Rescue Heroes

I sit here and search for my candy-ass gene. I simply don’t have one. I feel compelled to search and write about something positive or to take a positive outlook on something discouraging or painful. Tough noggies. I can’t hide my emotions. Well, I can hide my emotions by simply having no emotions. I can crawl into my armor and pull down the shield but if I am to live un-armored, then I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Push me just a tad and they are right there. I am glad I have such easy access to my emotions. I can name and categorize them….but there are some emotions I wish would move to the other side of the country because having them around is exhausting.

We all have someone in our lives like this. They are expensive and costly….but not luxuries. Permitting these emotions access or audience means everything else clears the room. When they finally leave, your house is trashed and there is a giant mess to clean up. It’s just easier to close all the doors, pull blinds and ignore the knocking or ringing. Pretend you are not home. Maybe if we’re quiet….they’ll go away. Except….you walk out the next morning to get the paper and they’ve camped on your front stoop. Unavoidable.

Why do they keep showing up? Don’t they get the hint they’re not welcome? If not the subtle hint, how about the screaming proclamation, “Go away!” How I feel won’t go away until what makes me feel this way stops happening. You spin your rear wheels in ever deepening mud if all you focus on is how you feel and avoid tackling the real issue: what makes you feel this way. While focusing on the symptoms, the cause of the problem remains unchecked.

When I was young….very young….my father would ask these profound teleological questions. Mind you, I was maybe six or seven when they started. “What will make you a grown-up?” He kept asking well into my third decade of life. I figured he stopped asking because I’d given him the right answer. I gave him the answer he sought: “You’re a grown up when you are financially independent from your parents.” Survey says……X. [did everyone hear the Family Feud sounds?]

This morning I’m confident that isn’t the right answer. What makes you a grown-up is when you are emotionally independent. When you stop pretending that your Daddy or your Mommy will swoop in and save the day and fix all your problems. No matter how successful or competent one might be….if you have squirrel away this notion that Big Daddy will swoop in and save the day, then you are still a child. Being a grown up is living without a safety net or the magical illusion of a safety net. There is no daddy. There is no super hero.

I hear women say…shit, I’ve said it….I have my big girl pants on. Can you hear the tiny kernel of fairy tale in that statement? Harboring this notion that, while I am brave and tough and formidable, one day….ONE DAY…Prince Charming or the Great and Powerful Oz will take over and I can go back to being the dainty, little girl. It has been my motto for the last few years when people ask me what I want….I say I want to be the girl. I have been holding on to that fairy tale, wishing on the falling star, clicking my heels, crossing my fingers, snorting pixie dust. And it’s just that. A fairy tale. A myth. A lie. There is no Santa Claus, Virginia.

There is no safety net.There are no rescue heroes. Stop pretending to be the damsel in distress. Well, you can be the damsel in distress…just stop this ridiculous game of waiting for someone to come rescue you.

I have a parachute on my back. I have the training. I am well-equipped. And I suppose I should be thankful, that while my child-rearing did not include the crushing of my fairy tale….I was given all the tools needed to take care of my own business once I abandoned the fairy tale. I got this. And the chance to swoop in and save the day just past.

As a mother of two sons, I also don’t want them to buy into this false notion that their role in the world is to be some great rescuer of others. Don’t be fixers. Seek and find people in your lives that take care of themselves and SHARE their world, not people who make your responsible for their worlds. And never, ever, ever count on anyone to swoop in and rescue you. Be McGyver. Make your own escape and rescue.

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