I can contrive? I’m not sure if I’m entitled to happiness, and maybe that’s a conflict I need to resolve. I don’t think I DESERVE to be happy, I suppose. We laugh about this in recovery circles all the time, that if I got what I deserved, I’d be dead or in jail. Most of us, if honest, would be in the same position. We’ve all done stupid things, hurtful things, caused untold damage to property and people’s hearts and/or bodies. So, when we are talking about justice, I have to keep in mind how easy it is to go to the “dark side” of human behavior.

That smile says everything. Happiness – check!

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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