I ran into someone last night who brought out some pretty interesting feelings. Basically, the following:
- I was raised with these Christian ethics about turning the other cheek, being tolerant, and all that. Soooo, because I was adverse to conflicts, I let a lot of bad behavior slide in my early days. Some friends took advantage of this, and of course those "friendships" always ended and never ended well.
- I tend to save all my frustration up and then blow like a powder keg. It's taken me almost 4 decades to be more direct in my communication with people. I know this is a weakness, and I am working on it. Still, I've tried to be polite, and people have taken advantage sometimes.
So anyway, last night I came almost face-to-face with someone I knew in my past. He had (maybe still has) a terrible drinking problem and is very angry. He's been very disrespectful to his girlfriends over the years, some of whom I've known, and has talked a lot of crap about people he's supposedly friends with behind their backs.
I used to tolerate it for 2 reasons: 1) because he would always talk about what great friends we were, and how we had this great friendship, and this subliminal manipulation worked for a long time; and 2) because he was never overtly disrespectful to me.
The proverbial straws that broke my back were: his escalating alcoholism, escalating a-holish behavior, and a report from a friend of mine that he was now talking $hit about me. Unacceptable.
I moved apartments and shut off the phone, to get rid of him and someone else similar to him I had known in college whom I didn't want to know anymore (female, and drank quite a bit less, but still seething in negativity). It seemed I didn't want to make any graceful excuses to these people about why hadn't I called and then end up dealing with their drama, probably based in insecurity.
I made a promise to myself after I dealt with the last alcohol-steeped a-holish encounter with this fool. I left and never went back. He called me after I'd left his house wondering when I'd be back and I said, "You can be as big of a train wreck as you want, but I'm not watching it anymore, and I'm not even going to pretend that it's OK with me. It's not."
Some new age types say there are cords of energy that connect people. Well, I severed that cord. I promised myself that he would no longer be someone I'd acknowledge. Ever. For the rest of my life. It was one of the easiest promises I've ever made. If you are familiar with astrology, you know that someone like me can be a champion grudge-holder. Maybe even take it as far as the Olympics (although really I would have preferred to be a gymnast there!)
So last night, of course, of all the restaurants in all the towns in all the world, who should be seated next to Diva and me but A-hole and his date.
Conveniently, my deaf ear was facing his table. Diva looked at me and mouthed, "Is that A-hole?" (She knew him back in the old days of college.) I responded with a panicked widening of my eyes. Then she mouthed, "He looks OLD!" and we laughed, mainly because that's what drinking way too much and smoking for 15-20 years will do to a person, and of course she and I are steeped in loveliness and youth even at this advanced age.
Then, we talked about our upcoming travel plans. I mean, it needed to be discussed and we had to do something to keep the focus off the people next to us, divided by some wooden slats and a low wall.
He knew I was there. He kept looking at me, driving the fight-or-flight response I was experiencing and using my acting skills not to show. I wonder if it was unnerving to him too. Diva said he was being his charming self with his date, whom I didn't see. I was too busy looking at Diva and all areas to the right of her so that his eyes would not meet mine. We were busy planning our road trip rendezvous anyway.
Some say souls have contracts, and that we know and plan our lives before we're even born (and then, naturally, forget everything and have to learn it again). The idea of soul mates comes from the concept that perhaps we've known other souls in other lives when we occupied other bodies. See the movie Cloud Atlas for some sort of representation of this. (It is a fantastic movie, by the way!)
Anyway, just as there are positive soul connections, there can be negative ones as well. Whenever someone is a part of my life for decades, the question will occur to me: what is the glue that keeps us in touch? Some connections, relationships, and experiences create a strong bond, and there isn't necessarily a rhyme or reason to it. I met my boyfriend as a teenager, didn't see him for 22 years, and somehow he seemed special to me when we "re-met" on Facebook. There was something familiar about him and very lovable even though I had no rational basis for this judgment. So, perhaps our souls have an agreement as well. We had no trouble at all emailing and speaking with each other again. It really had a quality of comfort and happiness to it, for us to be in touch. So there's that.
And perhaps A-hole and I had a contract, but upon my last train-wrecky exchange with him, that was severed. There was a new understanding that I developed from him and others who've pushed my buttons, that I don't have to be kind and welcoming to every train wreck who finds me and tries to use me as a floatation device in the ocean of life. I was too nice before. It occurs me that people I admire for their spiritual development don't hang around with addicts and people who point fingers at everything else in life, making excuses for their own lack of progress. So, why can't I be more like those people?
Indeed. Heavy thoughts for a Saturday morning friends. Wishing you all a wonderful and relaxing weekend.