Posted by: shelliejelly | November 24, 2009

Building, building

I’ve always prided myself on doing what is right; I haven’t always succeeded, I can admit that to myself. As I’ve grown older, I’ve been trapped in this feeling that I can somehow manuever the various, disparate details and actually create an outcome—my life becoming a mathematical equation where if a, then b will equal c. If I’m kind and loving than I will find someone who is kind and loving to me. If I do well at my job and am a good employee, I will succeed.

Even I understand my belief—a belief that doesn’t take into account or perhaps willfully ignores that life is, often, random and uncontrollable—is childish and unsophisticated. I can’t, it would seem, just let it go, however. Why am I the owner of such grief when I’ve done my best to be a good person? Why are people who are selfish and mean-spirited thriving?

I am solely financially responsible for myself and my three-year-old little girl because O. was fired from his job in July and hasn’t found work. My parents help me, but I can’t bear to take anything from them other than what I absolutely need to; they’ve done so much for me already. O.’s parents are worthless, and I don’t say that lightly because I believe in being generous with my feelings when I can.

The truth is, I’ve given O. and his family the benefit of the doubt for more years than I care to think about right now. Be generous, give of yourself, it’ll come back to you. For this effort, I’ve gotten little in return outside of heartache and excuses for behavior that’s inexcusable. You rise above and good things will come.

But good things haven’t been coming, and I know I’m not owed anything. Much of what is going on right now is my own doing, and I am angry at myself for not taking better care of my own feelings.

“I just want O. to have a good life,” I once told my best friend. “And I want the same thing for you,” she responded, saying, without really saying—you can do better; you deserve more.

More and more these days, once Sabine is safely in bed, I sit on my couch and stare, wondering how I’m ever going to get somewhere good again. All I see when I look ahead is more struggle, more heartache, more excuses. And I’m tired, just plumb exhausted, but I don’t know how to just let go and accept that O. is never going to be dependable, probably never going to have much to offer beyond the predictable disappointment.

I need to clear the rubble. I need to start from scratch. I need to stop the anger and bitterness from creeping up from my toes and grabbing my heart in a strangle hold. I need to let myself take care of myself, adjust my own expectation of myself and the world. I need to move forward, shuffle off, as best I can, the burdens that are no longer mine to bear.


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