For those of you who have seen this blog or know me well, it’s no secret that I have anxiety. Actually, I don’t really have anxiety. I kind of own it. Like, I think I may have coined the term. And, it’s definitely impacted my life since I can remember. I made questionable choices for a long time, and I didn’t even recognize it. It wasn’t until I went through the motions of literally changing my whole life that I began to slowly define myself as a functioning human being. It was like I was stuck on autopilot for 10 years, until I made the simple choice to go to treatment. Weird how it all works out. But, I can’t tell you now how much I appreciate my life now. I had to wreck this train in order to put all the pieces back together correctly. And, I’m still missing a few. It’s a work in progress.
This is kind of hard to publish publically, but I figure, screw it. Everyone struggles; the only thing unique about my struggle is that it belongs to me. I’m just finally learning to redirect it in a positive way. And, with that said, I’m going to also redirect this blog post in a positive way.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to please people. That sounds creepy as fuck. But, it’s true. I’m a people pleaser. But, I swear, it’s not because I’m looking for love or validation. My family has always shown me a lot of love. I think I’ve always been a people pleaser because I genuinely like people. A lot of bloggers who write about their personal lives will tell you that they blog because they struggle with social interactions. I’ve experienced my fair share of struggles, but interacting socially has NEVER been one of them. Not interacting socially, well that’s a whole different story. I literally talk to every person I meet. I’m sure it’s super annoying. But, I take it to heart. I don’t know why. It’s who I am. I used to feel embarrassed about it. But, once I learned that I couldn’t change it without really altering my sense of the world, I also learned to embrace it.
After I went to treatment, my life came together in ways I could have never imagined. It’s almost ridiculous how happy I am. But, even before I went to treatment, I loved people. I know a lot of my friends and family think I’m naïve. But, I’m telling you, they’re wrong. Everyone has a different definition of what it means to do the right thing. Luckily, LB shares my passion for “people”, and being with her has really helped me to learn to love myself. Maybe, in that way, I was looking for validation. I had partners in the past who I loved very much. But, some of those people hated the way I conducted my life. It was kind of a recipe for disaster, and in some ways they had good reason to hate how I conducted my life. But, that’s a blog for another day. I’m referring to my propensity to stop and talk with every person I meet. I’m referring to this deep seeded need I’ve always had to take care of other people. Lindsey has it too, but we express it differently.
On our first “real” date, a young, dirty looking kid asked her for money. Most people won’t give young, dirty looking kids money because “they might use it for drugs” or because “they work too hard for their money.” Well, sorry to say this, but those people fucking suck. Who cares what they do with the money? If they buy drugs with it, well, that’s on them. Someone special to me used to always say, “Don’t worry about what everyone else does. Keep your side of the street clean.” And, she’s right. So, Lindsey gave him the money. And, who knows what the hell he did with it. But who the fuck cares? She did the right thing. I’m not suggesting people should go around handing out Benjamin’s, but I am suggesting that maybe we ought to spend less time judging people and more time giving them money for drugs…or for food, or bills, or whatever. Why is it such a wild notion that we take care of each other? I’ve got a hold of my life now. It wasn’t always that way. But, people helped me. Now it’s my turn.
My BFF/neighbor, Patty Keen, does everything for us. She takes care of our four special needs dogs every day while we are at work. Our neighbors Vaughn and Lori send us dinners and chocolate eclairs like twice a week. I don’t know why they do it. They’re just that awesome. And, it’s funny that other people don’t have those kinds of relationships. Why?
Recently, Lindsey and I decided we wanted to do something really thoughtful for Patty, you know, to say thank you. She brings so much joy to our lives; if anyone deserves drug money, it’s Patty. But, since she doesn’t do drugs, we decided to buy her a Tiffany bracelet instead.
LB has a Tiffany’s bracelet and so does Lori. Patty has always wanted one. One time I asked her why she didn’t treat herself and buy one. She said it’s because she is retired, and it’s just not practical. After that, I knew I wanted to buy her one…one day. When I told Lindsey, I thought for sure she would think I was crazy. But, she smiled and assured me that we would buy her the bracelet. One day. She said “We should save a little more money and try to act like real adults for a little while, and when the time is right we will buy her that bracelet. I was stoked.
It was like the time when I was nine, and I saved all of my change for two months to buy my mom a Hank William’s cassette tape for her birthday. I was so excited to give her the tape that I chased her car down the driveway, waving the tape above my head…and then ran face first into the wishing well in our front yard. Actually, Now that I think of it, that story is kind of ironic, with the change and the wishing well and all. Never-the-less, my mom loved it. And, I felt so exhilarated that I could show her in some small way how much she meant to me.
Yes, it felt just like that. In so many ways, Patty is like another mom to me and LB. My mother always says she was sent from God to watch over us…probably because she thinks we would starve to death or blow up our house if Patty weren’t there to keep us in line. And, she’s probably right. My parents live hours away from me now. And, Lindsey’s parents also live over an hour away. So, I think my mom is grateful that Patty is kind of a stand-in for her when she can’t be there all the time. See what I mean about all the love? I’m so lucky. Probably because I ran face first into a wishing well.
Well, I’m happy to say, the day finally came when we saved enough money and filled our adult quota, because Lindsey surprised my yesterday with a trip to Tiffany’s. I saw the perfect bracelet for PKeen as soon as we entered the store, but the sales lady wanted to show us a few more options. When I told her who the bracelet was for, she was fucking shocked. She said, “Holy shit, that is so generous.” And, LB looked her dead in the eyes said, “No. Generous is showing up to our house everyday to walk our dogs. Generous is making us big elaborate birthday dinners to make us feel special every year. Generous is helping us manage our finances, and it’s checking in on us everyday to make sure we are happy and OK. Trust me lady, we aren’t the generous ones.” In that moment I was more proud of LB than I have ever been of anyone in my entire life. And, I thought to myself, this is the person I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with. That’s generous.
LB’s mother is incredible and she raised her daughter right…that’s for sure. And, honestly, my own mother is probably the most generous person I’ve ever known. So, in a way, our three mothers, they are the ones who are generous. A bracelet from Tiffany’s, a little extra drug money (or food money, whichever), and a ten dollar Hank William’s cassette tape…those things aren’t generous at all. Maybe one day we will truly know what it means to be generous. Until then, I guess we’ll just keep doing what we do best…saying thank you.
“I just don’t think you’re defined by how much money you make. I think you’re defined by how you treat other people.” -LB