Thursday, April 7, 2011

The One Where She Stops Being Polite And Starts Getting Real

I had intended for my next post here at WWYN to be a salute to Poetry Month, featuring poets that I enjoy and in some cases, know personally.  Still working on that one, but I had a few big ass thoughts to share in the meantime.

As I figured out with the last post about Facebook, a vast majority of those that I am virtual “friends” with I don’t talk to very often.  Perhaps you are a friend of a friend, perhaps I flew with you once and we hit it off and the wheel of scheduling fortune hasn’t put us together again, or maybe you live far away as I’ve lived a few places.  Well, sit right down because I’m going to get all interpersonal on your asses.
My life is currently better than it’s ever been.  I just agreed to be involved in an eight week course in storytelling, which is my creative passion, and I’m really thrilled about it.  Spring is FINALLY showing itself here in Chicago, and there is always something fun going on.  I am surrounded by friends to enjoy the city with and I have a job with amazing flexibility that provides me the time and the dough to really dig in to my new hometown, to go to school, to not just survive, but to really LIVE on a level I never imagined possible.
In trying to make the above scenario even better, I’ve assessed the relationships in my life.  I have been in Chicago almost two years and I’ve been putting a lot of effort into building a support system here.  My work friends are fantastic, but the job puts people away from home a great deal, which makes spending time together challenging.  I’ve opted to try to cultivate relationships with people who are here all the time, and I’ve been pleased with the results for the most part.  But starting new relationships has been an exercise in “What do I want in a friend….what’s really important here?”  Heavy stuff.  Here’s what I’ve figured out.
I was raised with one sibling, my brother who is autistic.  My parents were divorced early on, leaving my mother with some serious responsibilities.  She remarried, but from day one the message sent to me was loud and clear…..DO NOT NEED ANYTHING.  EVER.  It’s inconvenient, your brother is already a huge burden, you need to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  I received this message and acted accordingly.
Fast forward to my adult life, I've gravitated towards situations that were all take and no give as they felt like what I was accustomed to.  It’s just with this latest era of awesome that I’ve had to assess what I really need out of people in my life and the answer is RECIPROCITY.  I’m not saying the people in my life cannot have problems, in fact, quite the opposite.  I will talk to you until we’re all blue in the face, I will make dinner and bring wine,  I will hold your hair while you barf, I will put you in bed, I will make you breakfast.  Over and over until you are better.  I have had my share of problems; I’ve struggled with depression, and have attempted to fill up the empty place in my soul with booze (FYI as it’s a depressant AND a liquid, this is an automatic FAIL) and have had copious amounts of reassurance to get me where I am now, self confident and ready to take the world by the balls, most days.  But there are still some people who I only hear from when they want things, that are all talk and no action, that have a lot of redeeming qualities but reciprocating friendship is not their strong suit. 
I’m putting these people on notice.  I have no time for those with no time.  As I mentioned, my current life climate has never been sunnier, but firings will continue until morale improves.
Much like everyone thinks they have great taste and superior driving skills, when we all know that can't possibly be true, not many people realize that they are emotional vampires.  It’s just a blind spot we all have in ourselves.  I’ve had favorable results from being honest with people (a VERY recent phenomenon) and that’s how it will be handled, case by case, person by person.
I’ll close with a poem from Langston Hughes...April is Poetry Month!
Folks, I'm telling you,
Birthing is hard
And Dying is mean
So get yourself
Some loving in between.

Life’s too short to not have it be filled with the kindness and respect that you deserve. It's more important than brain power or material crap or a perfect ass. Oh, and Ice Cube says check yourself before you wreck yourself.  That’s some smart advice as well.

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