Last night I reached an awful realization again. I come to this conclusion every so often, and make my peace with it; but then my Aggressive Nurturer side kicks in again, and I have to take another lap around the mental racetrack. So now we’re back where I started about a year ago:
I have realized (again) that I can’t fix you.
I can support you. I can call/email/IM you for check-ins; I can remember significant milestones and celebrate them with you; I can send you spontaneous cards through the mail, telling you that you’re awesome and I believe in you. I can keep phone numbers handy for other folks who might also be willing to be your cheering squad so you can get a break from my voice every so often, or so we can dispatch people to your doorstep when you need support more quickly than I can get there myself. I can pray/chant/meditate/burn sage/do rituals/recite rosaries/[insert your favorite spiritual/religious practice here] for you. I can help you brainstorm ways to help yourself. I can be your sounding board.
But at the end of the day, I can’t fix you. I can’t do it for you. Heck, I can’t even want it for you. You have to be the one who gets up each day and says, “Today will be amazing”. You have to be the one who puts on your own shoes and goes out the door with pep in your step and a song in your heart–or, on grimmer days, you have to be the one you puts on your own shoes and goes out the door with bile and rage in your heart. Either way is fine with me, as long as you make it out the door.
You have to be the one who decides to make good food choices. You have to be the one who decides to tackle all the Must-Do stuff right away, so there’s plenty of time for watching reruns of your favorite shows because all the Boring Necessary stuff is already finished. You have to make your own budget, schedule your own time, take yourself to the doctor regularly, and cultivate your own relationships.
I can’t do any of those things for you, not really. I mean, yes, I am physically capable of doing all your grocery shopping for you and creating your budget, but that’s not actually going to get you anywhere–the point of this entire exercise is that you are taking control of your own life, and my taking control of your life isn’t going to get either of us anywhere.
So please know that I’m here, I love you, and I’m charged up and ready to listen and offer suggestions; but please also know that it drives me absolutely bonkers to hear that you have skipped three meals in a row and then downed an entire pizza plus breadsticks, or that you have chosen not to see the doctor about that hacking cough, or that you have opted to ignore some fairly pressing household tasks (and we’re talking plumbing-type tasks here, not dusting; I have absolutely no room to point fingers about dusting) for weeks at a stretch.
I cannot fix you, no matter how badly I may want to. You have to fix yourself, in the same way that I have to acknowledge that nobody’s going to show up with a magic wand and fix me. My lazy side thinks that would be lovely, but my … I dunno, “meta”? … side understands that I wouldn’t learn anything that way, so it wouldn’t actually solve anything long-term. I have to fight my way out of my own paper sack, and you have to fight your way out of yours.
So let’s both fight, shall we? And maybe we can meet in the space between our paper sacks, and have a nice cup of coffee.