Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It's called co-dependency

Yesterday was a good day. I read my new Jenny Lawson book in bed and chuckled out loud, I went to yoga. I watched reruns with my daughter. I took pleasure in organizing piles of paper into more -- though smaller -- piles of paper. Pictures my children had drawn for me. Pictures other people's kids had drawn for me when I babysat them 25 years ago. One of these kids, Mairead Case, is now a Ph.D candidate in English and Creative Writing with her own first novel, See You in the Morning. I am very impressed and hopeful that maybe in some small way I contributed to this genius (or not). Either way, I now have her brilliant signed novel and original childhood art and writing to match. Maybe when she wins the National Book Award some day it will be worth something on Sotheby's.

Speaking of art, I recently resolved to try more new things and take chances in 2016. I've been in slow motion most of the past year, doing yoga and reading books about co-dependency at the advice of my therapist. You see I am a pleaser and worrier. I care more about how others are doing and how I might be able to "fix things" for them than letting the universe just unfold and taking better care of myself. Not that compassion and caring for others is bad, but I can let my entire day be ruined if I think someone is mad at me or they are sad. The result is I've retreated, had more quiet time and started writing more. Lately though -- and maybe it's because I just saw the new Star Wars movie -- I've been thinking I need to have more adventure. If Yoda was real and my Jedi I think he would say, "Think less, do more." My real therapist would probably disagree and watching her and Yoda duke it out with light sabers or mind control would be a trip but alas, don't think that's gonna happen.

Bottomline, I am a codependent, with a history of alcoholism in my family and sexual abuse as a child. I've spent much of my life trying to make up for what I perceived was false inadequacy by being an "intense overachiever," "pleaser," and self-described "anxious mess." I can never stop caring about the ones I love, but I've resolved to start taking more chances, trying new things that may or may not make me happy, and in the words of Tim McGraw, "live like you were dying." Me, not you. At least I hope you are not dying. Is there anything I can do? Did I make you mad?...ugh. This is gonna take some time.