I think...

Wednesday, May 3rd 2017

9.45am – A month since last I posted, but I’ve had nothing but bad news in between.
I feel like 2017 may be the year of hard knocks for me. No, actually, not for me. The year of awareness of hard knocks. That’s better. I’m fortunate, in that I’ve never been hit by a car, never had to say goodbye to my best four legged friend because he’s too old and sore to enjoy his life, and never been a victim of domestic violence (though, as an Irish kid, many’s the time I’ve been walloped with a wooden spoon…all that ever taught me was that violence hurts and it’s an ineffective disciplinary method).
But all of the above have happened in front of me in the last month. It’s funny, I’ve always walked on the sunny side of life. I’ve worked towards my goals, and through fortunate timing and effort, I’ve always gotten what I wanted.
One thing I have always done, ever since I could, is rely on myself. I’d never go to a friend or an immediate family member with a problem. I figure them out on my own, because I know how to look up and sort through the information I need.
So, what do I do when a problem is presented to me, too close to ignore? My instincts to avoid it are colossal. I can barely help myself, and I’m rarely helped by others.
This gives rise to a distinct feeling of uselessness, in the face of need. I can’t say the right thing, do the right thing, because I’ve had a comparatively easy life, and I have no idea how to help people who are genuinely struggling to wrap their heads around something.
I can clean a smelly mattress, advise on which way to lay out a C.V. – silly flourishes of life skills that, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, would be useless.
I have a fear of coming up short, of trying to help, but just being in the way. Sometimes, I wonder is it all in my head. If it’s like studying for a big test – the task seems monumental, but get stuck in and you’re already making tangible progress, and you find you already know a bit – should I step up the next time I could do something, or just keep standing by, a witness to other peoples lives?
Sometimes people say “Just being there is enough”. I hate being seen if I’m weak.
But then, I’m me. I could be projecting on to someone who thrives on company, and what helps me, hurts them. Life is all very complicated.

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