Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I won't lie in that there aren't some times that I'd like to punch my heart in the face. My whole heart - my wholeheartedness.
I am sitting in therapy like a good person does, because depression is like acne, in that when you follow the right routine and everything clears up you are tempted to go, "Look! I'm fine! I don't need to do this anymore!" and you are tempted to think you are no longer a person who has acne and/or depression, and then you stop following your routine and everything goes to hell, including but not limited to your face. And your heart.

I am telling my therapist about the astonishingly selfish someone who has popped back up into my life, the one that I would love to cut off from my life and never see again but unfortunately, sometimes life just doesn't work that way. Astonishingly Selfish Someone (A.S.S., see what I did there?) is yanking my emotional chain, and man, all I want to do is unhook and then wrap that chain right back around that person's neck. Not very loving of me, but I'm tired and I don't like being manipulated and I'm allergic to Passive Aggressive and I came to the theory a few days back that no one, besides your children, should take up as much energy as the person you're sleeping with. If you have people in your life that take up more emotional energy than your significant other, then you should ditch them.

Unfortunately, this theory doesn't work, because Benni is possibly the most low-key, chill man on the planet. I think a stick is actually more high-maintenance than Benni.

I hate my heart sometimes, I say. And my therapist gets it. She does. She knows that the life I live, where I lead with my heart, where I stay awake at night and try to think of ways to save yet another shelter animal that I saw about to get put to sleep on Facebook, where I get angry at injustice and devastated at death and loss and the way I wear my heart on my sleeve for the whole world to see, that it doesn't exactly make me feel like a winner a lot of the time. In fact, most days I think I got the losing end of the deal.  I tell her so. She nods.

Let me ask you this, though - she asks - who would you rather be? Would you rather be an ASS, an astonishingly selfish someone, or would you rather be you?

I'd rather be me.

So this post is for you. If you came here on purpose, if you're a regular follower and commenter, and you needed this today - it's for you. If you came here on accident, if you stumbled upon this because you were looking for steampunk pictures (that post still gets like 34 hits a day, which blows my mind, but also makes me want to hug the entire internet that much more), and then you read this post - it's for you.

It's for every single one of you who worries that you care too much, too deeply, about the stupid things in life, those of you who wish you could check out and not want to make things better or try to fix people. It's for the people who know they are being taken advantage of but keep caring anyway because what's the alternative? Turn into someone you're not?

It's for those of you who know what it feels like to love people and know that they don't quite know how yet to return that amount of love, so they just keep taking and you just keep giving because you are you and you will never stop being you.

We are told everyday that the cool kids are the ones who don't care about others, who don't look up from their own lives to make one iota of effort to make someone else's life ever so slightly easier, that the best way to get ahead is to step on others and eat each other alive.

I wasn't ever a cool kid. Never will be. Give me my heart, my whole heart, my wholeheartedness. I will wear it proudly, and I will be vulnerable with joy.

I'd rather be me.


Anonymous said...

I really needed that today ...

Barbara said...

I've gotten really particular as I've gotten older. (Although my daughter told me the same thing recently) I am weeding out all those needy people who take up so much mental time and make me feel rotten. I have enough on my plate with my own family. Doesn't mean I'm not kind or don't have a heart, but there are times when you've got to put on your big girl panties and make some life choices. I'm probably the only commentor who say this and everyone will think I am a cold hearted bitch.
No....just trying to sleep at night. I can't deal with everyone's problems.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'd rather you were you, too, because you're pretty damn extraordinary and I only know you from your words in cyberspace. so.
I wish you freedom from A.S.S.'s of any sort. and plenty of time to use your heart the way you please.

Alesa Warcan said...

Is that what cool people are and do? Not in my book...
Your definition of your self seems closer to my definition of coolness.

I've been called cold and frigid for being careful and calculating in how much I invest of myself in others. But I'd rather give more to those I love and less to everyone else.
My heart is finite and my energies more so, you are welcome to some of them and let's just leave the ASSes out to pasture.

Anthony Duce said...

Enjoyed this a lot. So glad you have decided to be you…

Two Tigers said...

First - thanks Phoenix for writing this post just for me! Kidding...but it all does resonate, and I am with you on the rather being me, even if it means yelling at my own heart occasionally. There are those who know how to handle such a precious gift, and you've found at least one in Benni, and another in me, and I suspect a few more just by writing this post.

Next - Barbara you are not a bitch and Alesa you are not cold! I too have become more selective in my heart investments, and I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Far worse the folks who suck the life out of their alleged loved ones and invest little or nothing in return. It took decades to permit myself not to give away all my kindness, patience, understanding and tolerant forgiveness to everyone, including those who clearly did not deserve it. You don't have to go all judgy or start hating, but it's totally okay to remove toxic or otherwise negative or draining people from your life. It does not make you a bad person, just a smart one.

Marion said...

Thanks, I needed this. I found yet another stray cat's skinny kitten in the backyard yesterday. I went and bought worm medicine and fed it cat food mixed with warm milk. My husband told me my heart was just too, too big. I disagree. I love you, you beautiful, big-hearted girl. xoxo

Bathwater said...

Now you are just confusing me, on my blog you told me not to be me (which sounds a lot like you are you projecting? :) ).

Personally I like the person YOU are, you do it so well and there are people who do appreciate the caring that you show.

Personally I don't think I do it too well, the people I pick just don't seem to care.

rosaria williams said...

Ah, the heart speaks and the whole body pays attention! Thanks for this. It feels great to read it; not so great to think that beautiful people like you are taken advantage of.

I remember driving home after an unusually hard day, standing up to crazy people, and telling myself, I'm glad I'm not them; I'm glad I'm me. I would never want their lives, never their power to hurt others.

drollgirl said...

what an awesome post! i think most of us can relate to this, even ASS types! lol!

many times i exclaim that it is HARD TO BE ME, but whaddya gonna do.

and many times i think i am a jerk and i laugh at the things i do and think and say, so it doesn't look like i'll be changing any time soon.

i guess we might as well embrace the inevitable unless we are down with changing! ;)

Lydia Kang said...

Brilliant. Yes, I'd rather be me. We've all got our faults, but hey. They're ours.

Robin said...

I read this yesterday and couldn't find a good comment. I referred other people to this post on my blog today. I think that all we can be is ourselves. I think we should give to the people who deserve our love and attention. Sometimes that means setting difficult boundaries. However, we both know that there are people who can and will suck us dry and steal our joy if we allow it to happen. So, instead we nurture the people we can. We make priorities. And we understand that we cannot actually fix anyone who doesn't want to fix themselves. Each person has to do their own work. We can only help them along. We can be an encourager. We can provide tools. We can share knowledge. But we cannot do someone else's work for them. As much as they might like that.

You are very blessed to have Benni in your life. He sounds like the perfect counterweight for you. Balance.

Jo Schaffer said...

(= Selfish people will never know the joy and pain of truly loving anyone. Wouldn't trade it.

Red Shoes said...

Is Benni wanting something from you, or does he just show up and cause you to question a host of things?

I don't think I would let anyone into my Life today that sport an acronym that spells A.S.S.... :op

Just sayin'...

Hi, from Brussels!!!


Chris Okelberry said...

Super post and super attitude. Never let anybody else be in charge of your emotions in any way...especially any A.S.S-es or other emotion suckers.

Thanks for the pick me up. :)

Snowbrush said...

I think you're saying that when you care deeply, you set yourself up to be taken advantage of by ASS people. I can but say that my experience isn't that caring is the problem but that neediness is what they use, right up until the day that they don't want me around anymore.

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