Let’s walla walla down by the mango tree (or not…)
There is an interesting thing that I have noticed in my life. I noticed it before I got control of my food. But since then, it has become more obvious. The more I grow and change in my life, the more the cast of characters in my life changes. People come in. People fall away. And who comes and who goes is hard to predict.
When I was in college, I had a best friend. She was one of my four best friends at the time. But after I left school, she was the only one I stuck with. She and I were incredibly close. Even when we both left Chicago, (her for St. Louis and eventually Charleston, me for New York City), we still kept in close touch. Sometimes she would go off on a long adventure to The Balkans or Africa and we would not be in communication. But when she got back to the US, we always got back in touch. We talked on the phone at least once a week. We did a writing project together. We visited at least once a year. I was the maid of honor in her wedding. I thought we would be together forever. But when I got control of the food, she disappeared. After a long separation, I found her on Facebook and she accepted my friend request. But when I wrote her personal messages, she ignored them. I didn’t understand why. But the longer I have my food under control, the more clear it becomes.
We humans are mirrors for each other. When we look at each other, we see ourselves. The good and the bad. The ugly and the beautiful. If we cannot handle what we see, we have to stop looking. I don’t know what my friend saw that made her look at me differently. But I had just made a huge commitment to change my life. And clearly something about my new life didn’t work in hers.
There is another friend that I love. She has a beautiful soul and a heart that is filled with incredible love. But I had to stop being in touch with her. When I looked at her I saw her letting people be cruel to her and abuse her. I saw her letting people take advantage of her loving heart and bright, beautiful soul. I had to separate myself from her, because it was too close to the kind of abuse I subjected myself to for years. I had finally started to honor my own life first. And watching her let herself be hurt because she loved people made me angry and uncomfortable. I still love her. But I could not look into that mirror anymore.
This is not about morality. It’s not about being better than or worse than. It’s about what I want in my life and how I want to see the world and myself. It’s about the lessons I have learned and the ones I have yet to learn. Sometimes I have to let go of people. And sometimes people have to let go of me. I’m on my journey. They’re on theirs. It’s not about loving or not loving. It’s not about judgment. It’s about honoring ourselves. It’s about relationships that work, and are workable. Or don’t and aren’t.
I used to think that people came into my life and “raised the bar”. That these people showed up and taught me to be the person I wanted to be. But what I eventually came to understand was that I raised the bar. I made decisions and choices about what worked in my life. Or what didn’t. And people fit into that new vision of my life. Or they didn’t. I am the most important person in my life. And I like it that way. I am the one person in my life I can’t walk away from. No matter where I go, there I am, if you will.
I used to have a lot of judgment around people falling away. I was offended if they left my life. Or I would create some offense in my mind to justify why I had to let someone go. Because how could a person walk away from someone they loved? Wasn’t that wicked and wrong? Wasn’t that a moral issue? But now I can see that it’s not a moral issue. It’s about what works. Or what doesn’t. If your car doesn’t have wheels, it’s not going to work. But that doesn’t make the car evil.
Since my food has been under control, I can see more and more clearly what works for my life. And what doesn’t. But I can also see more and more clearly that we are all just people in the world doing the best we can. My wish for everyone is that they live the best life they can. That they figure out what works for them. And if I don’t fit into that plan, even if I love them, I want to honor that. And I hope that my decisions about what works in my life can be honored. Even if it’s sad. Even if it hurts. Even if it just plain sucks.
I love you, and you love me
But you love you, and I love me
So let’s walla walla down by the mango tree.