I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I used to pride myself on the company I kept.
“Your friends are a bunch of assholes.”
I would laugh and nod in agreement. We were condescending and rude because we were better than you.
We did cool shit and lived cool lives and didn’t care who thought the worst about us and we weren’t just okay with that, we took it as a badge of honor. We were the “hated and proud.” And it didn’t matter because we had each other.
I learned the hard way that passion is directionless. You can guide the raging waters, you can attempt to contain the intense flood, but it is arrogant to believe you are the master or your, or anyone’s, passion. If you are intense in one area of your life, odds are, you are intense in most other areas. And you can dress it up, you can do your best to suppress it but your enthusiasm will inevitably push through the crack and break through any dam.
I liked her immediately. It wasn’t just her amazing taste in music and movies but our shared hatred for most things that were clearly lame. We would scoff and mock and walk the streets with our noses in the air. We hated most everyone and we weren’t shy about it. Two loud-mouths with a compatibility in pettiness. And it felt great on a level I had never connected. She was more than my girlfriend, she was my partner in catty judgment. Her extremes were hilarious. Giving the finger to babies and intentionally throwing her banana peels around blind corners, I would laugh at how ridiculous and somewhat sexy it was all to me. She didn’t have much, but not one person would ever accuse her of being passionless and passion is seductive. So seductive that it often blinds us to red flags.
She kept it in check just long enough for me to fall in love, then the dam broke.
Isn’t that how it always goes?
It broke and it spilled everywhere. It flooded into the good parts and the bad parts. It took over our lives and I found myself attempting to wrangle it back to a tolerable level but I only had so much fight in me and I certainly wasn’t strong enough to tolerate the constant barrage of suicide threats and attempts. Yes, she absolutely had some mental health issues. And while I could be a coach, I couldn’t work on those issues for her. And trust me, I tried. The doctors diagnosed the issues and she didn’t take their advice. Therapy, treatment, medication – it was all sporadic or non-existent and the ones who get hurt in that flood are the ones who care the most.
There are a lot of stubborn and selfish people in this world. Manipulators and liars and sometimes we end up dating them. And while I will be your coach, I will no longer be your crutch. I have spent far too long fighting my own demons that I don’t have enough left in the reserves to fight yours as well. I might love you and enjoy your company, but if your lack of attempts to work on yourself detract from my happiness and quality of life, I have to leave out of simple self-preservation. What people don’t seem to understand us that we don’t simply lose our light, hope, and positivity – it is stolen from us. Abusive relationships with our family and work and lovers – the people we surround ourselves with directly affect our growth. They either take from our heart or they fill our heart. Most of the time it is our choice. We either keep them around, or we walk away. But either way, a choice is being made on our behalf whether we like it or not.
I no longer surround myself with intentional assholes. Friends or lovers. I wish them well and I hope they learn to fill their hearts with the right people, but I will no longer allow myself to be drained by aggressive ignorance. By emotional threats. By a childish “I don’t give a fuck” mentality. I want better for myself and if that means leaving unhealthy relationships behind, so be it.
The negative passion turns in on itself. If someone is an asshole to the world it is only a matter of time before they are an asshole in your world. A person who criticizes and constantly complains about the world will eventually constantly criticize and complain about you and your world.
At some point, we all believe we will be the one. The person who can control and guide the intensity. That we will be the ones who can help harness the power of their passion so it doesn’t effect our lives. And it is that idealism that unhealthy friends and lovers look for. They need people like us to take care of them. To prop them up. They steal our light and betray our hope then leave us for other people to manipulate while we are left bitter and hollow.
But we are in control of who we allow in our lives and we can either stay or leave. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting healthier relationships for ourselves. And sometimes we need to walk away in order to evolve. And sometimes we need to lose friends and go through break-ups and divorces to become better people and attract the right people who will not take advantage of our generosity but embrace us for the fighter that we have become and infect our lives with positivity.
As we do for them.