Playing the victim.
All my life I’ve been a go-getter. Opportunity comes a knocking and I practically tackle that bad boy before it reaches the door. Or, I go out with my flashlight, into the darkness and wade through muddy, sludgy sort-of trails and tall grasses and sneak attack that sucker, grabbing at it quickly, like a mini adventurer pouncing on frogs. I’m not afraid to go after things. And because of that attribute, it’s always been a pet peeve of mine when people play the victim. We all have free will and choices that can help and choices that will hurt a situation. Don’t get me wrong. I am compassionate and sympathetic, mostly to a fault. But when it comes to blaming others for your own circumstances or attitude, it sort of gets on my nerves. Like, “Come on people! You can do this. Pull on those boot straps, Ride the bull by the horns!” Or, however those sayings go. I mean, you can complain all day, throw all sorts of folks under the bus and guess what? That will not, would not, can not change your situation. Not even in a box.
So, last night we’re having a fun little dinner party. Entertaining our friends. Eating mounds of delicious food. Each of our faces is lit up by our brand new market lights, strung so-perfectly above us. Life is good. You’d think. And then it happens. I just can’t control myself. Bitter, angry words keep spewing out of my mouth. Venting, maybe. A real heart issue, probably. Things that prompt friends to say, “Hey, I totally see where you’re coming from. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m sorry they said that.” Legit complaints. But you guys, they came out fierce and ugly. Apparently, I’m a fire-breathing dragon.
To have venom on your lips must mean there’s venom in your heart.
As I lay in bed last night recounting my feelings, words and actions, I realized I AM my own worst pet peeve. I am playing the victim. It’s been a rough and winding road we’ve been on. And the sun has been scorching our backs as we work, emotionally, shoveling through what seems to be heaping piles of smelly crap. The blizzard is unbearable, at times. Snow so cold and heavy that we can’t see what’s coming or muster up the energy to even try to see. Uphill both ways, barefoot. That kind of journey. That journey is our own. That part I get. I take it on. At times, I feel as hopeful and happy as that little adventurer with a flashlight and frog in hand. My struggle has been my expectations of others. Probably one of my greatest, biggest, ugliest struggles, to date. Hence my compassion and sympathy spiraling into a fault. When I am enduring pain and fear, I expect those I love to respond the SAME WAY I WOULD. Writing this out, as a 32-year old, I feel a bit ridiculous. Mathematicians, statisticians, please tell me: what is the actual probability of this occurring?! Then, maybe that outrageous fraction will help put my ambition to rest.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all just people. Brilliant, right? Sinners. Including me and my sassy, snaky spewing parties. No matter how much you spill your heart or tell people what you need, sometimes they’re just not going to hear you. Sometimes, they’re going to be too wrapped up in their own life to respond how you need them to. We can’t let this affect us. We can’t let those decisions change our decisions to put our heads down and keep shoveling the crap or climbing the icy hills. We have to keep moving in the direction of our destiny. It’s all laid out for us, we just have to get there. We’re supposed to enjoy the journey as much as possible. And I see now that I’ve only been making ours harder than it has to be by expecting people to be something other than people. My word.
The good news is that I can make this better. Let’s just call all this feeling sorry for myself an extended pit stop. I’ve likely used at least 47 tiny paper cups at the Gatorade station, as others grab their 1 cup and go. But maybe I needed this extended stay to have this realization. To gear up for what lies ahead, whatever that might be.