As you can tell from my post twenty five, it was a rough birthday. Most of them have been rough for me, but this one was like the culmination of twenty five years of sharp, pointy disappointments on what is supposed to be a celebration marking the fact that I came to exist. It’s been a difficult time of year for me, similar to holidays, but when it’s your birthday and all the focus is on it being your day–except it isn’t, and no one really cares that much–it sears your heart a little. I was still raw from all those swirly knife emotions in the story I’m about to tell, so bear that in mind when you judge me however harshly for what I say…
The day after I had been home all day crying and journaling and reading and I went to my CODA group that night and shared about how I was struggling with all those heart stabby feelings [at this point–hah!–I was just trying to keep the metaphor going, I admit it.. it became a challenge] and I cried a lot and said how I realized my parents weren’t going to be able to go back and change my childhood, and the transition into adulthood twenty five felt like, solidified that belief and made it a reality–one that I knew in my head, but not in my heart, and the acceptance & reconciliation of that “knowing” was really painful. My group was really supportive and loving and kind and related with me and accepted me for where I was at and I really appreciated them, it was a really safe, repairing moment–plus my best friend was really solidly there for me the day before. I left feeling super grateful.
Grateful, but not quite my collected self. When I reached my driveway a van was parked at the front and I couldn’t pull in. This may not seem like a significant issue, but it’s a huge pet peeve of mine and the majority of the street was empty. I parked and asked the person standing near the van to please move it so I could pull in. He ran to get the keys, and came back to tell me that he couldn’t retrieve them from the owner because he was moving a couch, begrudgingly I parked on the street. I brought my dog out for a walk and the driver was there, I confronted him as reasonably as I could…
Me: Sir, can you please move your car? You’re blocking my space and I need to pull in.
Driver: standing outside my neighbor’s house. We’re moving a couch.
Me: Okay. Well, I need to pull in and this isn’t the neighbor’s driveway.
Driver: downward eyes, crossed arms, condescending tone Hmph. Well ma’am where would you like me to park? We’re moving a couch.
Me: I don’t fucking care! Any where else! *deep breath* The street.
Neighbor: walks outside.
Me: Polite, polite..be polite. Hey, I understand you’re moving a couch, but it’s not okay for you to just park here and block our driveway. Please don’t tell people they can park here in the future.
Neighbor: Smug look, condescending tone, puts hand up in my face. I’m not parked in your driveway. Walks away holding his girlfriends hand while she smiles and gazes at his face, seemingly proud of the way he’s just disrespected me. I think to myself he’s probably going to beat her at some point, then she won’t be so fucking blind.
Me: *Aneurism* Pacing back and forth, holding my head in my hands mumbling and repeating over and over Oh my god, what a dick, it doesn’t matter how fucking reasonable you are to people or how patient and soft you are, cos dicks are fucking dicks and it doesn’t matter what the fuck you do, they’re just gonna treat you like shit and try to make you seem like you’re the fucking crazy one.. like it’s just so fucking crazy for me to ask to be able to use the thing I pay for, they don’t pay for it! They’re stealing from me, but I’m the irrational fucking woman that’s just acting so god damn fucking absurd asking them to move their shit onto the street where there are ten fucking spaces available in front of the house. I don’t fucking care if you’re moving a couch, you didn’t ask to use my fucking driveway mother fucker, but you’re right, I’m unreasonable for requesting you stop selfishly using the thing that is rightfully mine for your mild convenience without asking. Yeah you’re totally the victim here.
Neighbor: Rounds corner with his girlfriend.
Roommate: Are you okay? What did he say?
Me: I know it doesn’t sound like much, but *recap hand in face story here* and I feel like those guys are what’s wrong with the world, and I can’t fucking do anything about it. *click* I wish I told that guy to go fuck himself, it doesn’t fucking matter any way. *click* HEY! yelling down the street after them GO FUCK YOURSELF! AND I HOPE YOU DIE! AND what’s the worst thing that could happen to a person??? ah! GET RAPED!
Roommate: Oh my god, Hannah.
Me: No, that guy just gets to go around treating people like that, it’s not okay. He’s a fucking narcissist, I fucking hate that guy. Yeah okay I regret saying that, I feel awful now, I never actually wish that upon anyone, but I fucking hate that guy. cooling down, yelling down the street again I’M SORRY I SAID THAT, I DON’T HOPE YOU DIE.. OR GET RAPED.
Random guy on the street: weird look at the girl yelling about rape on the street.
Me: Yep.. seems about right. I’m the fucking crazy girl yelling on the street while they get to go off and be respected and looked upon like nothing at all is wrong with their fucking selfish narcissism. What the fuck is fair about that, why be reasonable at all? Why be respectful? No one else is, and they’re respected for it. I’m the one with a fucking cracked skull and swollen brain from all the times my head has crashed into this fucking wall.
I go for a bike ride to cool off, and I think about how frustratingly hopeless human interaction is [as this degrades I make a list of five or so people that are reasonable, to disprove the theory before my brain implodes]. How, regardless of how I act and how reasonable I am I CAN’T make anyone be reasonable. *click* I CAN’T make anyone be kind, or responsible or respectful or act any way at all. I can’t control people. *click* Fuck. I can’t control people.
Somehow this shit turned into one of the pivotal moments of my life in recovery up to this point. I finally understood, in my head and heart, not only about my parents and the grief I’d been putting off about my lost childhood with the naive idea they were going to fix it all one day with an apology, but about codependency and manipulation and how it doesn’t really work. I finally understood that no matter what I do, I can’t actually get anyone to do anything, not really. Control is a lie. I thought I’d be disappointed, but it was remarkably relieving–I don’t have to try to be anything other than who I am, because regardless of my false self’s influence I can’t make anyone act how I want and I can’t control outcomes. I understand what my purpose as a human is now, and I was trying to be more than human, I was trying to be God. What a huge relief it is to not take on God’s responsibility. Control is a hopeless, brain trauma inducing lie, and I don’t want any of it except what’s really mine.
I wanted to tell this story, because tonight I accidentally [???] drove through this neighborhood I had found that night on my bike after a random assortment of turns. I spent hours looping around this private neighborhood enclosed from the city, crying and half looking for a fight to get out all my aggressive intensity. It was quiet, though, late and dark and no one bothered me. At one point I pulled over to make a list of the few reasonable people I had in my life, so I could prove they existed, but mostly I just looped under the hazy, low light cast by the globe light posts–I even nicknamed it globe town or something silly like that. But tonight when I drove through, it wasn’t the same as I remembered. The globes had been swapped out for a different fixture, maybe even the whole post was new throughout the neighborhood. Much of it was familiar, but It had changed, like I had changed while I was there–and it’s super cheesy but I don’t care, I felt such hope from that. If that neighborhood can exercise healthy control over itself to brighten it’s lampposts, than I can exercise healthy control and make some changes in my own internal neighborhood. I can illuminate my sight with some brighter lamp posts of my own.