Every once in a while, no matter how we might guard against it, our mood grows heavy and a low tide funk sets in. That's what I call the occasional loss of energy and optimism; the weary moment that makes a person realize they need to step back and recharge their own batteries. It's not the Blue Meanies; more like their aftermath. I try to help friends when they're going through a low tide funk, and am grateful to have their shoulders to lean on when my own emotions are flip-flopping like fish on a soggy beach.
It's usually other people's pissiness that gets me funkified. Some minor irritation or major mean ass behavior will set me off and I'll have a bit of an old fashioned rant. It feels good to let off steam but I try to keep my foot stomping to a brief minimum. Then the funk creeps in as I digest all the drama. In a week or so, I'm usually chipper again.
I had a funk hit me a few days ago. I have a friend who's in jail right now; a nice kid who did a stupid thing and is rightly paying for it. His incarceration is not what upset me; I know a lot of damaged people who end up behind bars. Highly intelligent, this kid needs a lot of mental stimulation, so I've been writing to him and sending articles he might be interested in. I want him to think about a future that contains hope. He was studying science in college before he went in, so that's what I've been focusing on.
My ex-husband is a scientist. I don't usually have any contact with him, but he's uniquely qualified to advise me about potential reading material for this kid. So I swallowed my trepidation and emailed the ex, requesting suggestions. He wrote back: I think science journals are probably too technical for your friend. Why don't you try a used book store or a comic book shop?
What a dick. Cue the low tide funk.
In truth, it was my own fault for contacting him. We insecurity addicts gravitate back toward the black hole of improper relationships pretty much all the time. It's the nature of our unique addiction, wanting to propagate the greasy oil slick of crappy people in our lives so we can be in familiar territory. There's a sort of self-deluding naivete in our thinking, where we try to justify being a dumb ass. If I just give him one more chance, he'll suddenly become kind. My patience will have paid off, my faith will be rewarded. Instead, I just opened myself up for the meanie to stick the knife in again. So I got funkified.
Thankfully, it didn't last. I am in such a beautiful place right now: surrounded by loving friends, creating every day, no cannibals or vampires sucking the life out of me, no real health problems...a vast difference to any other time in my existence. Unlike my childhood, where I was forced to endure, or my early adulthood, where I was compelled to suffer, I have now chosen to be happy.
It's not easy. This is uncharted territory for someone like me. I have been used to bad or terrible behavior in almost all my relationships since birth and it's tough to value myself enough to change. But I'm doing it and the world is definitely changing around me, for the better. I don't accept negative people in my life anymore. I don't freak out when somebody doesn't like me, or try to recreate myself into what would please them. I am true to myself. Most importantly, I don't insult myself anymore. That was a huge obstacle to overcome, especially when you're witty about it, like I was. I could get people to cackle deep belly laughs at my own self-degrading, encouraging them to join in. That way, even my friends could hurt me because I was literally asking them to. Once I began to realize this vicious cruelty I'd perpetuated in myself, I took steps to stop it.
I'm a work in progress. I still have a problem accepting compliments. That's still difficult for me. I'm practicing saying, "thank you" instead of making excuses or laughing it off. Funny, because I adore compliments. I don't like flattery, but compliments are always wonderful. I have a close male friend whom I love very much but am not pining for. That's a great difference too; the lack of obsession, the absolute belief that happiness is impossible unless I have a romantic partner. I am happy enough with my own company. I don't mind being alone; I actually enjoy it. That's a milestone as well: self haters despise having to spend time with that bitch in the mirror. I have come a long way. I still have a long way to go. But the journey itself is fascinating. To lay down roots which enable your own growth. What an incredible thing for such a damaged, crushed spirit to experience...and all my own doing. I am actually proud of myself for attempting it, and for sticking with it. I'm thrilled to see the difference this effort has had already, and I refuse to be discouraged by my frequent stumbles along the way. I was once a suicidal, fucked up train wreck. Of course I'm going to stumble.
So it's okay to be imperfect. It's not a crime to displease someone who wants you to obey in a detrimental fashion. And there's nothing wrong with trying to find a way to help a friend in need. One just has to be wise about it. Good luck to all of you in your own sacred journey, and make sure to cut yourself a little slack. Everybody stumbles. Just make sure you get up and keep walking.