Love is like Rain.
The rain hit me as soon as I realized what I was really doing and what my actions and frustrations this whole evening were truly about. Someone up there is looking out for me, waiting until I got my big eureka before sending the torrent down.
I stood bathing in the glory of the storm for a moment. The chaos finally falling down from the sky, washing away my sins, my ugliness, and all that was wrong today. I’m given a second chance every time it rains, to remember again that I cannot fight Nature. That I cannot change anything about the world except myself and how much I will continue to love it and live my life, one step better at a time.
There is this story back in my home country about a town that could not afford stop lights (traffic lights). The villagers were arguing over the cost of electricity, what streets/crossroads to prioritize to reduce the number of road accidents that were growing with the amount of vehicles (funny, they should have just set a quota of one automobile per family and that would have helped no??), all the new problems there were mounting and should have been solved yesterday, blahy blah blah. I listened to this in some history/economics class I’m sure but the details are not important. What is important is that the town decided to erect stop signs first, instead of traffic lights, since they were more affordable and took care of the problem quicker.
The crazy thing? Number of accidents was reduced by 48%. That’s almost half.
I learn from my mistakes but not as quickly as I would like. But one of the key things I’m learning to help me change myself for better (or rather the things I’d like to be) is to erect stop signs. I’m very likely to make the same mistakes over and over again, psychologists tell me. But if I just make a tiny change to the pattern, that is an intervention to the system of self sabotage.
Just enough tiny changes, to the pattern, not even completely new drastic big melodramatic actions in themselves — that can help a whole lot towards learning from your mistakes and not making the same ones again.
Basically, put up stop signs whenever you see a potential accident ahead. Or better yet, right after the scene, the aftermath of the crash, immediately. If you’ve ever dealt with tremendous physical trauma, you know one of the first things your body does is to freeze whenever it senses potential, increased injury to the same body part.
My family and friends are my stop signs. They remind me that I’ve been down this road before and I can survive it again. My mother is a gigantic stop sign. She reminds that my actions build upon each other, and to get the results I want, I need to start small and very prudent first.
Emotionally, I took a hit recently and was at rock bottom. But I have been there before. I knew what it felt like, I knew how it felt heading there (I let myself anyway..), and this time, I knew enough to brake as hard as I could, to stop for a moment and look around.
In life, you don’t need a policing traffic light, you just need a bunch of stop signs.
When I learn from my mistakes, I really learn. That explains why I’m hard headed to a fault, why it takes incredible instability in my life to make me realize what it is, all along, that I really truly want.
I am lucky. I have few friends but the ones I have are willing to move mountains for me (and they have). I take the sunny and the bitchy side of you, my Friend. Because you do that for me. I take all of you, all of the imperfectness, the crazy, the lovely, the insane, the glorious, the wild, the mute, the dishonesty, the honesty, all of it. The more I learn to accept people for who they are, wherever they are, the more I get to enjoy them as friends and really be surrounded by people I love in my life.
That is what I want more than anything. To be surrounded by people who I care about deeply and who care about me. To the sunny and the bitchy side of you, my super dear glorious friends, whose phone numbers I have committed to memory, whom I will gladly bail out of jail for, whom I want to see at my wedding, at my first dog/child’s birthday party, at my parents’ funeral, and at my own.
The full circle: I understand now why my mother had so few friends when she was working a 9–9 job. I could never understand why she literally had 2 people whom she called ‘friends’ and not acquaintances. Why she scoffed at mine and was so suspicious of them and frankly didn’t care to know them. I still think she never really understood why my sister and I tried so hard to fit in with the girls at school. Mother..you were right all this while. You see, my mother has very high standards for her friends. She expects them to help when she needs them, and she will do the same for them. She’s paid for a friend’s Masters degree, back when our currency was shitty and she had two kids to feed and a household to take care of. She’s run to funerals, stayed strong for her teammates, and taken the time to advise people she barely knew, just because she didn’t want them to fall or make the same mistakes she did.
In short, my mom is an incredible friend. I think the reason why she had so few when we were growing up is because she knew that she couldn’t be a friend to all the people she wanted to. Or at least, not the standards that she was comfortable with. Now, you may say I put my mother on a pedestal and you are probably right. But that woman certainly had standards, for herself first and foremost. She knew when she had the time and emotional space/well being/stability to be a good friend, and she knew when she couldn’t.
I hereby promise all my friends that when I can’t be a friend to you, when that time comes, I will tell you so. I will tell you that I’m sorry that I cannot be your friend at this moment because I have to take care of myself first, and the people who need me right now.
I will tell you directly to your face because as your friend, I believe you deserve honesty, respect, and help first. And since you can’t get it from me right now, please, please, find someone else.
As soon as I can cope with myself again, I will be back to being your friend. I rather be your friend fully, than just a placeholder. This does not mean I’m a bad friend or one that runs away. This just means.. the older I get, the more I realize that life is too complex and your plate can be too full sometimes.
“No” is sometimes the kindest answer someone can give you.
The same goes for you: I rather lose your friendship momentarily — if you cannot take care of yourself, you cannot take care of me. I rather you be my friend that way, and be my friend when you truly can. Whether it’s when I’m at the peak or in the valley of struggle and pain and loss. And all the paths in between.
On my deathbed, I want my brain to replay the happiest moments of my life, to ease me to the next frontier whatever that may be. I look forward to it. I look forward to seeing the people whom I’ve had some of the most happiest, beautiful, glorious moments with again. That way, even in death, I get to love you, over and over again, and remember that happiness need not be great, it just needs to be shared.