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This blog was, for awhile, a place of therapy for me. I could come here, pour out all my thoughts and feelings about what was going on in my life, and feel better afterward, like I’d had a good cry about it all, but without the puffy eyes and snotty nose. I’ve also celebrated here, which is also good therapy for me. But this blog has always been about my view of life, what I see, hear, feel and think about what goes on around me.

But then, Oldest Son got wind of what was here and took great offense at having the details of his life as it affected me published for all to see. And try as I might, I have not been able to let loose with what’s really going on in my life since then, even though I wrote that I was over it. Apparently, I wasn’t, because I’m having the most in-my-face summer and can’t seem to let fly with much of any of it.

“Rock and a Hard Place” cover
Image via Wikipedia

So I find myself between a rock and a hard place…several of them, actually.

For example, I have a relationship in my life (Person A) that has been fucked up in one way or another for as long as I can remember. Though I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t change other people, I am finding it more and more intolerable to be quiet about the effects this relationship with Person A is having on another equally important relationship with Person B.

And even as I type that, I realize that I’ve long ago given up “shopping for bread in a hardware store” where Person A is concerned. I’m not even mad about it anymore. It is what it is and I get that. What’s really getting my goat is the feeling of abandonment I have where my relationship with Person B is concerned because Person B doesn’t have the balls to tell Person A to shut the hell up and butt out…not even for a moment. So now I have to do the work of letting go again and coming to terms with the fact that once again – it is what it is.

Then there’s the ever-present knowledge that, as a mother, even my best intentions are leaving wounds I may not get the chance to heal. Try as I might, every choice is fraught with opportunities to nurture and neglect and which becomes the end result is not always up to me, but is sometimes determined by the perspective and world view of my child. Getting ok with the choices I make, regardless of the interpretation of others, is a full-time job. The only way I know to be effective in minimizing the neglect is to be open and communicate my ‘whys’ when appropriate, but even more importantly, I must listen – even when I don’t like what I hear.

Sometimes you catch what feels in the moment like a break, but turns out to be a humbling awakening to more “facts” about the people you love that you’re pretty sure you could have lived without knowing. There is a circle of life, for sure, and sometimes it’s tainted and unhealthy and feels impossible to change. But in the tiny space between that particular rock and hard place, I’ve learned that all it really takes to effect change is one small step outside the circle. You don’t have to change everything to change everything. You just have to take one step and the whole pattern is different by default. Do one thing that those who came before you either couldn’t or wouldn’t do, and history doesn’t have to repeat itself.

Life between a rock and a hard place makes you stronger, if you let it. Or you can choose to see yourself as a victim. It’s really up to you. The facts of the situation won’t change, but you can change your mind about what you choose to focus on, what you choose to conclude and what you choose to do about it.

If you’re not getting what you need from your relationships, first look to see that you’re doing your part to meet the other person halfway. If the other person can’t or won’t meet you in the middle, then you’re better off nurturing a relationship with someone who can and will. Nevermind where love and approval are “supposed” to come from. If you love and approve of yourself, you’ll know that when someone can’t meet you halfway, it’s about them, not you, and when someone can, your life becomes richer because you’ve let them in.

My life is considered by many to be controversial and non-traditional. I suppose they’re correct. I have lived most of it between a rock and a hard place, trying to make impossible choices without much of a map to go by. I’ve had to learn to take what works for me and leave the rest. I am incredibly strong. I don’t spend a lot of time crying for what can’t be or isn’t. I’m brave enough to let a few people close to me and I’ve chosen well because I get the support I need. I mother with a fierceness that uses me up and feeds me at the same time, and that fierceness bleeds over into how I live the rest of my life. I revel in the messiness, imperfection and beauty of my life because it’s my proof that I’m living, not hiding.

So, to those who take exception to me and would spend their time judging and trying to change me, I say, “Go look in the mirror – your work is there.”

Between a rock and a hard place is where you find out who you are.