Stand By Me


 

 

Is there anything that carries more weight with the human heart than knowing someone exists that has their back no matter what? If there is, I don’t know or acknowledge it. I have lived this long with love and friendships that have been, with a few important exceptions, tepid and surface deep. Those who are the foundation of me know who they are, and I value them above all others.

There is something primal and all encompassing about finding those few rare gems that sparkle in the depths of my heart like a darkly burning sun. They have my back. They will stay no matter what. Nothing of who I am scares them, or deters them from the living and active love they have for me. I can share my weaknesses and pain with them and they are unimpressed with my drivel.

These phenomenal characters feed my soul, and light my way as I struggle to stand and move forward on an as yet undiscovered pathway into my future. They are junk yard dogs willing to break the leash of civilization if need be to ensure my safe passage into unchartered waters. I adore them, and they command my unwavering devotion. They are a powerful few, an irresistible force of loyalty and strength that I will always honor and appreciate.

Those who are still standing when the weeping is over and the inner screaming finally quiets are the ones I will go to the wall to protect and defend from anyone foolish enough to cause them harm. I will burn the building, knock the walls down and help them hide the bodies. I hold no shame for that statement of fact. When I am afraid, and I reach my hand back blindly hoping that I’m not alone, they grip my hand with a resolution that steadies my soul and eases the barbed wire cutting into my heart.

There is nothing I wouldn’t do for these few who save my soul and hold a place of sanity for me when I have no hope of holding onto my own. My heart is a strong and overwhelming thing that I find hard to contain, and I don’t blame those not strong or vested enough in what I can do for them in return to stay the course. I don’t blame them at all, they are numerous and common enough.

But those who stand? Those whose razor sharp minds and diamond cut hearts refuse to budge from the storm I carry with me? Those are the ones who will never stand alone under any circumstance. I will rise as I need to to protect them. Behind, beside or in front of them. What matters to me is that they know they don’t even have to look to know I’m there. It’s a given.

There are many who talk the talk of loyalty and friendship and love. Too many to name. They are as numerous and as distant as the stars in the sky. The only things they illuminate are the shadows of those racing closely behind me as I stumble forward in a fury of change that most would avoid even acknowledging. I embrace these shadows cast by my  personal defenders. They are the real deal, more than talk, no smoke and mirrors when I look to them for truth.

I smile to myself when I hear people talk about loyalty as they’re stepping quietly out the door to prevent actually showing their true colors. I don’t mark them or call them out because they know who they are. They think about me at night when they try to quiet their thoughts before sleep. I smile not because they didn’t stay the course, many don’t. They say they will and are just not made of that substance which will hold up under stress. They show their colors and it bleeds into their silence right before sleep. It bothers them just a little before they slumber.

So yes, I smile.

 

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I’m Sorry Is Not Enough


 

 

This has been one hell of a week. I screwed up in a big way, unwittingly hurt a wonderful friend and got my ass handed to me. It wasn’t pretty. After studying the whole situation inside and out, I had to own the injury I caused. It didn’t matter if I meant to hurt, what mattered is that I did. It totally sucked that I had to step up and apologize for being an idiot, but it had to happen.

Unfortunately, saying I’m sorry isn’t always enough. Sometimes we have to let them speak. They have a right to tell us what hurt them and how it felt. They have a right for us to hear them and respect their feelings and take the punch to the stomach we feel as their pain drains out of them and onto our ego.

That being said, there are lines that should not be crossed without immediate action. No name-calling. No repetitive cursing or bully beat-down. Redemption is supposed to hurt like a mother but as adults who actually have the power of speech, logic and reason there is no good side to that kind of loss of composure. Now I do imagine that it feels good to rain hell fire down on someone who deserves it. I’d bet the farm that there was a huge sense of relief and release.

Hurting someone you care for on purpose is a severe loss to both parties.

Sorry, but there it is. I wasn’t trying to erase the wrong I’d done, that’s not possible. I wanted to “man up” so to speak and own my shit. I wanted my friend to know that I saw clearly how my behavior resulted in this downward spiral. I don’t think it mattered that I’m the type of person that bleeds for a long time if I find out I’ve hurt someone I love, or maybe they just don’t know that about me yet.

Honestly, sometimes “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. It deserves to be said and heard, but the pain or injury can take some time to fade enough to look a little closer and forgive. If I care for you in any way, knowing my past behavior is still causing pain is hell to me. Take comfort in that if you will. I am my own hair shirt when it comes to penalties for hurting anyone I love.

I have heard a handful of things in my life that I will never forget. There are words that have been said to me on purpose that I will never be able to un-hear. I am trying not to carry them forward with me, but it is hard to let go of my need to protect myself from those who would break my heart if I let them. This is a weakness, a cowardice that I will work to overcome. Otherwise, they win.

This time, something odd happened. I took my hits and understood the ferocity behind them. I heard the hurt and fury behind every word that stabbed me straight in the heart. I sat with all of this afterwards and just let it roll through my head and my heart. I let it sink in and settle. I even got pissed for a day or so because I owned my shit didn’t I? I apologized and copped to screwing up right? I did the right thing and this is what happens? WTF???

I hurt someone I love without thinking. They hurt me on purpose because I deserved it. I learned several things from the fiasco of this week from hell. Get my head out of my ass and listen to those who care for me. Do not insult them by minimizing their feelings of concern. Saying “I’m sorry” isn’t a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Dammit.

I also learned I have limits. I have boundaries I’m laying down to maintain the human dignity in any conversation I have. I’ll listen to every feeling, every sorrow, every injury I’ve created by any action of stupidity I perpetrate upon another. I’ll take every tear and jaw clenching description offered to explain why I am temporarily a low life, scum sucking piece of crap that needs to be lit on fire and put out with an ice pick. I can do that.

Name calling and cursing, over and over…not so much. No. Won’t be happening again.

This is the lesson I’ve learned. I hope, with all my heart, you learn from my mistakes.

Nut up. Take your medicine. Hold the line of decency. That is all.