Last Monday, I met with my therapist, Tanya. I know I am her favorite because she always ends our sessions by telling me that I should write a book about my life. We discussed the most recent drama and Tanya said, "I am beginning to see a problematic pattern emerge here. You are too nice."
How is "too nice" a problem?
She said she sees that if I want something that conflicts with what someone else wants, I give up my desire and put them ahead of myself. It's why I will take care of a drunk person outside my door at 4am or answer a text from someone I don't want in my life if they are expressing grief or sorrow. I hate to not be kind.
I immediately thought about a scenario where someone I cared a lot about wanted one thing and I thought it was wrong and I wanted something else but, because I felt that asserting my will may have caused that person stress or anxiety, I walked away from what I wanted and knew would be a good outcome.
It started me thinking about other times where I did that. And I thought that is what a good person does. I was raised on 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. It is the Biblical definition of love that most people ignore in their every day lives but is very useful as a reading at weddings. It says:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."I always camp out on that part about if you show love to others, you do it by not seeking your own way, but by considering others interests ahead of your own. This has always been one of my core beliefs. I got it from my dad and Grandma and passed it on to my kids. (Well, I tried to. I don't think Lindsey got it.)
I had this dream last night. I was in my neighbor's garage sitting on the floor. I looked up and saw a girl I used to date standing over me and when I looked up at her, there was a drop of water on her cheek. I reached up to wipe it off and she looked down at me and smiled. I stood up and took her hand to lead her to her car and all I remember thinking as I held her hand and she was behind me was "Her hand is so warm and this feels so right."
I dreaded getting to her car because I knew I wanted to kiss her and we weren't together anymore. I knew that she was dating someone else and, as much as I wanted to and it felt perfect to me, it wasn't the right thing to do. Yet I was licking my lips in anticipation because I was going to kiss that girl anyway.
At the moment we got to the car and I started to turn around and face her, I woke myself up. My body had a physical response by not allowing my subconscious to even cross that fucking line.
I am bitterly disappointed as I'm sure I would have enjoyed pushing her up against the car door, holding her face with one hand and grabbing her hip with the other while I kissed her lips or whispered something dirty in her ear that would ensure she would be thinking about me all the way home. All guilt-free.
I can't stop thinking about it and why my body would not play along and just stay asleep and let my mind have some fun after all of the cares and concerns of this last year have been heaped upon it. How would it have harmed me to just have a few moments of enjoyment? I can't even violate my own moral code in my dreams now?
Who am I?
Then, I got the call I was dreading. Gail, my dad's wife, called me and said the surgeon did confirm his Glioblastoma. I really thought that there might be some chance that they may have made a mistake and he had some lesser tumor or something that was not quite as aggressive. But no, he has the worst case scenario.
And yet I know people with this same diagnosis beat their horrible odds and go on to live.
His doctor told him that he has done everything right in the way he lived. He took stellar care of his body. But the doctor told him the only thing he could have done differently was to be a little less nice. Because, he said, the ones with a mean streak usually live the longest.
I am sitting here thinking about how nice my dad and I are and maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. Life is short and I know I don't want to get to the end of it and have more regrets like the people I let walk out of my life, the years I gave up to a man I didn't even want and time wasted trying to fix something that was irreparably broken.
I don't plan on becoming an asshole, but I am going to start making conscious decisions about exactly what I want and then go after those things with laser focus and drive. If someone stands in my way, I will politely set them to the side and move forward with my plan. Anyone who is supposed to be with me in the end will be with me until the end. The ones that jump off along the way will only lighten my load.