This reciprocity thing…
Really takes me for a loop on a regular.
Perception is king. So maybe what I think, feel, say… how I hold others in whatever regard… might be my reality. Maybe I’m lending to the narrative that I’m just a bit character in the greater scheme of their lives. That I should hang on their every word. Remember our conversations. Pay full attention and give maximum empathy to their feelings. Do what I think I would like someone to do for me if I were expressing those feelings. Whether it’s celebrating with me or sitting on the floor and crying with me. It could be that my intentions are all wrong. I want to be there for my loved ones in a way that supports them and holds them up – much like I would appreciate in a similar scenario. I’m “paying it forward” in our relationship where the givers and recipients are each other. I come up with the short end a lot. Maybe I overdo. It could be that the people I’m extending all that to need a short sentence cliche. “It’ll be alright,” or “You’ll get over it.” I might not need to put on such a show of solidarity. Save that energy for something else. Save it for myself. Very rarely have I expressed to a friend that I thought maybe the right way to handle all of my problems is to abandon them wholesale. Get out the game. End it all. The two times I can remember, I was met with little more than a blank stare. Or a “yeah… I might not be the one you want to talk to about this.” Which took me by surprise. Because I know for those two people I would have pulled out all the stops to get them to see how valuable they were and change their mind. Even if it was entirely selfish. Just to keep them by my side while I am forced to go through this.
It came out this past week that the writer Jas Waters cause of death was suicide. I didn’t know her personally but black excellence circles are small and I know a lot of black people who are held in high esteem. When that news broke, I went over to her twitter page. My question when it’s suicide is – “Could anyone have guessed she might feel this way?” I went back in her tweets for just ONE MONTH and her pain, anxiety, and discomfort were palpable. Almost 1 out of every three tweets was indicative that she was definitely going through or feeling something out of the ordinary. Maybe people dismissed it at the moment. Maybe they didn’t believe her. Maybe they thought, “yeah… I might not be the one you want to talk to about this.”
But nearly ALL the comments to her discomfort were post-mortem. “Hope you’re resting now.” “RIP.” “Dag…” Was no one looking? Was it making them look too closely at their own pain and lacking?
Still, I want to believe that her closest homies called after seeing those messages and encouraged her beyond cliche that the quarantine is temporary, that she should seek some help in the interim… to not give in to those feelings. Maybe she was too far gone.
Maybe no one is supposed to stop you.