When did the rain start beating us? Yes I know. It’s one of those weird metaphors typically heard in our local corporate lingo. I heard one of my colleagues say it last week as we were trying to establish the root cause of yet another typical work complaint. Then for some strange reason, it popped back into my head a couple of days ago. I was pondering my current life situation which is one word. Overwhelmed. I’m basically waist deep in search of answers, which is more or less where I left things in my last post.
It’s OK to fall apart. To have no clue where you are going or what the heck you are doing. To not know whether you’re moving forward, backward or just oscillating around the same point for goodness knows how long. To constantly grasp at straws in the hope that one of them will be the one that saves you from drowning. Yes, all this is OK. Why you ask? Because at least then you are conscious and self-aware of just how far you fall short of your own expectations. Which probably means you will eventually do something about it.
“Addiction!” The second time I heard that word was while sitting in a chair in a little room as a therapist described my own life back to me. She followed it up with “Depression!” Another big word she used to describe my situation. I wanted to argue. But I was also the one who told her only minutes ago that I had been feeling tired with the whole “living” business. I did not get to argue. I did not want to actually die. But I knew I needed help. Positive thoughts were not going to keep me going for too long. I could feel it. So I reached out in secret and, as with all things secret, I paid for it myself. By this time I was very good at keeping secrets. And I had a part time job as a writer. So, I could afford it.
Have you ever had someone look at you with a pity? I have had people look at me with pity. A face that is one part judgmental and two parts charity. A look that will make you realize just how low you really are. A look, today, I only give to street kids. It’s the same look. I know. I give it to street kids and simultaneously feel horrible for doing it. But what is one to do? Help? How? One cannot help when they cannot even fathom the scale of how deep the problem is. The people who gave me this look saw that I needed help. But how? Where to even start? Should they remove me from the household? Pay my school fees? Pay for counselling? Clothes? Food? This very train of thought is becoming too much of a responsibility. “Is he being physically abused?” No. “He’s fine.”
A good friend of mine asked me to guest post him and I will be featuring his story in a 3-part series. In his own words, he has suffered it in silence for long enough and hopes that telling it will help someone out who could be going through a similar situation.
Let me tell you about my smile. It’s not a particularly pretty smile. I have chipped teeth. Several of them. Others have decided that they will pose like Instagram models by turning a little to the side so that you can see their curves properly. It may look sexy in my mouth, and to one or two randy dentists, but to the rest of the world, it’s just crooked. Then there is the yellow. I brush my teeth until they feel like porcelain when my tongue glides over them. But I can never quite get the yellow out. I sometimes consider whitening them but, I am not one to make changes to things which work perfectly fine. After all, I can smile.
I feel the need to point out something that may appear obvious but apparently isn’t according to most people.
Listen up. People – adult, live human beings with red blood running in their veins cannot be stolen. Belongings can be stolen. Cars can be stolen. Babies can be stolen. Money can be stolen. Even hair (ouch) can be stolen. But get this – human beings cannot be stolen. They can be kidnapped, which means taken against their will in exchange for a ransom demand before their return. Key phrase – against their will.
So when a person in your life one day ups and leaves please do not make excuses for them and say they were stolen. Because live human beings cannot be stolen. They upped and left of their own free will and accord; for whatever reasons that they felt necessary. To put it very simply, they made a decision to leave. Ask yourself a simple question; when stuff is stolen from your home or your car stolen, what do you do? You make a report to the police right? So why don’t you report these “stolen” people to the police as well?
One of the most frustrating things that coaches/therapists/counselors deal with on a daily basis is that the ones who are left behind seemingly get stuck at this point and became fixated on the person(s) who “stole” their loved one. This effectively ensures that they never move forward, refuse to deal with the reasons why the person left and basically stagnate in life leading to a medley of other issues. Meanwhile the person who was “stolen” is enjoying their life (or not) but most importantly, completely oblivious of the turmoil they have left you in. Largely self-inflicted I might add.
My question to such people usually is; why would you waste your time pining over someone who made an adult decision and executed it? What value does it add to your life to constantly moan about it when it will not change the said decision? Most importantly, why would you give someone so much power over you, just for the satisfaction of painting yourself as the victim?
Bottom line – life is short. Move on. Time spent moaning about it is time taken away from doing other constructive things focused on You. Because guess what? They don’t care. So why do you? In my experience, this is usually just a form of denial to ensure that you never have to face the real reason they left – whether it has to do with you or not. Plus this denial allows you to wallow in self-pity assuring yourself that they will be back, crawling on their hands and knees for forgiveness.
Whether this happens, and whether you take them back or not is really up to you. However, please be aware that no one can steal a person. If they left, it was because they chose to. Wake up and smell the coffee. Deal with it.