I am home. And it only took me 36 hours, 1 crying fit, 2 nice ladies and $300 to get here. Woo!! But GOD I really needed it. By Thursday I noticed that I was snapping at innocent people (like the food delivery guy for not having a pen and the children who have a school on my campus taking too long to cross the street… when they had the light) and that small screws were turning tightly in my brain, the pressure of which was forcing little bits of my brain to peek out from inside my ears. Kidding! And also, gross!
Oh, and the hives. Life just isn’t complete unless you spontaneously burst into bright red hives with very little provocation. Thank GOD for my collection of turtleneck sweaters!
I share all of this TMI to pretty much say, I am stressed. So I did what I think was the most proactive and healthy thing…
I ran away.
I got the swell idea that since it is a long weekend and I am not really needed back on campus until Tuesday afternoon that I should go home. Why? Because my daddy is there, and because Childhood Bestie is there and because my little brother still hasn’t successfully taught me to play Halo. Herein of course lives the problem; 13 BILLION other people also are trying to get to Daddys, CBs, and brothers. Can you imagine my difficulty in finding a flight? (36 hours) After deciding maybe I’d just fly standby and that not working out well for me AT ALL, I burst into tears at the Delta counter (crying fit) and 2 very nice ladies took extreme pity on me (or maybe they were deathly afraid of the tiny girl with last nights mascara running down her face) and helped me find a ($300) ticket. (In first class no less!!) As I finally settled down and called my mother to explain to her exactly how stressed I was and how bad it had gotten because I really hadn’t admitted it to anyone (she didn’t listen by the way. Not that I am at all shocked or surprised) I started thinking...
Why is it that when someone tries to tell us what’s wrong with them, what they’re struggling with, what their pain is, what they’re dealing with, we never really listen? I mean at best, people go into fix it mode. At worst, we dismiss their stress and problems and tell them they are being lazy, dramatic or selfish for needing time away. And why is it that, when we can’t quell our own need to “fix” things all the time and essentially are incapable of giving this person what they need (just someone to talk to), we are shocked and even mad when they feel they can’t talk to us?
I have never been particularly forthcoming. That I can admit. And the more soul searching I do, the more I begin to understand the reasons why (the subject of another VERY VERY long post). But also, my friends, the people that truly know me, KNOW this about me already. Which is why for the life of me I cannot understand how my wanting to talk to someone often turns into some variation of the “you’re just being lazy, that’s life, suck it up but let me tell you what’s going on with me” theme. Do you think this is encouraging me to talk? Now I am not saying that this indicative of all of my friends or that they mean to be malicious or even that they are necessarily wrong with their advice but COME ON. As hard as I work, as much as I stress, as hard as I am on myself do you really think I need you telling me to DO MORE?!? I DO NOT want HIVES to accessorize every outfit I wear for the REST OF MY NATURAL FUCKING LIFE.
Sometimes I don’t want advice. Sometimes I don’t want to be encouraged. Yes, obviously I know it’s not gonna be bad forever, that I am stronger than I give myself credit for, and I will be okay in the end. Blah, blah, BLAH. Most of the time what I really want is just someone to talk to, someone to listen. Someone that will let me talk until my words start to tangle themselves around each other and my tongue goes numb or I pass out, whichever comes first. Mostly, I’d just like to know that I have someone to come home to, metaphorically speaking, that is gonna let me speak my heart without feeling like they have to offer unsolicited advice or unnecessary encouragement. Mostly, I’d like to not feel that my moments of weakness are being judged or that if I tell someone that I’m tired they won’t make me feel as though I am being lazy or being a brat. Because I do a lot. Probably too much. And of all the people I know, nearly no one does as much with as little help as I do. So cut me some fucking slack.
I have a friend, The Great Houdini, who I work with at the radio station and one night a couple weeks ago we were talking and I was venting about some shit that was going on and I felt like maybe I was complaining just a little too much so I just abruptly stopped talking. “Do you realize,” he says to me, “that you will stop yourself from talking even when you have someone that’s listening to you just because it’s what you’re so used to doing?” So, then I felt stupid, #1 because I hate when people get to know me so well and #2 because I hate that I hate when people get to know me so well. I said that to say that I am not innocent. But I certainly can’t take anymore of your goddamn encouragement. Why is it that when our friends are going through something, we can’t just let them go through it? Yes, we want to save them from further harm, yes we think we’re helping but how much stress are we adding by trying to push them forward at the pace we think they should be moving with our “advice”? Who asked you? What puts you in a position to give such good advice? Shut your face.
Mostly, I try to be the friend who listens no matter the time of night, who only gives advice only when solicited and who distributes it mostly in the form of questions that will eventually lead you to make the decision that’s best for you on your own. I’m sure I don’t succeed all the time because, well, goddammit I love you guys and hate to see you hurting, but I try. So there’s my challenge. Try to keep your advice to yourself. Cuz you’re probably not helping as much as you’d like to believe you are. Watching Dr. Phil does not make you a people expert. Hell, BEING Dr. Phil hasn’t made him one.
So anyway, now I’m gonna go downstairs to the kitchen and ignore my daddy yelling at me when I sit my “big ole Georgia booty on his countertops” and watch him cook. Why? Because I wanna see my daddy, because I am happy to be home and because the kitchen is where my daddy and I do most of our talking and it truly is the heart of our house. And because when I tell him that I’m tired or burnt out all he ever says to me is, “I know. And I’m proud of you anyway.”