It’s my quirks and habits which make me who I am.
I was at a small house party with my best friend recently when he got far too drunk, far too quickly.
Soon enough, he was slumped over on the ground, wearing his own vomit, mumbling about how it had been ages since he’d had a beer and he was fine, really.
I was quite tipsy myself, but seeing a friend in crisis snapped me sober and into ‘fix it’ mode. I found the party host – someone I’d only met about two hours beforehand – and asked him for a change of clothes and the location of the shower. I helped my friend to the bathroom and told him to have a quick shower and get changed, while I called a cab to take us back to my place.
The six-block drive to my apartment was tense, as I hoped and prayed he didn’t vomit in the backseat, but we got home safely. I set up the futon with pillows, blankets, a bottle of water and a big ol’ bucket in case he was sick again.
“Do you want food, or no food?” I asked once he was lying down, dressed in a spare pair of my pajamas . I understood how drunk people sometimes needed some food to help quell their sickness, but other times it could be a very bad idea, just giving them more ammo to fire into a toilet bowl or bucket.
“Okay, blanket, or no blankets?” I asked. I knew sometimes, you needed to be cozy and warm when you were sick, and other times, heat would be the last thing you’d want.
I went and found a thin blanket.
“Light on, or off”. Again, I knew that sometimes the room would spin and spin with the lights off, but on the other hand, the light could burn through your eyelids and make nausea worse.
“Cool, last question,” I asked, knowing I was now wide awake and definitely not tired enough to sleep yet. “Do you want me to chill out in here with you and watch TV, or do you want the quiet?”
Then, he said it.
“You’re so meticulous.”
I froze, and my mind started instantly racing, my inner critic rearing its loud and ugly head with a vengeance.
Oh god, I’d done it again. I’d been too overbearing and annoying. I was so stupid for babying him and asking questions and bothering him when he probably just wanted to be left alone and ride out his drunkness on his own.
I was instantly reminded of my relationship with a man who has severe depression and will isolate himself when having a particularly bad depressive episode. Because I love him and want to make things better for him, I always prod at him, asking him if he needs anything, what can I do to help, is he okay, what does he want me to do… I always got the feeling he was frustrated with me for being so vocal and present when he just wanted and needed to be alone, and I thought I’d just done the same annoying and stupid thing to my best friend, who also had a tendency to not want people fussing over him.
He stopped me, mid sorry-spin.
“It’s a beautiful thing. You care so much and it’s an amazing quality. You need to nurture it and never let anyone take it away from you.”
In that moment, my inner monologue which constantly tears me down and tells me how much of an irritating nag I am to my lovers, friends, and family, suddenly went quiet and was replaced with a single thought; I am good enough.
I realized my caring nature – the one my friends joke about by saying things like “Oh Kass, you wouldn’t put a jacket in a puddle for someone to walk over, you’d throw your entire body to the ground and let someone trudge over the top of you just so they didn’t wet their feet” – isn’t just a negative left-over from my fathers abandonment and desperate need to be a people-pleaser in the hopes no one else will leave me. It doesn’t need to be quietened or changed.
I realized the fact I’ll do anything for the people who I love is not a weakness, it’s my biggest strength.
I realized all of the things I had hated about myself and thought were annoying qualities are just examples of how much I give to other people, and are the reasons people love me and want me as their friend.
While I understand that not everyone will always appreciate my want and need to go into ‘fix it’ mode – like my partner didn’t always understand – that isn’t a fault of mine. It’s just how other people deal with their problems and challenges, and all I can do is get better at accepting it if they don’t want my help right now.
Yes, I’m needy at times, and yes, I can be overbearing, but it comes from a place of love and kindness and caring. My intentions are always pure. I just can’t stand to see those I love in situations which might be causing them pain, discomfort, or sadness, and so I offer my love and kindness and caring to them. I can’t help it.
And I realized my friend was right. I needed to nurture this part of me and not let anyone try to stamp it out by claiming I am too much or too annoying. Anyone who truly loves me for me will respect these qualities are part of who I am.
Yeah, they might not always appreciate my questions and desperate attempts to help, especially if they are a person who likes to be alone when they’re in crisis. But they will understand I’m not doing it to be annoying, I’m doing it because I love them. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Some of my qualities do stem from places of pain and hurt; seeing my mother in abusive relationships, my father’s rejection of me, as well as a toxic and abusive relationship have definitely contributed to why I give so much and expect so little in return. And I’m working on getting to a healthier place with all of that.
But in the meantime, I need to remember I am good enough. And I don’t need to change for anyone.
Image via pexels.com.
Comment: Have you ever had a moment which changed your perspective?