She came over to help pack. However, I was all packed out and made a lot of headway earlier in the day. I didn’t need help packing as much as I needed company. I needed a real live person to talk to, and talk about more than the job that was, the job that’s to come, and the life that was in between. I needed to talk about things that had been rumbling in my mind, things I knew I subconsciously believed, consciously had rational reason to believe, but wanted to be untrue currently and certainly on my next adventure.
So we did just that. My opportunity to let loose the rumblings came up just as she asked if I was excited about my move. I assured her there was excitement. It was just amid uncertainty, exhaustion, curiosity, fear, and desire. While I had moved past the nauseous I don’t want to go out the house gripping what if I travel and need help no one helps me anxiety, I still had worry about being in a new environment, being in need, being vulnerable, and not getting what I needed, being penalized for my vulnerability.
“I believe people try,” I said. I believe I have friends and family who try to care and try to love me, they mean to, but their execution- actually doing it, um not so much. She nodded. “I am absolutely freaked out that people will mean to help me, me to help me transition, mean to care enough to help me adjust to the new institution, mean to call and text to see how it’s going….I just don’t believe they will. I need them to actually do it and not mean to.” A scene from the movie 2 Guns with Denzel Washington and Paula Patton ran through my mind. She looks at him longingly (and I cannot blame her, it is Denzel Washington), wanting to be enough, and in her response to her asking if he loves her, he manages to say “I meant to love you.” I was crushed for her. Like, geeze, really? Just say “No.” Don’t say you meant to. You got lazy tryna love me though? I digress.
As I heard myself, I knew that my belief in intention and action were of major importance to me, more than I previously thought. Furthermore I knew that my belief in people generally having good will, was what allowed me to not hold people accountable when they said they’d do something and didn’t. I would tell myself it was okay and it meant something that they meant well. Over time my actions changed. I would ask less, expect less, do it myself or convince myself it could be done alone.
Those aren’t entirely bad theories. I think people in general do mean well, want to help, support, be a good sounding board, cheer you on in life and all that good stuff. I think we live in a world where wanting (maybe except for in our professions and after a certain age if you identify as a woman) is enough. Want til the cows come home, it’s last call at your favorite after hours spot, or Santa shimmies down your chimney. We’re also in a time where we don’t want people, especially the folks we love, to hold us accountable, ask and expect us to be honest and integral about our time, finances, energy, or abilities, etc. Some of that accountability and integrity would mean acknowledging our limits. Here in the US, we struggle with the idea of our finiteness.
It’s not entirely bad to bounce back after disappointment and to figure out how to get what you need or want on your own. It’s not bad to be as my one supervisor called me “resourceful.” It’s more socially acceptable for sure. I’d suggest it enhances your critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and productivity. It is a problem though when it inadvertently reverts to less trust not only in folks considered trustworthy at one time, but in people in general. When it seeps into expectations, lowering them and lowering them, until it’s mangled the roots of hope,and squelching connection, relationships, and community.
My words to her lingered long after we talked about everything from our faith, family, vacations planned, and what we believed to be our callings in life. Even long after I returned missed calls during her visit, upped the insurance online with the moving company, and threw a load of laundry in the wash. Even until today, after attending a new church, walking the six blocks past the roundabout to Perks Coffee shop for a matcha latte with almond milk and a totally gonna regret it later gluten filled banana walnut muffin, enjoying my window seat, sunshine, and knowing that it’s only a glorious 73 degrees outside. Because here’s the thing- If I, you, we don’t check what we believe from time to time, we slowly hijack ourselves from rich fulfilling lives. I had a choice to make after that conversation and even now, post move, post new job. It was either keep believing that everyone had sweet intentions or that some people do and some people will come through for me more times than not. For the folks who just can’t seem to get past wanting to care, love, show up, return a call or a text, etc., I can accept that right now that’s just who they are, and I don’t have to keep expecting from them something they aren’t able to offer. I could not have moved myself. I chose to believe the folks who offered to assist me meant it. Some of them did and some of them didn’t. Thank God for the ones who did! Living in a new city, I chose to accept the offers for lunch, Target and TJMaxx trips as ways to get to know me, help me adjust, help me connect and build community. I chose to believe when folks said if I had questions, please ask, and that all my question asking (I had and still have a lot) weren’t empty offers or going to annoy folks. My move and transition would be pretty depressing if not for a shift in what I believe about people and how that could shape experiences that reinforce that belief. With folks who are able to live beyond intention and into action, I would say I have been even more willing to not do everything on my own and ask (wisely of course).
So, as you launch into the last full week of August (go ahead and go all Macaulay Culkin Home Alone on me and smack your cheeks and scream) may you also launch into wading through what you believe and how those beliefs are influencing your life. If there are any that are sabotaging you, stealing from a life that’s incredible, victorious,and emphatic, you might want to go ahead and unpack those beliefs and craft yourself some new ones. xxoo.