Tuesday, August 4, 2015
For the rocks
I feel like I need to write this for the "rocks."
For the ones with good heads on their shoulders but have their sound advice ignored.
For the ones who follow the rules feeling like they never get ahead while people who break the rules always seem to land on their feet.
For the people who feel so deeply but never let it show because it makes them feel weak.
For the people who smile and say things are "fine" when they're not because they don't want to burden other people.
I have always been a strong person on the outside and but a puddle of emotion on the inside. Some of it is genetic coming from a family that between the two has a mix of selfishness, stubbornness and a little self righteousness and then some where emotion runs high, sensitivity and good senses of humor. I am a mix of all of these things...some to my detriment, some to my advantage.
As a child, I saw important men in my life leave important women in my life. It taught me to put up my guard and to question what people say. As a fat kid, I saw other of my fat brethren get bullied and I refused to fit that mold so I used my height to my advantage and threatened these would be bullies to get them before they got me. As a fat teen, I was always the best friend when it came to guys. I was funny, raunchy at times and could hang with the boys. I was girl friend material but not girlfriend material.
As a child of divorce, I lived through financial times that could be described as erratic at best and scary at worst. I never wanted for anything but the constant wonder of if child support would be received on time so we wouldn't have the electricity threatened to be turned off, made me obsessed with financial security. I don't mean being rich, I mean just knowing we had enough money to pay the bills, have a bit of a cushion in case something happened and we needed money for a few months expenses. I was a fierce budgeter and that will pay off as we get closer to having our home paid off in the foreseeable future. I've always been told because I pay my bills as they arrive, have some savings and always enrolled in 401K's at jobs that I had a "good head on my shoulders."
I have always been viewed as someone who 'tells it like it is' and not because I'm rude but because I just always thought that's what you were supposed to do. If you saw someone was going to make a bad, life altering decision, you'd tell them because you cared about them and not just tell them what they want to hear. I mean if a friend was on the train tracks with a train coming, wouldn't you push them out of the way before it hit them instead of telling them if they want to stand there and hope things will be okay then that's okay too?
As someone with a decent work ethic when I had an office job, I was considered a "key person." I knew the office dynamics, I did my work on time, I was tasked with training others and when people dropped the ball, they would pile other people's work on me because they wanted it done right and quick. I liked knowing that people found me competent but I also got taken advantage of quite a bit because people in positions of power over me just saw me as a work horse. (Sadly the Mr is getting this same treatment at his job and always has.) I always figured things out for myself when it came to computer programs because no one could ever get back to me quick enough with an answer. All I'd do was look something up on Google, do what it said and suddenly I'm a computer whiz according to work and family. The problem with that is when you're good at something often times the only time people will contact you is when they need something from you. I can't count how many times my family has called the Mr or myself with computer questions under the guise of a normal conversation and then slip in the whole "oh hey, quick question for you." FYI- It's never quick, always irritating and they always seem to think we owe them our time instead of being grateful we helped. We are now to the point we cringe when the phone rings (rare) or we see people's names pop up in the inbox because 98% of the time it's because someone wants something from us. Never just to say hi. (And yes, I have contacted these people to say hello and start conversations with no ulterior motive in the past.)
All of these things add up to people looking at me being a "rock." Someone who is strong, capable, competent and will make the right decisions. However, people also tend to think the rocks in their life don't ever need help. That they don't need someone to check in on them to see how they're doing. That because they're private means they're unwilling to share just because they don't air their dirty laundry. It is true, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. I see it all the time. I see people who are irresponsible or post cryptic stuff on their pages hoping someone will say 'what's wrong?' only to reply "I don't want to talk about it" get attention at their seemingly never ending emotional suck of a life because that's all they ever present to people. Rocks don't want to be pitied or viewed as weak but the second we show things aren't going well or we need someone to talk to we get one of two responses...something quick with a nice virtual pat on the head to move on because if the rock is weak, who can we turn to or you get an armchair depression diagnosis.
The poor Mr is the only one who gets to see me truly vulnerable because he's the only one that doesn't seem to freak out when I need help or get overwhelmed. Even if he doesn't know what to do, he's still reassuring or just lets me cry and tries to be more mindful in the future. When I've tried to lean on others (people who have leaned on me many times), I either get a blank stare or "it'll get better...cheer up" because they don't want to deal with it or bring it back to them. It can be super frustrating being the one everyone sees as the person who has it all together as though we can't have our own trials.
I'm not saying all of this to get sympathy or pity for myself...quite the opposite.
I'm saying this because everyone has people in their life that are the rocks. The people who always seem to have everything together or are always there for everyone else. They won't easily open up because that's against the rock's nature because they're the ones used to being leaned on. But I challenge you to touch base with your rock. Drop them a message or text just to say hi for no reason.
Let them know you were thinking of them, all they've meant to you and in case you never formally said thank you, you just wanted to let them know they're appreciated. When it comes down to it, that's all any of us wants but the rocks get the recognition the least. They don't ask for a parade and they may even say "you're silly, I don't know what you're talking about" but in private, they do. They will smile...and it will give them the strength to deal with the future piles of poo that inevitably await them knowing someone actually noticed all they do for others.
And for the rocks who won't get that recognition, consider this your official thank you for all you do, for all you will continue to do and even though you say it's not a big deal, you know darn well it is.
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