You Can’t Fix Foolishness

Another letter to my children.  I think it’s time I share this truth with them.

 

Okay y’all.  I’m going to shoot straight with you.  Right now most of you are of the age where I’m still reminding you to be polite.  To use good manners.  To listen and use your ma’am’s and sir’s and please’s and thank you’s.  That’s all good stuff.  I recently dropped the “y’all be nice” thing because, I realized where that could head.  And it wasn’t good.

Be respectful might be a better way to put it.

And I’m not changing my tune on that.  We all have to share this planet, so yes, being respectful is probably the best way to keep things within the guidelines of appropriate behavior.

BUT–

and here’s the thing, and why I’m writing this now (two of you can read it later–one needs it now, as do I)–

being respectful doesn’t mean you have to stand around and deal with foolishness.

We weren’t allowed to use the “s” word when I was growing up.  That or the “d” one either.  You know, the two words that deal with intellect. Common sense.   Or lack thereof.  One ends with ”tupid” and the other with “umb.”  My parents just wouldn’t tolerate it.  And so out of respect for how I was raised, I’m going to, from here on out, refer to such as that as foolishness.

You know the ones I mean.  The folks who are bound and determined to argue with you–no matter if they’re as wrong as white shoes after Labor Day or not.  The folks who look at you when you’re talking common sense and have this blank look on their faces.  Or worse, they look at you like you’ve lost your mind.

No, I haven’t.  When I asked you this morning if you had lost your mind, Cooter (you asked for chocolate for breakfast!), you replied with that trademark dry wit of yours, “No, because then you’d see a brain walking around here by itself.”

Exactly.

I do try to keep my wits about me.  I’m trying to remember to keep my mouth shut unless I can express myself and explain what I’m thinking, respectfully and such that I can be understood.  So I don’t feel like my brain is walking around outside of my head.

Most of the time anyway.

But there are times, crew, that you just have to walk away.

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Sometimes a jaw at rest is best.  Just hush up and head on out.

There’s no fixing foolishness.  Y’all, just no.

Foolishness will stand there and make you lose your cool, your calm, your class, and your religion.  It’s like it’s their calling in life it seems.

So yes.  There are times when you stand and fight because you know what is right, and you have to speak out.

And there are times when you self-preserve and you walk away.  Respectfully shaking your head and wondering how on earth those folks get out of the bed in the morning.

You don’t tell them that of course.

But if the thought makes you smile as you walk away, that’s okay.

It’s taken me way too long to realize there’s some things I can’t fix.  There’s some folks and groups of folks with their course dead set on self-destruct.  And I can’t save them.  I can try, but when I’m working harder than they are–

it’s time to let it go.

Rest my jaw, and my brain, and even my heart, and just–

shrug and walk away.  Sometimes that’s what taking the high road looks like.

It can never work when you are working harder than someone else for their own well-being.

Yeah, that one I’m still working on, but I hope you will take it to heart and not lose so many years trying to fix foolishness on your own.

It can’t be done.  I know.

Self-preservation is not selfish.  Go watch the videos about who to put the oxygen mask on first when it drops down from the roof of the plane.  It seems cruel that a Mama should put it on herself first and then her children, but no.  You can’t help others if you’re all worked up trying to take care of crazy first.

Yeah.  That.

I’m still a work in progress on most of this.  But from recent experiences where I stepped outside my co-dependent comfort zone and hushed up and just let things go on as they will without me, I have to tell y’all.

It’s a relief.

It’s hard.  I still worry a little.  But ultimately, it’s a relief.  And healthier.

I know this because my heart isn’t racing and my head isn’t hurting nearly as much as it was.

Take care of you.  And others.  But it’s okay to let some things and some people go.  As hard as it is, despite all that our culture and heritage has said otherwise, it’s okay to choose to be healthy.  And let foolishness find the way out of its tangled web of a mess on its own.

Maybe they’ll learn.

Goodness knows, I’m still trying to.

Love to all, be strong,

Mama

 

Letting It Go

My Fella and I took the crew along with Mess Cat and her little guy Shaker to see the new Disney movie “Frozen.”  I had no idea what to expect.  The only previews I’d seen featured Olaf the snowman, so I had no clue about the depth and meaning behind the storyline.  I do love me some Olaf though.

It was a really good movie.  Aub says it is by far the best Disney princess movie ever made. Even better than “Tangled” and that’s saying something.  There is a twist that makes it very different from all of the others that I can recall, and I am thankful for it.  I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who plan to see it and haven’t, but if this is the new trend for Disney heroines, I’m all for it.  And they get it.  Sisters and sisterfriends.  There’s nothing better.

The movie began in song.  It was a musical, and some of the music was not so traditional, which intrigued me.  As the first song was beginning I heard Cooter, who was sitting next to me, sigh.

“What’s wrong, Buddy?” I whispered.

“It’s just that this is what is depressing about Disney movies.  They always sing these songs.”  He sighed again.  Poor put upon child.  Suffice to say I am thankful for Olaf the snowman and Sven the moose who saved the movie for Cooter and Shaker.  They were delightfully funny.

Our own Princess has read the novelization of the movie.  This is the first time she’s read a story before going to see the movie.  A big moment for her.  (I had to have her reassure me a time or two that it was all going to turn out okay–so glad she had already read the story.)  I asked her how she liked it, and she just beamed.  Then she asked how soon we could buy the movie on DVD.  (I know it seems like there’s a quick turnaround these days, but the movie did just come out two days ago.)

As the movie progressed during a climactic moment for Elsa, she sang a song that has been recorded by Demi Lovato–“Let It Go,” written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.  The lyrics in the movie grabbed my heart and swirled around making me feel and think about things I have put aside for a long time.  I came home and listened to Demi Lovato’s version and had the same reaction.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always had to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

There was a time in my life when I tried to hide what was going on, how things really were.   I guess I believed that if I could hide it, it wasn’t really real.  But when things blew up and everyone knew, I had to deal with letting it go and not caring what folks said or thought.  I walked away and tried ignored the coldness of others judging and changing hearts.  And eventually that cold didn’t bother me anymore.  Most of the time.

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door
And here I stand, and here I’ll stay
Let it go, let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway

These last lines below are truth.  The distance from all of this so many years ago makes it seem small most of the time.  Except for when it doesn’t.  When I left that life behind, I remember laying on the floor next to a vent, hoping the cool air would calm my heart and soothe my soul.  There in my only safe place on this earth, I lay there and could not find the strength to grieve all that I had lost.  All I could feel was relief.  I closed my eyes and rested.  For the first time in a long time.  It was quite a while before I could let my heart grieve.

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
Up here in the cold thin air I finally can breathe
I know I left a life behind, but I’m too relieved to grieve

The thing that this song and the movie reminded me of is something that I learned many years ago.  If you have something you are dealing with and you keep it a secret, one day, as Shakespeare wrote, the truth will out.  When it does, things will only be harder and hurt more than it would have if you had been able to garner the courage and share with someone you trusted to begin with.  In my experience and in Frozen too, the longer the secret is kept, the number of folks who will get hurt only increases.

I know there are hard situations in this life.  Things that don’t get awful right away.  They get hard one harsh word or rough touch or untruth at a time.  I know it’s easy to think you have it under control.  That things will get better–there is no reason to share it with others.  No need to bother or worry anyone because this darkness is only temporary.

My friend, that is rarely true.  The actions of others are not your fault nor are they under your control.  The truth is that unkind and mean words and hurting ways tend to spiral into worse and worse situations.  Don’t hold it in, don’t worry about being the “good girl” and not letting it show.  Find someone you trust, and keep looking for someone who will listen and believe until you find them.  Then share it all.

And let it go.  Turn your back and slam that door.

Save yourself.  And others.

From more pain.

Over time the relief you feel may morph into grief, but over time and distance, it will begin to feel small.

And one day you will fly.  And find yourself surrounded by the ones you love who truly love you.  The very ones you tried to protect with your secret will lift you up and make you stronger.

Tonight I’m thankful for a movie and a song that reminded me of my journey and how important it is to let it go.  How healing that has been for me and those around me.  And when those memories come back, they seem a little smaller each and every time.  Except for when they don’t.

And in those moments, I am thankful for the ones I love who know me and love me in spite of it. And who stand beside me and help me let it go.  All over again.

In the previews they show a moment when Olaf the snowman tells his new friend, “Some people are worth melting for.”

Just that.  Surround yourself with ones you would “melt” for, and who would melt for you.  Those are the relationships that will light the darkness and heal the brokenness in this world.  Those are the friendships that will save lives.

I think Torey Hayden put it best in her book, “One Child.” She writes:

“She looked up. “What I can’t figure out is why the good things always end.”
“Everything ends.”
“Not some things. Not the bad things. They never go away.”
“Yes, they do. If you let them, they go away. Not as fast as we’d like sometimes, but they end too. What doesn’t end is the way we feel about each other. Even when you’re all grown up and somewhere else, you can remember what a good time we had together. Even when you’re in the middle of bad things and they never seem to be changing, you can remember me. And I’ll remember you.”  
―  Torey Hayden, “One Child”