04 August 2008

thicker skin

i used to be the biggest crybaby i knew. i used to burst into tears anytime the going got tough, at home, at work, at play, and everywhere in between. i used to feel guilty when i couldn't help people and when i had to put myself ahead of others. not sure if it's a single bitty or a combination of all the complications that've planted themselves in the path that is my life these past coupla years, but something is keeping my tear ducts dry and my heart pangs dull and distant.

i'm at "home" this weekend, in a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere (seriously, the closest city is well over a hundred miles away), chillin' with my family, catching up with my indiana obama team, swimming my body into soreness in places i didn't know muscles existed, and catching up on a few z's i've deprived myself these past several months on the campaign trail. my first night in town, i went out with a gal who'd once been one of my dearest friends, someone i considered a sister (and still do, deep down where my heart still beats for others). and have since been contemplating the different roads our lives have traveled...

we were both super smart girls in high school, though i pulled off better grades (i had a parent at home whose expectations included honor roll grade cards while neither of her parents ever thought to ask after that progress report or probably even knew what grade she was in). her grandmother (the only person who ever really gave a shit about her) thought i hung the moon, while my mom begged the stars to keep the girl out of my life (i can't really blame her for being a bad influence as i was a willing participant in the obstreperous conduct). but i loved her (i still love her). she was beautiful, funny, and fun, and had a heart as big as anything i'd ever seen. her troubled childhood didn't affect my adoration for her... nor does it now, but today adds an element of perspective i couldn't see then.

i went to college, while she went into labor (a few times). i went to law school and she went to jail. i got a job, she took her place in the social welfare line. so many times, i tried to empower her. i knew she wanted more and better, i tried to get her to believe in herself (i'm a hopeless optimist after all). i tried to get her to go to community college, to just try taking a class or two (she really is as sharp as a tack). she told me, over and over and over, all the things i wanted to hear, about how she was going to start school in the fall, or get this job or that, all the things she needed to say because she believed i wouldn't love her unless she lived up to my success. but she never followed through, and i never stopped believing in her or loving her...

and i never will. but i cannot and will not rescue her. i won't be her savior, not until she's willing to step up the plate, accept responsibility, and make better choices. that's why i told her "no" tonight when she texted me to bail her out of jail tomorrow morning. could i? sure. i could go to the bank, pull $500 out, and bail her out. i could listen to her tell me all the way home that this time she's going to do things differently, this time she's going to regain custody of her scattered children, this time she's going to get a job, start taking classes, and be a grown up. but i know, deep in the parts of my heart that will never stop loving her, that it's all lip service for my sake. that once i step onto that plane bound for the shores of the western sea, she'll forget that moment she wanted to believe in her ability to make great changes in her life, and she'll go right back into her own ways. and i'll be disappointed but not surprised, and i'll still love her as much as i did the very first time she wanted to believe... but not this time.

though i love her as dearly today as i did two decades ago, this time i shed no tears, i feel no guilt, and i say no because for me it's right to walk away from the calamitous woe she invites into her life...

1 comment:

  1. As someone who's gone through something very similar with a former lover and friend, I understand. It's the hardest thing in the world to turn your back on someone when you could so easily help them--but you know that, in doing so, you're actually hurting them. It's the toughest call to make and I support you making it. *hug*