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Entry date: 8-14-2022 - If I split myself into tiny healing particles of joy - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

The other day I wrote about how I want to focus more on the important things in life. Maybe that is because I realize I am more than halfway down the line. It might also be from getting burned so many times by people who were just using me for one thing or another.

I think it is a combination of those things and just getting smarter. The world or life or whatever giant word you want to describe this thing called being conscious and alive is not set up for people like me to succeed. It is set up for people like me to be used up and thrown away.

I am a dime a dozen in the eyes of the average leader if I allow myself to be treated as such.

I can no longer accept that path.

Heavy thoughts for a Sunday morning, but that’s the way I am rolling right now. I’ve been thinking a lot about a friend of mine who I love dearly. He’s going through a very tough time, and I want to be helpful, but… there is only so much I can do.

I’ve chosen to remind him on a semi-regular basis that I am here and in his corner. I’m not going to butt into his life, though, and try to fix what I cannot fix. He’s gone through a lot of things I have no real reference for except that I got a little of it on me because he went through it. I can be empathetic to a point, but I truly don’t understand some of the feelings he is having outside of knowing how those feelings might impact me.

Part of the choice, though, to be here from afar is also self-preservation. We all have those people in our lives that take more than they give. Those people who we may love to talk to but sometimes sit back and realize the entire conversation was about them. It may be hard to believe now that I am well over 200 days of writing about myself, but I don’t really like talking about myself.

I don’t want conversations with the people I like talking with to be all about me. I like to tell others about my daily life, sure, and I like sharing an amusing anecdote like the next guy, but I also want to learn about you. I’m interested. That’s why I set up a forum here. I want people to feel comfortable sharing, too. Communication is a two-way street and listening, in my opinion, is way more important than talking.

It sounds harsher than it is to say that I look at self-preservation when it comes to how I choose to involve myself in the lives of others. My friend in question should know, by this time, that I’ll be there no matter what if I can. I’ll listen. I’ll offer advice if asked. I may even say, “Shut the fuck up. Do you hear yourself?” if I think that will help. A good friend will do that for you.

A good friend, though, also knows how to establish healthy boundaries. I could wrap myself up in worrying about him for hours if I felt like it. I could talk to our mutual friends and try to come up with some sort of plan to save him from himself. I could even try to rile people up to join some sort of “tough-love train.”

That never helped in the past, though, so why would it help now? Those kinds of shenanigans certainly never helped me. It only got people pissed off at me.

Years ago, one of my friends was a mess and horribly abusing drugs. Some of you reading this are probably thinking, “Wait, is he talking about me?” Don’t worry. He probably doesn’t read this blog, so it’s not you, but even if it is, keep reading.

I was legitimately concerned for him and the situation he was in. His behavior was impacting a lot of people and I said to a mutual friend, “If he’s smoking crack again, that’s fucked up.”

Within a day or so, he wasn’t speaking to me and didn’t for a long time because he thought I said that he was “Fucked up.” Don’t get me wrong. Crack smoking is fucked up. Scary, evil, nasty stuff. What I learned from this experience, though, was that even with the best intentions, you can get your dick knocked in the dirt. It hurt to have him be mad at me and not speaking to me.

Was that worse than the fear I felt about him possibly OD’ing and having to go to his funeral? Was it worse than the thought of having to go through life without him? No, but it hurt. I wasn’t talking shit, just like I am not talking shit now. I also didn’t help the situation by talking about him to someone else who cared for him, too.

Healthy boundaries are being open and honest when you can and staying the hell away when you have to protect yourself. Healthy boundaries are for both people in the relationship to feel safe, not just one. Feeling safe is not a bad thing. It is good. Really good.

Feeling safe doesn’t make you less than. It allows you to use your power to the best of your ability and be the best you that you can be. It allows for creativity and growth and, yes, even pain because these things are often painful. My buddy, right now, has such a huge opportunity ahead of him for some awesome growth and healthy change, but it is going to hurt.

I can’t be the one to tell him that, though, because it doesn’t mean as much coming from me as it will mean when he figures it out himself. I might as well say, “Rub some dirt on it. It’ll be okay.”

I sit here on a Sunday powerless to make his world safe except to be a safe person for him when he is ready to reach out. I hope he does. I will be here.

See you tomorrow.

I love this place.

21 views2 comments


Aug 15, 2022

Looks like the Chicago River…

Great post Tom. Really may hit home with a few of us that just need to ‘rub some dirt on it,’ and get a move on. Your words are perfect and imma need to start my days off right, reading and commenting on your eloquent tales.

thanks for the fun golf outing today. Best!

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