Isn’t this what we all want to hear from someone? Someone who has our backs and is willing to help us outlaw out of town. Someone who not only sees our horrible relational situations but is there with the matches to help us burn that bridge and then carry us forward?
Well I have wanted that person...forever.
And I thought I had them, many times. Truth be told, I don’t even think this person exists in today’s world. And yet, it is a powerful enough sentiment that it became a meme. So more than a few us feel like we could use our own Paul Revere. Someone to warn us about the incoming horror, and then help us extricate ourselves.
In my experience, standing up for yourself isn’t a great deal of fun, and almost always leaves you standing alone, to watch the flames of the bridge you just set on fire, burn. There isn’t a crowd that gathers that garners support, there is just a great deal of smoke and flame. And then when the fire is all out, you stand alone.
I burned some shit down last year. And I did not stand alone, I definitely had the support of several people who cheered me onward. They listened, supported and helped me reach the conclusion that while I had no desire to burn the bridge, getting out of the relationship with the people involved, there was no way shit was not going to get lit the fuck up. And so it was.
For the most part, the bridges I burned, I mean, that is how they likely see it, like I burned the bridge. But in reality, there really was no actual bridge. My dishonesty about the relationships and how I felt about them were what masqueraded as a relational bridge...but the moment I spoke the truth, from my perspective of course, flames a lighted and shit started burning. It burned hot and fiery and within a few hours, there was nothing left standing.
As I write about this, it occurs to me that once again I got it wrong. I started off this piece with the idea that I lacked something, only to find, a few hundred words later that I was supported, loved and "ridden" with a great deal of compassion and wisdom. In truth, I had three women who provided me matches and rode with me at dawn. I am grateful to them all. I didn’t see them in this manner until I started writing this. I felt alone, but upon further reflection, I can see, that without their matches of support, love and honesty, I would have never had the courage to do what I did.
We rode at dawn and watched while the relationships I participated in, gave so much of myself, conflagurated into nothingness. They held me in the aftermath...
It has been a rough year. A lot of change, a lot of movement and a lot of work. It it hard to free yourself from the bonds of those who take without ever really thinking about you at all. I am not sure what I even offered those relationships. Hard work, yes, but hard work that is not appreciated and makes you swallow your truth, can those really be relationships? Seems like they defy any definition of relationship...and instead seem more like a place I hid out. A place where I hid in plain sight. Lived a life that was based on half truths and feelings withheld.
It would be lovely to say that the relationships I have currently are all based on integrity, truth, love and emotional transparency. I still have some relationships that severely lag in all of the above areas...but I am getting better, so too are my relationships. It isn’t an overnight thing, this relational progress. For me, it starts with me being willing to puncture and address the huge ego that says that I should not feel jealous, angry, envious or lustful. It starts with having to have my shields up all the time in order to withstand the constant blows to my defenses. And then it became a way of life, that I have been working diligently to untangle ever since.
It began with my own riding at dawn...jumping on horseback and riding through the confines of my mind, alerting myself to the inequities, the misguided attempts, the places where I fall way short of what and who I really am. It all started when I had a few good friends show up for me with matches in hand, encouraging me to stand up for myself, light the match, ignite the bridge and ride on...
Really nothing in my life I have done alone. Everything I have done with a great amount of help, of love, of fury and madness. I have walked the path, my own solitary path, with the assistance and support of many. We ride at dawn, because that is just how this whole sober thing works. We drink, we die. If we are to live, we show up and serve, each to the other, helping each other wander our own paths with guideposts and sometimes with matches when really the only way to never go back, is to seal off the exit, burn it down, so that going back is no longer an option.
Fuck, I am grateful for all the assistance, love and grace along the way. And I am grateful for the dawn rides, and the matches and how beautiful fire looks in your rearview.