I’m a processor. A slow one at that. Even worse, quite frequently I am an external processor. Which means, I will ramble endlessly at times to attempt to figure out, well, anything. It just takes me time. But hey, you get a blog out of it. However, this is precisely the reason I suck to such greatness at video games and make my son completely mental. He processes, well, everything, at the speed of light. Maybe faster.
Me: Which Zombie should I kill first? How will killing said Zombie benefit me? Which is the best method to kill the Zombie? Will I get blood on me?
Son: Already killed all Zombies. Reloaded. Waiting for me on the corner.
But when it comes to processing relationships of all kinds, I swear it can take me years. I’ve learned to finally listen to something and that is my heart and when I walk away from someone, I question myself, how was I left feeling?
In my trek from California to Florida, I’ve made a month long pit-stop in Texas where I grew up and where my family is. I worried at first it would be this huge curse. I’m still very much task oriented. I’m actually not big on drawing things out which doesn’t mesh well with my inability to process. But staying in Texas has turned out to be this little processing Oasis. And now more than ever I’m realizing how much I needed it.
And the reason being is because certain people in California left me worse for the wear and I didn’t realize quite how much until I stopped and processed it all. Now, before you start preaching at me with previous posts, yes, I know I am the one fully responsible for how I feel. But I also know that a simple drip of water on a piece of rock long enough can leave a big hole.
I’ve spent time with my family. Which now more than ever I realize how much they mean to me and how very important those roots are. Mainly, my sister. Who fills the role of mother in my life. My sister has always, every single time, left me better than when she found me. I walk away with batteries charged and I hope she feels the same way. We are good for each other. She leaves me better.
I’ve also spent time with old friends from High School. Which I’m at the age now all of our kids are graduating High School, so it’s been a while. But when I was in school I didn’t run in big crowds, it was me and my best friend Debbie. Through my entire High School years Debbie always, always, left me better. She was a rock and a fortress for me. I wouldn’t have had the success I did at that time had I not known her. And spending time with her has been like stepping right back in to those moments, except this time I truly appreciate how special she is and was to me back then and how damn lucky I was to have met her. She always leaves me better.
I’ve reconnected with another friend from back in the day, that I’m getting to know again and it’s the exact same feeling. Every time I walk away I process the fact that I’m feeling nothing short of grateful for that time. I walk away better.
I’ve gone through breakups that have left me better and some, much, much worse. As I’ve gotten older I began to realize how it’s alright to purge people from your life. You really don’t have to be everyone’s friend. There are a lot of toxic people. And sometimes it takes me so long to figure out their toxicity levels. But you can safely let people go about their merry way. So many times I’ll fight to keep people in my life. But if you have to fight that hard to keep someone in your life and it’s people who don’t leave you for the better, why do you have them in your life in the first place?
I just no longer have the time and patience for it. Even if it takes me a while to figure it out.
I understand there are some people where you have no choice. It may be a coworker or a family member and you are pretty much stuck with them. I’ve never made it a secret concerning my feelings for my dad, who my sister also cares for since he had a debilitating stroke a decade ago. For the most part I stay out of his way mostly to avoid the verbal daggers. But watching how my sister handles him, I’ve learned a great lesson. She is leaving him better than she found him regardless of what he may or may not “deserve”.
The other night I took my phone and my Jawbone speaker and I plopped down next to him on the sofa at which point he began to criticize my cat parenting and in the middle of his comments I began to play his favorite music very loudly. He has great difficulty hearing. Communicating is…interesting. Last night I asked, Dad do you need anything? At which point he replies, Ok, on Wednesday.
But as I began playing “his” music for him, he lit up like I haven’t seen in years. And when I say “his” music I’m talking about all things Hee Haw. I played his favorite song by Roy Clark called Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone. Don’t even google it. It will be stuck in your head for hours. You may die. BUT, he was laughing and singing and it was kind of adorable. It made me want to follow my sister’s footsteps and leave him better than when I found him.
Just doing that seems so small. There are people who do this on such a grand scale like a woman this past week who had been a prisoner in Auschwitz. She came face to face with a guard who had been there and is currently on trial. Her name is Eva and when she saw the old guard, she hugged him. And she forgave him. Talk about leaving someone better.
But it all makes me realize how very much I want to do the same for those people I call my friends, family and maybe even foes. Most importantly I want nothing more than to do that for my children. So many times people think that if they tear you down it builds them up. But your candle doesn’t burn brighter when you blow someone else’s out. And this world is chock-full of those people. But I don’t have to be one.
So when I leave Texas and finish my journey and even whenever I leave this rock for good, I hope that’s the one thing the people I care about will say about me. And that is for all those who knew me, that I left them better. I think it’s the only way you should leave people.