People are tricksy. We are often: inconsistent, hypocritical, narrow-minded, short-sighted, irrational, inflammatory, overly critical, drama obsessed, and self-involved. And these ‘faults’ are easily the most forgivable ones. We are, in addition, often: liars, cheaters, haters, bullies, murderers, rapists, con artists, tyrants, and CEOs. Haha, see whut I did thar. But seriously, that second list is all stuff that gets filed under completely ‘healthy’ people. We aren’t even addressing medical conditions that directly affect one’s character and personality, like BPD, schizophrenia, sociopaths, pyromania, munchausen, dissociative disorders, ODD, OCD, delirium, dementia, depression; basically any chronic disease.
People are tricksy. And we need each other. Regardless of whether you see it as a choice, or as a biological imperative, people need live contact to flourish. How do we make ourselves blend together when we are so frequently heinous to each other?
I’ve often fixated on the deal breaker arena of relationships. Every relationship has them, regardless of genre. For most of my life, I had stark and brutal deal breaker boundaries that I never hesitated to uphold. Name-calling, lying, bullying, lack of communication…there was a long list of things that basically meant I wasn’t interested in being around you anymore. During college, I started to feel like maybe the dismissal solution (ie, walking away from any relationship that I felt wouldn’t be salvaged for whatever reason) was too harsh, and ultimately more damaging than helpful. I wondered if accepting someone on her own terms, even if they weren’t compatible with my own, was something that I could do while still maintaining the friendship. The answer, as it turns out, is yes.
There will always be people in my life who meld exactly to me; who have the same tempers, similar passions and humor, and honor the same ‘code.’ These folk make friendship easy and seamless, and are probably the truest definition of oneness as it applies to humanity and our species in its entirety. Finding them in the oddest pockets of life is one of love’s best and most treasured surprises for me, and I spend a lot of time waxing in my gratitude for them.
What I learned, through many painful relationships with awkward and twisted endings, is that the friendships with those people who are some distance left or right of my core tend to push my character in directions I wouldn’t have tried, but needed nonetheless. Realizing that I can enjoy and care for people who could easily shatter trust at any given moment is a terrifying and freeing concept when it is approached without the intent to walk away when it happens. It forces me to make my care and investment independent of other people’s choices. It encourages me to relinquish control and allow others the freedom of self, a freedom of my own that I protect with everything I have. It reminds me, at every moment, that I am not just me, but also humanity. And to honor both is to find a way to love both.
I think maybe our greatest angst is that caring for the sake of caring has lost its import. The value of doing it for its own sake, as opposed to a means to an end like money or power, has become lost and stifled under the easy lure of quick appeasements. If there is no recognition, no acknowledgement, no amelioration, no reward of any kind, caring must then contain its meaning, its worthiness, to its acts and behaviors, and not the repercussions or causal effects. If we cannot appreciate it and embrace it as such, then we veto our warmth, our compassion, our ability to grow and change; our humanity. When we say we care, we should believe it so fully that we cannot get through the phrase without tears, so utterly that we would follow it through loneliness and neglect, and so relentlessly that we fight for it at the cost of everything else. If we don’t prioritize our ability to care and its practical application on our souls, we will lose everything.
*cue dramatic chord changes.
*merge to more twinkly type notes.
People are tricksy. We are difficult and awful and unforgivable and hopeless. Let’s care, anyway. Because why the hell not? If we’re going to be ridiculous and bad, let’s do it together, rather than alone. If we’re going to waver between moments of brilliance and time-stopping instances of pure puke, let’s find a way to clean the puke, applaud the brilliance, and feel shiny and glorious while we do it. Helping has always been its own reward; caring is the necessity behind that action. People are tricksy, but I want us to be a clever conglomeration of mistakes that are worth rectifying.
I want us to remember our humanity, always.