28 August 2013

Girlfriends, Themes and My Cats

Of course I was on vacation last week. Partially because I needed a serious break from work and how frustrated I'd been feeling. Partially because I wanted to get going on my apartment purge (I've given myself a two year goal, by the way). And partially because I needed some girlfriend time and it's so much easier to make it happen with the time off. I saw four girlfriends during my stay-cation and the conversations all had the same theme.

Everyone of the conversations delved into letting people go and when it's time to let people go.
There are so many reasons that we stay friends with someone, stay in a bad relationship past the expiry date and even continue on in a career/job that is dissatisfying. For me, I find that I will justify a lot of bad behaviour before one thing finally hits my 'letting go' nerve and I'm done. But I realize that, truly, I get stuck in obligation.

We've been friends for this long, even though you say shitty, flippant things to me and belittle what makes me happy.
He just needs to get past this bad period in his life and he'll be nice again.
She's family. You can't distance yourself from family.
I'm calling because I feel like I HAVE to call but I don't actually want to call.

I believe more and more that feeling obligated is a shackle around my neck. It wastes my time. It's not honest and that makes me feel twice as bad. It's not honest because I'm doing something I don't want to do. And it's not honest because I'm not accepting the person (or situation) for exactly who they are. I'm hoping the person will change and be the way she used to be, the way I want her to be...

How many times have we heard, "Just accept it. This is the way it is" when we complain about a situation?
We nod our heads sheepishly and agree, "You're right." Most times.

I'm thinking about this more for people too. "Accept it, Shelley, this is the way SHE is" hmm

If I accept her for exactly the way she is then that means I no longer have to feel the need to stay and change her. I can accept all her behaviours and I have the right to walk away because I am accepting me for exactly who I am too. It doesn't matter how long we've been lovers or friends or even family, time flies by too quickly for me to get stuck in the shackles of obligation. If a person is continually insensitive and I call her on it and she makes it my fault for her insensitivity, I have an important choice to make. She is saying that she isn't going to apologize or change, and she doesn't have to, and I don't have to stay.

I'm totally interested in the other side of the story too. It's clearly not as simple as me walking away or letting go of a relationship. How do I play my part in the other person's story?

My best anecdote is about the woman who took care of my cats while I was away. This is a woman who has admitted that she is lonely and doesn't have many friends.

There was more than enough food. I feed my cats crunchy food TD Cal that I buy from my vet. I got a brand new bag so there was more than enough. The bag lasts them a month. I was away for a week.

I feed my cats canned food once a week (even less) and they share a tiny can. I told her that if the cats seemed out of sorts she could give them two cans during the week as a treat. One can on two different occasions.

I come back from my trip and she informs me, "that's not good cat food. They like the canned with the gravy and the morsels."
Ohh ho Kay, so that means she's fed them the food that I feed them, goes out and buys them food (that they don't need) and feeds them how many cans?

I shrug it off, okay fine, I'm grateful to have had someone watch them while I was gone. My two grown cats are fine on their own but I would have been worried about Stormy the one year old.

She opens the drawer where I keep their canned food to show me she'd bought them two bags of cat treats and a popular named crappy canned food and it's twice the size of the cans I feed them. Holy Shit!

She tells me, "You should feed them this, they love this." She has the tone of voice that makes me feel as if she is saying that I don't know anything about cats and I'm not taking proper care of them.

Of course if my cats were kids, she wouldn't dream of taking them to McDonald's every day for a week. Kids love McDonald's! Well the food she gave 'my kids' was the equivalent of that.

I felt like I was obligated (the shackle) to accept what she'd done and keep the grateful attitude for her taking care of them. I was grateful, but seriously, they had everything they needed. She didn't need to spend any money. I would never leave someone to take care of my cats without enough supplies.

There were more shenanigans. She'd move my furniture around because she didn't feel that Gatsby had to eat his food under my work out bench. I, of course, put his food there because he likes eating his food there. He used to take his food in his mouth, run under the work out bench, drop the food on the floor and then slowly eat it. He likes to eat there.

And then she nit picked. She told me everything that was wrong, in her opinion, with my apartment. She asked me why I didn't use my work out paraphernalia more. She insulted the sheets on my bed. "These are not good sheets."

No stone was left unturned.

So I'm curious, it's the writer in me. I'm curious about the story she's creating for me to play my part and walk away so she can stay in being lonely and not having many friends. What part of any of this stops this woman from being lonely and not having many friends? Absolutely nothing. She must mean well?!? All I kept thinking was, "Didn't your parents teach you any fucking manners?"
What could she possibly be thinking?

I feel like all of this is a big thing for me this year. How do I want to spend my time? Who do I want to share my time with? Am I going to focus on your snide remarks when you say you love me? Or am I going to focus on those who "show" me they love me? What am I willing to tolerate? Do I have to feel like I'm tolerating something?

I know that it's all important because I've been here before. I know that so much of what has been happening with some people and what some others are discussing with me is helping me to be and stay clear. That's all I can ask for, clarity.


Here are some old blog entries on this old cycle:

Silence May 17, 2012

Clearing Old Energy June 5, 2011

I Want To Feel Good May 28, 2011


Sarah said...

"If I accept her for exactly the way she is then that means I no longer have to feel the need to stay and change her. I can accept all her behaviors and I have the right to walk away because I am accepting me for exactly who I am too. " It's the second part that's hard for me to learn: "I am accepting me for exactly who I am too." Preach!!!

Shelley-Lynne Domingue said...

One day at a time Sarah! ha-ha