Well now. I've discovered something new to emerge from the Gypsy Revival Paradigm. Didn't even know it was there, but it makes sense that it is. I had a glimpse of it a few months ago, but didn't recognize it for what it was. I'm no longer an enabler. I found out that I will now refuse to quietly acquiesce, much less lend support, as someone does their damnedest to destroy themselves and all that surrounds them.
For anyone who really knows me and knows where I come from, you'll recognize that this is a tremendously huge change. As the daughter of an abusive alcoholic, life growing up was all about keeping the peace at any cost. Adulthood meant keeping everyone happy no matter the cost to me personally. Bendable Barbie. "I'll do anything. I'll give you anything. I'll say whatever you want to hear. Just please keep the calm and don't hate me." Really... 46 years of life spent that way. What a crock of shit, eh? It's one of the things I've despised most about myself, but just didn't feel I had the chutzpah to change it.
Yet, without fanfare it seems, it has changed. The other day I was rather irate because someone I care about saw fit to take advantage of my good nature in order to fuel his self-destructive bent. (Relax, it's no one you guys know.) At first I thought, "Eh, I'll just brush it aside and let it ride." But the more I thought about the situation, the more annoyed I got. The more annoyed I got, the more I thought, "Well geez, Barb... speak the freak UP!" So, I did - calmly, confidently, cogently, and directly. In response I got a mostly feeble apologetic excuse. Normally, I'd have waved a hand and said, "It's ok." Not this time. Instead I responded that apologies and excuses mean very little to me (especially excuses!) and that action is the only thing that gets my attention. I made it clear that I expected to see change, and I absolutely demanded respect. I got a sheepish look, a hug, and an "I'll do my best" in response. That I can accept - I do acknowledge human frailty, after all.
I walked away feeling, not so much vindicated, as whole. Wholly myself, wholly in charge of me. I needed that. Hell, I've needed that for 46 years, haven't I? Some might understand the entirety of what that means, others may not. No matter. I know.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled