Periodically I find myself in new friend bliss. I connect with another person and boom—a beautiful relationship is born. There's that initial excitement, thrill, appreciation, discovery. I excel at creating bubbles around these burgeoning friendships, both to protect them from fraying as well as having that shiny sheen keep reality at bay.
But, that's impossible.
Cracks always appear in the illusion. And there I am with duct tape, band aids, super glue, desperately patching things, trying as hard as I can to keep it all together. To keep that fantasy alive.
To not acknowledge what's really going on right in front of me.
I tend to be drawn to people who've suffered greatly, people I'm sure that I can help, fix, rehabilitate, save. There was the contractor who spent the thousands of dollars I'd paid over months to build cabinets in my living room on crack. That explained the frequent disappearances, sleeping on my floor in the middle of the afternoon, the manic energy and desperate crashes. The trainer I'd gotten legal help for who blew his entire settlement on who knows what but but never bothered paying back all the people, including me, who'd helped him through a nasty car accident and difficult recovery. The media guru who only wanted to help me grow to the next level and then disappeared, quickly, when I didn't end up famous. The music teacher I designed countless logos and flyers for, recommended to friends, found song writing gigs for, whose self-destructive tendencies were insurmountable. The well renowned illustrator I listened to, supporting enthusiastically, for hours (and hours and hours), who permanently blew me off when I got a Barnes and Noble book signing and he hadn't had one yet.
And yet, I don't give up.
I can't give up.
I'm compelled, driven, obsessed about making these relationship work.
Because, if I stand back and see what's really going on I'd have to face who these people really are. And who I really am.
Why can't I revel in the love and security I have in my life? I am blessed, truly. I've been married for 22 years to an amazing man I'm still happy to see every day. We have two remarkable kids who've saved me from my self-destructive tendencies, who challenge me and keep me grounded in the here and now. A puppy who is karmic joy. A perfectly lovely apartment in the west village. My parents are alive and I know that they're there for me no matter what. The same goes for my brother and sister. I have friends who are smart, funny, talented, creative. A yoga practice that is my home away from home. I just discovered how much I love to fly down the highway on my bike.
I get to write books. I've had experiences I'd never dreamed of. I've learned, and stretched, and discovered and I'm on the verge of new things I've never done before.
And still, I seek out these destructive situations that break my heart. Cause such pain.
Make me feel like such a loser.
I let these people color who I am. Turn my life from very full to arid empty. I search endlessly for that last drop of water that gives me hope all will be ok in the end but it never is.
Then I lie on my bathroom floor and sob. Distraught that I couldn't make things better. That someone's life is still spiraling out of control and there's nothing I can do.
One day I'm hoping I can know, from the deepest parts of who I am, that I can't fix anyone else. And perhaps, instead of sending all that energy outward, I could nurture myself with it.
I can't begin to imagine what I could accomplish if I could channel this destructive energy in a different way. I suppose though, even being able to see this much might keep me from finding myself here again.