Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A giant boob

As good as I felt yesterday is about how irritable and generally annoyed at humanity I feel today. I didn't start out like this...I felt good and positive. I went to my morning meeting and heard great stuff. So much, in fact, that I began constructing my post from some of what resonated during the meeting.

Enter other people. Enter work. Enter other people not doing what they're supposed to do or what they said they'd do. Enter my boss's response to my benign friendly greeting of "good morning" with "we have no staff today", which is her typical gross overstatement of a few people calling out of work. Then an AA gal calls me and starts with her habitual whining monologue about how staying sober "is hard for me" - and yet gets prickly when helpful suggestions are offered. What she wants is the endless listening ear - translate "dumping ground for her shit" that I've been for years. Recall she knows I'm at work, yet her prickliness audibly heightens when I say I need to go and do rounds and that perhaps we can talk later (though I'd rather drive flaming stakes under my nails).

Shortly after, another gal calls - my dear friend and AA sponsor Lisa, who has stage 4 lung cancer but is currently responding to a designer drug called Tarceva. She had a non cancer related hernia surgery last week and needs to unload about everything. I know she needs me in the moment, and I give her more time than I really can spare - about 15 minutes - when she suddenly cuts me off just as I say something about myself, telling me "her other phone is ringing".

Just writing about all this makes me feel like crying. I'm feeling like a giant boob from whom many are suckling, and I'm about depleted. I'm frustrated because I was feeling so upbeat and positive, compassionate and yet cabable of maintaining boundaries where needed. Yet over a few hours, the boundaries have been violated. And I'm aware I aided in their breaching.

What this speaks to me about is that I need some solitude and quiet. Maybe not even for too long. I need to replenish my tank before I can give much to anyone else. It's the paradox of human relationships. It's more important to give than to receive, but you can't give when you're empty. I'm not bashing myself at all for being a good listener and striving to help another person. I'm recognizing that I'm out of fuel.

When I feel this way, I'm at great risk for trying to refuel in ways other than just finding time and space for self. In response to the endless interuptions, phone calls and requests for my services - either in the work realm or my personal life, I'm starting to think of eating something other than the healthy sane and yummy lunch I brought. I'm thinking of running out and getting something at the local market, and I'm not talking celery. I don't even dare describe some of the confections about which I'm dreaming, because just the describing might send me to the sugar bowl.

I don't need the distraction from my feelings that food, or busy-ness, or self created chaos so completely achieves. I need to stop and just be for a bit and see what my feelings even are, what they're saying to me. They won't kill me. In reading Loretta's post yesterday (I went to it from Vickie's blog as she mentioned it), I really got a reminder about not getting distracted from my goals and desires, but even more from my feelings. If you haven't read Loretta's post about slowing down and taking time to think and feel, do so. It's excellent, and in it she has a link to Ruby's blog (from Style network) that has another excellent message. In reading both Ruby's and Loretta's posts, I realize that my chronic "helping" and being available is yet another way I avoid my feelings and whatever they might reveal for me. In psychobabble terms, it's
co-dependence to the max. I want to say that at least that's a better way than overeating, but escape from and avoidance of myself is bad regardless of the method.

In AA they give out coins for years of sobriety, and on each coin is an inscription: "To thine own self be true." How can I be true to my own self if I don't know what's up with myself? To my own self I've far too often not been true, and though that's changed a lot over the years, there is more to do. This afternoon I've reworked my schedule and am going to have a date with someone - ME! ME and myself are going to just hang out, take a walk, and do a lot of nothing. Free to be, myself and me.

(p.s. I found the camera cable right where it was supposed to be. Who in the hell put it there???)


  1. YAY for me time. Sounds like not only do you need it, but you deserve it. So glad to see you recognizing that fact and writing about your unwillingness to do anything other than be very, very kind to yourself. Hang in there baby.

  2. Leslie, I had to laugh when I got to the part about your camera cable. Take some time for you! Recharge. I love how you are not blaming yourself for being out of fuel. It happens.

    Just remember to breathe!

  3. That is so insightful of you to SEE that you are out of fuel, and need recharging, and do the "blame" approach. We really do need to give out of our overflow, otherwise we start using up our own reserves.

    One thing I appreciate... I hadn't connected that being busy helping others is also a way of distracting from our own issues! Duh... now that you wrote it, it is so obvious. But I didn't think of it before. Thank you for that!

  4. I became aware of the "busy helping others" syndrome when I watched a recent Ruby episode. It was like the light bulb went on for me.

    Hope you get the rest you need!

  5. We should double-date sometime, you and yourself and me and myself....

  6. Yeah, Girl, unplug. (Step away from the cord.) All of that neediness can suck the joy out of your life. Take care of you first, or you won't be able to help others when you want to.

  7. Hi Leslie. I really relate to the "helping others to not have to deal with self" syndrome. My relationship with the Bear is founded on that very principle!

    Hope you manage to make some quiet time for yourself every day.

    Bearfriend xx

  8. It is hard to be the one people come to. I feel like I fill that role in my life often too. Sometimes you just want to be able to have a day without dealing with issues. I hope tomorrow is better for you.

  9. Yeah....my whole problem with sitting quietly and figuring out what I'm feeling instead of stuffing it down with food is that I usually end up sobbing because a lot of stuff just sucks right now...some short term, some long term, some permanent...and I don't seem to have any really cool answers or solutions. It's tough. I hope you enjoy your quiet time though....I hope it brings happy thoughts instead of the crappy thoughts mine brings, lol.

  10. Anonymous11 May, 2010

    Ahhh. The Giant Boob Syndrome. I hate when that happens. Quiet by yourself time is the perfect antidote.

    So, maybe, is telling people that when you are at work your silly boss thinks you are to be working on company issues--rather than your friends' issues. And give them a time that is appropriate to call you.

    May you find a quiet glade and refresh.