Yesterday was an exhausting day but eventually we were all home, safe, tired, together. I am of the “no news is good news” school of thought, but I’ll appreciate thoughts and prayers until test results are back. Thank you all for the support.
Last Friday the world as I knew it shook beneath my feet. Mountains trembled, canyons birthed, massive chunks of ice fell into oceans sending tidal waves crashing through my heart. The details aren’t really important. What I wanted to share was this:
Usually, under these circumstances iron gates crash down defending my soul while I do whatever needs to be done. I function. Well. Alone. I can do it–so I do. There is no real need for Him to drive me, stand by my side, hold my hand, so I plunge ahead, alone–strong as granite. It dies not occur to me that help is ok. I don’t NEED it, so I don’t accept it.
This time I picked up the phone and said these words: Please come home. Please come with me. Don’t let me do this alone.
And of course, He did.
He held my hand. He teased me and made me laugh. He held me close. Most important–He was there.
And now I have been dropped on a train that is moving fast. There is a conductor-highly skilled–and I am supposed to let this person do the job. I am not in control.
It terrifies me. My heart. My breath. My sweet child is beyond my hand-needing something I have no ability to provide. I can only watch. Sit. Wait.
He holds my hand and we are moving together. I feel safe and loved and inexplicably calm.
Hold my family up to whatever light you believe in.
I’ll keep you posted.
I’m not quite done yet.
Your HoH will be wrong. Any authority can be.
Take a look at the long view. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
If you grow up in circumstances where authority can’t be trusted, rot creeps into your soul and giving way to authority is risky business.
Being an authority figure-of any sorts-is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. When–not if–you screw up, you hurt people. If you really screw it up, you can hurt them in their core.
If you grew up scarred, and you’re lucky, you learn to take care of yourself. You learn to recognize the false.
The sad part of this success story is– it becomes very hard to trust anyone completely. You might do a great job of faking it, but deep inside you know it’s your job to take care of yourself.
And it is your job.
But when you submit to authority, you should be able to trust your long term safety, your long term growth, your long term best interests are in good hands.
Your HoH can be, will be wrong.
Take a look at the long view.
It’s ironic, to be me, giving way. And at times, it is also frightening.
“You trust him, right?” A man in an on line forum asked me. “To know what’s best for you?”
I was dumbfounded. Why would I do that? Could I do that?
SHOULD I do that?
Eventually, I was able to answer: “Yes. I do.”
I spent much of my adult life helping wounded people learn to stand up and walk away from authority figures who didn’t have their best interests at heart. I didn’t do this because I’m a nice person. I was learning to walk away myself, by watching all of you who did it at my urging and with my support.
I still have to walk away, occasionally.
Sometimes the people you give the most power to, the people you love the most, reveal themselves in a split second. You don’t want to believe your eyes. You don’t want to listen to your instincts. You mutter the party line often enough in your head and you forget you saw that person, stark naked, for that brief, split fraction in time.
Well, you did.
If you came from that background-however nice it may have looked and even felt on the surface–doubting your instincts was an important tool they used to keep you fooled.
Are you always making excuses for your HoH?
Does your soul ache?
Trust your guts.
Your HoH can be, will be wrong.
Take a look at the long view.
Are you cherished? Encouraged? Supported? Caught safe in joyful strong arms as you come down? Is your HoH working as hard as you are? Is there joy?
Then take the long view. Enjoy.
Sometime the HoH is wrong.
I get it.
Let’s add insult to injury: the HoH punishes you.
Is it over? Does he/she turn in their badge?
Or do you let them keep it while feeling secretly superior?
Here’s the thing: Authority comes from somewhere. (I want to say up front this is not meant to be the seminal discourse on authority. I’m not going to look up definitions. This is me, thinking out loud.) (Maybe my nose was in a corner at the time.)
Some of us are either born with an innate air of authority or we develop it. But even that kind of authority has to be recognized before the Innately Gifted One can effectively use his/her authority. You can wander around feeling authoritative but it won’t don’t you any good if no one recognizes it.
We recognize authority, we bow down to it, submit, because we have to.
For one reason or another.
Norse marauders were acknowledged as authority because they had huge swords and could kick your ass.
Ms. Monroe, your first grade teacher, was recognized because another authority figure–your mom– told you that not only could Ms. Monroe kick your butt, but Mom would do it again when you got home.
Maybe you grew to really like Ms. Monroe because she didn’t make fun of you for crying when your mom left and you wanted to please her. At that moment. wanting her approval also gave her authority.
Maybe Ms. Monroe had a look that turned your stomach upside down and made you want to run screaming after your mother. Your fear was an instinctive recognition to her authority, and your powerlessness, as well as the authority the school–and much more important in those years–your mother–gave the wicked witch.
Maybe Ms. Monroe was a total idiot who spent her day tweeting. You followed whatever rules she enforced because of the authority she wielded.
At times, Ms Monroe was wrong!
She thought you stuck the pencil in Jeremy’s nose. Bobbie did.
You cried. You argued. You- -whatever.
You didn’t get to say “I’m transferring to another class.”
OK. Maybe Ms. Monroe was a total sadistic meanie and your parents did have you moved. That’s because some other authority interceded on your behalf. NOT because you snatched up your Power Rangers lunchbox and left the room.
Maybe Ms. Monroe really was sadistic and talked all the kids into calling one poor kid horrible names. You didn’t like it. You wouldn’t do it. Ms. Monroe kept you in from recess. She told the other kids to call you terrible names. She told the other kids they had extra homework and it was your fault. You stood strong and refused to knuckle under despite all hell breaking over your head.
You had your own internal authority you decided was the boss of you, not Ms. Monroe,nor even your Mom if she took Monroe’s side.
By the way, this means you’re a courageous moral human and I’d like to be your friend. I also wish you’d run for office, but I understand why you wouldn’t want to.
I’ve had a lot of fun with Ms. Monroe and could go on, but you get my point.
And there is an abundance of figures in our lives we acknowledge as authority for one reason or another. Religious. Law Officers. Government. Bosses. Pushy friends. Parents. Forces of nature. Culture. And for whatever reason we give the authority, we often have in our minds an idea we could refuse to submit if we chose.
We quit our job.
We say goodbye to a friend.
We move to another country.
We live in the woods in a bunker in —a less heavily populated state.
But most of us-
those of us with working emotional intelligence that allows us to be productive and happy,
do not snatch authority away the second we don’t like what the authority is doing.
And depending on the tolerance of the authority we don’t hurl abuse, throw china, jut our chin, cock our hip, stick out our tongue and say: make me.
When I was 18 a State Patrolman pulled me over. I was having too good of a time in a sports car. He suggested while the weather was clear and the road basically empty, I shouldn’t continue to travel at speeds upwards of 80 mph.
I nodded politely.
And when I pulled back on the road -because I’d had a fight with my boyfriend, a lousy day at work, hated school, despised my parents and had no idea what to do with my life, I deliberately accelerated to the limits that baby could go.
That baby- was the pride of my friend Brian’s Voc Ed Auto Mechanics Class.
( I stole this picture from :http://artofmanliness.com/2010/01/06/45-manly-hobbies)
Sticking my tongue out that time cost me $300 dollars. And that was in 1978, folks– when $300 was not easy to come by.
I was an ass.
I got a lot smarter.
I told you- I hardly even think the word asshole anymore.
Being human, means sooner or later, even an HoH is wrong.
What happens then? my friend (who has told her husband he may only kiss her ass, not spank it) asks.
In my twenties, or even thirties, my answer would be different than today.
Truthfully? Maybe even early forties.
Growing up in my family, the thing was to always be right. Argue the other person right into the ground. Use any means necessary.
Quite early on, I rejected that behavior. It wasn’t for me. That didn’t mean I was a doormat, or even known as a peacemaker. I was always willing to say That Of Which Others Will Not Speak. I didn’t insist you acknowledge my rightness–just listen.
Once in this long term relationship, I realized hanging on to rightness led to bad things. Tension. Distance. Anxious children.
And you know, that’s dangerous.
Use it or Loose it, right?
Ignore needs long enough and something funny happens. They stop being needs.
HE would never say he was wrong. HE might offer me a cup of coffee. HE’d tell me -while I was dressed in sweats, had hair standing straight up from my head and my nose red from crying-that I looked really pretty.
He would not say: “I’m sorry. I was wrong.”
I wanted those words. Without them, it wasn’t enough.
I would have my say (You’re an asshole.) and move on, furious, that once again, for the sake of peace, I would be the mature one, letting it go. Halos fluttered around my head.
And at least I did possess the grace to be grateful for the wisdom to shut up. While I did feel like a saint, I didn’t act like a martyr (very often) and for the most part, there was laughter and peace, support and love, acceptance- in our home.
You learn a lot here in Blogland.
In submission, weird things happen.
I am a strong independent woman. HE values that. Once, in a blinding snow storm, his back was utterly and completely out. He was on the floor, and not moving, even with powerful drugs coursing through his system. One of our customers-an elderly frail man was also out of commission and needed firewood brought in. Seven months pregnant, I climbed into HIS plow truck, read the manual, slipped it into 4 wheel drive (this was the old days folks-when it meant climbing outside and doing things to your wheels) and drove off down the mountain. I’ve also plowed for the first time–ever—solo-at nice months pregnant. HE has always sung my praises publicly, treated me with respect, and thanked me.
He did not open doors for me anymore.
Trying on submission, I find it awkward and ill fitting.
I try to remember to ask. I clamp my mouth shut and follow his ideas. I ask for help. I tell him I’m upset instead of acting like Iron Woman.
He opens doors now. Coats are held out for me. He treats me like I am a piece of china-not like I’m helpless. Not like I’m incapable. Like I’m treasured.
He has said, publicly, in front of the children: I’m so sorry. I was wrong.
I am well taken care of –that way -regularly, frequently, and always first.
So: He can be wrong.
I sure don’t say: asshole.
Most of the time I don’t even think it.