Disappointment as a Practice.
Dog is ok...I think. Appears that she has a bad case of kennel cough and she was coughing so hard she was throwing up. Helpful hint: the pandemic has made ER vet services insane. If you have a pet emergency, be prepared to sit in your car all day and wait. Bring snacks. And paper towels...
It was an interesting day yesterday. Full of hope, fear, some slight panic, exhaustion and some tells.
I am always amazed by some of my friends. Checking in on me. Making sure that I am ok. It is always the ones who are the busiest with the most going on that are the ones that stop and think of others. Why is that?
I was amazed at how many people reached out. I was equally sadden by the lack of response from a couple of people who couldn’t be bothered or even send me a text.
At first I was disappointed. I was sad. But then I realized that is just who they are. They are the people who cannot be bothered to reach out and see if I am ok unless it suits them. If it works for them, great. And I will admit that I was upset by their lack of concern. But then something different happened...I got free.
I saw that these couple of people have shown me who they are. For a couple of people, this is not new behavior. They are rarely there for me. Periphery people who mask as closer. One person is a newer person in my life. And now they are going to be a no person in my life. If this is how they behave I am not interested in moving forward.
Yesterday was not some secret test. I am just awake enough now in my own life to really see who the people are and how they show up. I have historically had this wide open policy and anyone and everyone was invited in. Today, the door remains open, but it isn’t wide anymore. I am tired of the parade of people who take and give little. I do not want this anymore and turns out that I am the gatekeeper...who knew?
I am not angry or upset at anyone which is also new. I am somewhat hurt by one person’s lack of concern but for the most part I got what I expected. I spent time yesterday instead thinking about how I would like to feel differently about the people in my life. Even my son, who historically does not show up for anyone but himself, mopped the floor for me while I was at the vet. That was a lovely departure from the norm.
I guess what I am getting at is that disappointment has always been super hard for me. I think that I hate the feeling so much that I have set up my life where I am sidestepping it whenever I can. Making huge adjustments, excuses and the like for you and your behavior when really what I have been doing isn’t really giving you a pass, it is providing me an exit from the disappointment freeway. I HATE feeling let down. It really hurts me, way more than it should which is why I do not ask for help and why I do not lean heavily on others. I will go to almost any length to avoid allowing you close enough to disappoint me.
And I just realized why...
It isn’t about you at all. I have been trying to avoid seeing that I let myself down. By allowing people into my life who are there but not really there to stay in my life, I have created a life where I am in others lives but not really. It is kind of "in name only" thing. And that, it turns out, is very sad. And I have been avoiding that for years. Not seeing that I allowed you in, allowed you to give me little and then make excuses for you if you are so egregious not to make your own, or to forgive or politely ignore your social faux pas when it comes to showing up for a friend.
Well, yesterday I saw what I was doing to myself. Clearly. Honestly. And instead of getting mad at you for the let down, I just accepted that you are who you are. And I do not want that in my life. And because I have allowed it in my life, I am experiencing the disappointment more often, not less often.
Giving you a pass just made more situations for you to let me down...all this time I thought I was sidestepping the feeling, and instead I was just creating more situations to attempt to sidestep. Fuck. Well that was some pretty interesting news. But guess what? I get it. Finally.
Disappointment is just another avenue to experience my life. It is there to show me things if I dare to look. It is there to ensure that I am paying attention to what it is I am doing and how I am doing it.
Everyone will let us down sometimes...it is just life. But I can see that there are several people who make it a regular habit and it isn’t likely going to change. And I do not have to be pissed, hurt or let down. I can just allow it to end.
I have ended lots of relationships in my life. And I can’t name one that I miss. Seriously...the endings came in their own time and in their own way. And my life was richer for the time spent AND for the time released. The time that I didn’t spend in those fraught relations was time that I dedicated to other causes and people. And that made a whole lot of other people better, myself included.
Life seems to be a series of endings and beginnings. My truest and hardest lesson is hanging on when I need to let go and letting go when I need to hang on. I am not sure that I will ever get it right...but I will continue to get plenty of opportunities to practice. Life is practice...and disappointment is part of the practice.