I have had a moment - an insight in the past few weeks... an occasion where words just ran out of my mouth before I even thought them and then I recognized them as True...
Things have been kinda eventful here lately.. the biggest being the common comedy of errors that leads to well-over-stressed-ness. Here's the "for instance":
Let's start with degenerating health of a beloved family member, maybe my husband's mother, my children's grandmother. Let's add that a specific event occurs, like say a stroke. Let's throw in the complication that my husband's phone does not actually ring, so his family does not get a hold of him for over 24 hours after the event occurs. Let's further postulate that my husband is somewhat Asperger's himself and cannot go to check on her at the drop of a hat, his mind MUST wait for a weekend to go through the process. Now let's throw in that we think he should make that visit by himself because we are not sure how to help our Asperger's son cope with the changes to be found at that household because we are not sure what the changes actually are, so the children will stay home with me while he goes to visit.
All of this sounds complicated enough, but let's not stop there...
What if after his departure a large storm rolled through and we lost power, for like 3-5 days? You know, the kind that means no water for days on end, and ALL the food in the fridge & freezer is garbage... naturally I would not want him to feel like I or the kids was stealing time form his needed presence with an ailing mother and siblings who may need him. I would want to solve the problem to spare him the necessity of running home...
So I acquisition a generator, and find friends to keep food, and take showers at work...
Because my head says:
I don't need a damn hero.
And I didn't. I DID take care of the major problems. We were not hungry or dirty, just highly inconvenienced.
And I realized that THAT is what pissed me off - I do NOT need some hero to run in and assume my incompetence, to swoop over and patronize me with unsolicited help, to create a situation in which I am forced to repay with admiration. THAT is what pissed me off about my husband YEARS ago...
11 years ago, to be exact. September 11, 2001. I worked in a small Catholic school on Capitol Hill, in Washington DC. My husband worked on the other side of the city, in the more "uptown" side closer to Virginia, WHERE WE LIVED. I found out hours afterward what happened, I assumed that he would just go home, get himself safe, and I would stay and take care of my students with out having to worry about him. Surely THAT is what any logical person would have done.. but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. My husband decided to walk across the damn city, immediately past the Washington Monument, the White House, the Capitol - 3 OBVIOUS TARGETS - and came to "get" me. The damn man came for me! He saddled me with the burden, the guilt, of HIS potential death/ injury in his effort to love me while I had a class full of kids to worry about! I was MAD!!
And now I understand why.. 'cuz I didn't for a long time. I felt VERY small for a long time, like I was unworthy of his sacrifice to endanger himself, like I was ungrateful for his bravery, like what made total sense to me was just idiocy...
But that's it. I am NOT an idiot.
I do not NEED a damn hero.
So I thought - WHY do I not need a damn hero?
Because women who wait around for heroes are women who are waiting around to be victims.
As soon as I heard my self say it to a friend I KNEW it to be True. It was a conversation immediately following the "hypothetical" situation described at opening here, a conversation about why I do NOT want my daughter to think she is a Disney Princess and has to wait around for some Prince to come solve her universe, why she needs to not be focused on who her "boyfriend" is at 5 years old... because women who are sitting around waiting for Princes, perceive themselves as being incapable of meeting their own needs. And as soon an some schmuck shows up and pretends to be the Prince, she will walk away with him just because she is supposed to - NOT because she wants to. A woman who is waiting for a hero already walks into a relationship expecting to be outdone, to be a lesser rather than an equal - after all who could match a Hero?
umm,... another hero? I am my OWN hero... a MATCH for what ever hero walks in my path, an equal, capable of solving problems, of fixing things, of saving the damn day, thank you very much. I will share in the glory, but I will NOT grovel. It is one thing to acknowledge genuine assistance, another to just wait, not even making the attempt.
I was relaying all this great insight to my mother last month, as we were driving, of course, so the kids heard from the backseat. (I was somewhat less emphatic with my language.) And my Asperger's son says:
But mom, don't you want a hero? Don't you want someone to catch you?
Well, yes, of course. Who does NOT want to be caught and cushioned. But that is NOT how the real world works, especially for moms. Kids, husbands, they are all just looking for a soft place to fall, for a big bosom to hide in and feel cozy. Where do moms get that? Who was there to "catch" me when my body pushed the watermelon out the lemon sized hole? Who was there to "catch" me when my infant quit breathing? Who was there to "catch" me when poop and pee and rotten milk stunk up my carpets and hair? Who was there to "catch" me as I watched my toddler lose the ability to speak? Who was there to "catch" me when he later got the Horrific Rash and couldn't eat or walk? Who went to the IEP meetings, and doctor appointments, and SEAC meetings, and spoke with the advocates, and the weekly therapy? Who is "catching" me when I look ahead and know that the appointments and advocacy and teaching will never stop?
I caught me!!!! I fell down, sure, and at different times different friends and family have helped me carry my load, and they still do, and they always will. That's what makes them friends and family. But they don't "fix " the problems, or "make it all better".
A REAL hero is the person who gets back up after they fall down, not the person waiting for the hand up.
I'll always take a hand up, but I am NOT gonna sit around and wait for it. I am my OWN hero, I will find solutions. I will get back up, no matter how many times I fall down. I will look for new routes to avoid holes I have fallen in before. I will offer help to those round me when I can, and accept it in return. But I will NOT sit around and WAIT for anyone or anything to just step in and redefine my reality so it "fits" into their story better.
I will not be a victim to someone else's timeline or personal politics. I will not step forward every day assuming I am not powerful enough to match everybody else's heroics.
I will be happy to co-author the world that I meet - but I will not sit meekly by while anyone else waltzes in and rewrites my part. There is only ONE playwright - and HE creates ALL of us in His image, ALL of us with God-like powers, and EACH of us to our own script.
I expect each of my children to be Heroes. I expect every person I meet to be a Hero. Because I am too.