Rescue Rangers

Don’t lie, this was the first thing that came to mind, right?

And then this, right?

…Okay, maybe that one is a couple stops down the line for most of you. It’s cool, I still love you.

Unedited rambly shit below, PS. And I’m not gonna apologize, or edit. …well, maybe edit, but not tonight.

For real though, a friend posted a facebook update the other day about being a “rescue ranger on the reform,” with regard to unlearning codependent behaviors, and it resonated with me. The word “rescue” has come up a couple of times in my personal life in recent weeks, and I wanted to think about that a bit before seeing Richard (FINALLY!!!) this Thursday.

I have been on both ends of the rescue rope, several times. And the fact that no one in my life, myself included, has the means to rescue everyone every time all the time, makes it mean that much more when the intent is pure and the “motive” nonexistent. I have been so very fortunate to have people come through for me right when circumstances feel bleak and unconquerable. Similarly, I have been able, though not as frequently as I would like, to lend a hand to my loved ones when they have found themselves in similar situations. Much like emotional support, which has been all I’ve had to offer for some time, material support is something I am starting from scratch with learning what’s healthy to give people I love and what’s enabling. It’s hard work, figuring out the difference, but something I’ve decided, and I think even Rich will not fight me on this – sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we do stupid shit for the people we love and suffer the consequences and are really okay with it. There was a time when I loaned a friend money for a bill payment that would have caused a lot of strife for her and her family had it gone delinquent. Some wires got crossed and funds weren’t where they needed to be when they needed to be and I ended up getting hit with a couple of overdraft fees before I even knew what had happened. I didn’t resent anyone (except the bank, cuz banks all suck) – shit happened, and my one-time $70 hit was nothing to what the longstanding consequences would have been for my friend’s lapsed car insurance. Did I know it was possible? Of course. Did I do it anyway? Hell yes. That, to me, was a healthy – or at least not unhealthy – decision, to do what I could for someone I love. And even today, when I’m playing catch-up and shuffling a few dollars from one place to another to creatively access as much of my money as I can before payday so I have gas in the car to get to the job that is helping me dig out of this hole, I will give what I can to someone I love – but these days, I did it only because I do not feel like it is expected of me, or like my gesture or I will be taken for granted. And in return, less than 24 hours later – without expectation, and with great gratitude, someone who loves me as family gives what she can to make my kid’s holiday a little brighter than I can provide on my own. This is Karma in action, folks.

In the past, I have given far more than I was able, fiscally and emotionally, to people I knew would take advantage and take for granted. I was a martyr, waiting for the payoff. Guess what? It never came. People who will take and take and take don’t have a payoff to give – they only create an illusion of one, create a belief in us that, if we aren’t getting what we think we should in return for what we’re giving, we must not be giving enough.

Gross, right?

I’m slowly learning the middle ground here. The place between giving everything and taking everything, the place between being a martyr and being a scrooge. The codependent lifestyle is made up of extremes, and so it makes sense that we swing like a pendulum to the opposite side when we begin to see the ways we have undone ourselves. And yet, occasionally, there’s a jerk on the chain – something, or someone, who says, “It’s okay this time. You can give. It won’t hurt you.” And sometimes you have to just roll the dice. I’m feeling pretty good about the chances I’m taking, and even better about my awareness around it all.