Yesterday I almost didn’t go to my support group meeting.
Now, this isn’t really a support group in the traditional sense. We’re not a bunch of divorcees (well, a few of us are) trying to get closure, or boozebags (well, some of us are) learning the steps to recovery. We don’t hold hands and there are no prayers. It’s actually called “The Experiment” and it is run by all of us to help process our shit that we carry. It’s very heavy, emotional and real.
I’ve been going faithfully for three years every Wednesday night. It never occurred to me not to go, and the work we do in there is not easy. It’s exhausting. I’ve grown close to the group and I would say that we all love one another deeply. Great friendships have developed.
One Wednesday a few months back I simply decided not to go.
If I remember correctly I was tired and just wanted to relax at home. Which is fine, of course. But then the next week I didn’t go. And the next week. Sometimes I had a valid excuse like I was out of town or another obligation. Mostly, though, it was just me getting excited about running home and doing whatever I wanted.
An important lesson I’ve learned is that, for my own well-being, I must be in constant direct communication with other people who love me. My tendency, however, is to isolate and stow away.
I ended up missing the meeting for about two months. Each week I’d vow to go, and each week I’d find an excuse.
This week was no different.
Yesterday, about halfway through the day I decided not to go. I fantasized about the dinner I would make and all the time I would have to screw around before bed. That was it – I was going to skip and I knew it like I know my own name. Well, not my name. My name is goofy and Spanish and yet nobody in my family speaks it. So, my name, while it is mine, should really be on a shorter, dark and handsome playboy from Barcelona.
I ended up staying a little late at work yesterday than was planned. The thought hit me that I really should go to the meeting and that to be around people who care about me is reason enough. “Okay,” I decided, “I’m going!” And, in my head, I was going.
A minute later the idea of heading home on the bike and cooking up a steak tipped the scales again. I was NOT going.
Then, I reflected on how I was missing out on the lives of people I loved, and that got me excited to go again. I was going.
I was sort of freaking out. Literally changing my exact opinion and action every minute or so. It wasn’t like I was wavering between the two – I was against wheeling old people into traffic one moment, and then advocating for better wheelchair wheels so I could more easily push old people into traffic the next moment.
Hmm… that joke didn’t really work written out.
Anyway, I ended up getting to the meeting and it was amazing. I reconnected with friends and even got invited to a wedding!
I need to remember that I’m worth taking care of myself. Sometimes it means sitting home and looking for white chest hairs in the mirror, plucking them out and laying each against a contrasted colored surface such as my toiletry kit which is black. If I can find more than seventeen, I’ve won. The best part is that I can play this game every six weeks. And I will always win.
But it’s also important to remember that my tendency is to move away from people who love me. That is just an old impulse and it’s not useful. Like yelling at babies when they’re being dicks. Fun, but not useful.