Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Do Sticks and Stones and Pieces of Shit Have in Common? All Three Hurt When Thrown

My day yesterday started with that amazing comment that Jeremy left me on my last blog. It ended with an old friend calling me a piece of shit. Today, I was given the task of deciding which of these two occurrences I was going to let define my character. 

One of the things I really disliked about working behind the bar at Chili's was waiting on the regulars that came in. I admit, it is my judgmental nature that makes me so frustrated with many of these people. I'm not talking about the regular couple who really loves Chili's and, therefore, would come in once or twice a week for dinner. I'm talking about the ones that come in almost every single day - sometimes multiple times in one day - sit at the bar by themselves and get wasted. I admit… I am a fan of getting my drink on and have had some dark times in my past where this kind of behavior was not uncommon for me. Perhaps this is why it irritates me so much. 

A while back, I made the mistake of dating one of these regulars. Cory and I had just broken up for the first time and this guy had recently ended things with his long time girlfriend as well. We were perfect rebound candidates for each other. I enjoyed talking to him - while he had a difficult time communicating his thoughts at times, it was clear that his heart was big and he really cared about the people in his life. While I wasn't attracted to him physically, I loved that we could share our feelings about romance and life in a way that I hadn't been able to do with Cory. Plus, he smoked weed. He smoked a lot of weed. He was high all the time and always had more waiting for him. At the time, I was smoking heavily as well. Therefore, we made a good match. 

He had had his big heart broken by his ex-girlfriend and needed someone to make him feel like a man again. I thought it was a pretty good job for me. In retrospect, that was a very selfish and arrogant approach to our relationship. Note to self… no one needs saving. Thinking that I could make him feel better about himself ended up being the worst thing I could have done for our relationship. I wasn't honest with my feelings towards him and led him to believe that I was some sort of savior - exactly what he needed to pull him through this bad period in his life. Plus, at a time when I was feeling vulnerable due to my recently ended relationship, having someone look at me like I was a queen fed my very hungry ego. 

We didn't date for that long. It was clear to me early on that we weren't compatible as a couple. He drank way too much and our equally righteous belief systems knocked heads quite a bit. However, like so many of my other relationships where I felt it wasn't going to work, I still legitimately enjoyed hanging out with him and so, I stuck around. 

While we were dating, I was promoted to management and was moved to a restaurant across town. I got my own apartment (I had been living with my parents prior to this) and he and I started seeing each other less and less. We didn't really have a "break-up", we simply stopped seeing each other. Literally. I was up to my neck in the whole management thing and wasn't as drawn to him as I was when we first started going out. So… the relationship basically fizzled. Fine with me, of course, I had plenty to occupy my time. 

I sort of sound like a piece of shit, don't I? 

When I quit management and went back behind the bar at my original Chili's, I had to pretend that things were cool between us. In reality, I was a little disappointed that he was still coming in so frequently, drinking more than usual and always glassy-eye stoned. I wanted to see him in a different light but I just saw a sad little boy who wasn't making good decisions. I hadn't made an impact on him at all. In fact, he was spending more time with a few other employees that I didn't care for at all for the same reasons. Bad decisions. Knowing my own bad decisions hadn't worked for me, I decided that I really just didn't want anything to do with him anymore. I told him to quit asking me to hang out and that we would need to keep our relationship within the walls of Chili's. He wasn't happy about this and we didn't talk much after that. 

Last night, I went to Chili's to watch football and hang out with one of my best friends. As usual, there was Mr. Regular, hanging out at the bar, throwing back Hennessey and Cokes. We chatted it up for a bit and I invited him to come and hang out with me and my friend at our table. One thing led to another and he decided to join us after the football game down on Fremont Street. It could easily have been the alcohol… but we got onto a touchy subject where we strongly disagreed about how we felt in regards to a person that we know… and out of nowhere, he stood up and told me that the girl we were discussing was a much better person than me, cared about him more than I ever did and then shouted out the words that I haven't been able to let go. "You are a piece of shit." 

It was a long night for me. I was furious about the escalation of our argument and that he said something so horrible to me. I convinced myself that he was the one with the problem and that he was a disrespectful and terrible person. I blew him off as a drunk who was naive about the subject we were discussing to begin with. I insulted him in my head and out loud all night long, trying to make myself feel better. 

It didn't work. 

Today became a day of reflection for me which, as you can see, has resulted in this blog. How can someone see such amazing qualities in me and leave the most beautiful comment about the kind of person I am in the morning and then someone else say something so awful about me later that same day? Who is right? 

Well, what I discovered after my day of pondering was this; they were both right. The carelessness in which I handled the relationship with this guy resulted in the comment that he gave me last night. Just like the open and honest way in which I handled my relationship with Jeremy resulted in his purifying and brilliant feedback towards me. While I also question our compatibility as a couple, I did not continue playing with Jeremy's emotions like I did in the past with this other guy. I think that what happened last night was a good reminder of how far I've come. I'm not there yet… wherever "there" is - but my lessons continue to guide me. I want to make a difference in people's lives and while I may have failed miserably for one person, I managed to make enough of a difference in another's to welcome yesterday's lovely blog comment. 

I find that it's always easier to believe the bad things that people say about me. A lot of the time, it's because I've already had those negative conversations about myself and therefore, hearing it from someone else is simply validating it's authenticity. But… that's not a fun way to live, is it? Besides, it's not as easy, but much more rewarding to believe the good things people say about me. I've made mistakes and have more to make. As always, it's what we take away and learn that means the most.  

I learned that the heart is a delicate organ and needs to be handled carefully. I definitely want more comments like the one Jeremy left me and less comments about being a piece of shit. 

So, thank you, Universe, for this very valuable lesson. It has been noted. 

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