She is wise, my friend Lady Berocca. So is my friend Pants-Over-Tights.
Life continues to be a journey of lessons and my lessons continue to land on me like manna from heaven. That’s what those lessons truly are – precious gifts – even if it sometimes feels like it’s bricks crashing into me in a not very manna-like manner at all.
Well, this lesson is around friendship. And I have realised I can probably be a very scary friend, simply because when I love people (and I love easily and freely), I am pretty quick to place them on pedestals. I mean, come on, that’s not a place to be AT ALL. Imagine being my friend and the recipient of this, the unbearable pressure of being labelled PERFECT. For a while I thought “oh hell NO!” and gasped in horror at the possibility that I may subject those I hold dear to the devastatingly high standards my Inner Tyrant has me failing against all the time. What if this is what I do to those I love? Setting them up to fail every time? Now, that’s a terrifying thought.
I guess this lesson landed on me with the impact of aforementioned brick crashing down on me from a great height. Someone fell off their pedestal, let me down and I’ve been so ANGRY. I’ve felt used, taken advantage of and actually mistreated. Oh yes, I’ve been a black ball of resentment.
Can I not accept friends as humans every bit as flawed as I am? Am I collecting perfect, faultless, godlike robots?
No, I’m not. I don’t consider the two friends mentioned above as perfect. I absolutely accept they have flaws and shortcomings as part of who they are, and I wouldn’t have them any other way. And that’s what I’ve been pondering and I think the answer is the one I keep coming back to again and again: boundaries.
On Anna Island there is a drawbridge and I’m in charge of it. But the likes of Lady Berocca, Pants-Over-Tights, Lopez, Cherokee, Sunbeam and those other souls don’t just NOT wreak havoc once they’ve trundled across the drawbridge, they usually bring a gift. It’s a two-way street. None of them have to arrive with gifts, obviously. They can rock up and be shitty and moody and grumpy or whatever state they may be in. The point is, I can rock up at their islands in the same way – just as I am and whatever it is I’m feeling. That’s friendship, no? Good days and bad days. For better and for worse. Solid.
Therein lies the difference. And that’s where what felt like a brick turned into manna.
Lady Berocca described it so well and I think it’s actually a skill: “I am careful with where I place my trust and know how far I’m willing to go“. Pants-Over-Tights drew my attention to how it’s not me who has to change (except for bloody letting this go!) and how … yes, the street analogy again … my side of the street is clean and that’s a good thing.
And so the manna that fell from heaven: not my circus, not my monkeys. Once bitten, twice shy. Can I look at how I navigated what set this lesson in motion with a sense of integrity and knowing I did what was right? Yes, absolutely. Is it my responsibility to harbour anger because of someone else’s choices? Nah.
Oh hell no!
Hand on heart, I’m still pissed off. I’m still pissed off because it hurt. But as I emerge from my slowly dissipating ball of resentment (it’s kind of grey-is now), I am an experience richer and that’s a gift.
Today I’m not going to drink.