Funny thing happened on the way to 50…

 Someone called me a bitch this week.

In years past, that would have upset me, but I’ve been thinking about it all week and I’ve come to the conclusion in this case the word encompassed so much more and I am flattered.

“Bitch” means I am unyielding in my knowledge of right and wrong; It means I won’t be taken advantage of any longer than I already have; It means I am not willing to be unhappy every day, living an existence that goes against who I am, to the very core.

It means I told him to get a job and get out of my house.

Ha.

That makes me laugh. Not that he was so angry he called me a bitch…but that I have come to the point where I knew he would call me one when I broached the subject and I did it anyway.

A couple of days after this argument, I wanted to tell him that he made me into the bitch I am. Truth is, he is very much a part of the reason I won’t allow people to walk on me anymore. He knew what the needs in this family were, he was reminded of those needs when he did not react to help and he was reminded again after more time passed. Then he was told it is over, please remove yourself from my life.

He is hurt. He is angry. He cried today. I’ve been crying for four months and it did not bring my father back from the grave and I survived. He will too.

Decades ago, I was identified, within myself, by my sweetness and willingness to help others. I was known for it by my friends and family.

Funny thing happened on the way to 50…

I found giving the shirt off one’s back is not a good thing. I discovered love and enabling never end and often go hand in hand. I see the hand reaching out to me, palm up, question floating in the air and in slow motion I look up to the face of one of the most intelligent people I know…and he’s asking me for change to put in his gas tank because…because something. I can’t hear him after I hear the words “in change” and know that is a camouflaged avoidance of the words “money” and “dollars” which he knows will set me into a rage.

I am incredulous at the willingness of others to fail.

My own son…my daughter’s dad…  Grown men who have deferred to this little woman with a big bark.

I see them as one because their actions have become blurred in my eyes. While their basic personalities are different, their habits are closely related. And they hate each other.  I read somewhere that we despise most in others what we recognize about ourselves.

Mirrors guys…look in the mirror.

The pair of them over the years have most notably, lied to me and allowed me to take care of their basic housing and food needs. Gee, thanks guys.

I don’t make a lot of money. I have been struggling for over 10 years financially, since my divorce. Neither of them have helped. Both have caused me a lot of trouble and cost me cold hard cash. I’m kinda tired of living like this.

I think perhaps, like a lot of women, I took on this role of mothering and caring for everyone because it truly is in my nature to nurture. I raised five kids and I love children. I love old people. I want to help the needy. I have suffered and I know that the power to relieve my suffering was contained in the hands of another – others who often did nothing. To this day, right now, there are people out there who know not what to do with their money. It sits in bank accounts collecting interest and will still be there the day they die. I am painfully aware that even a tiny fraction of that money, never missed, could change everything about my life. So I give. I have more than others and I share not only what money I do have, but my resources and my time.

With this mindset of giving and relieving the burdens of others comes the painful task, the tightrope, of helping someone when they should be helping themselves. Add to that, genuine love and concern for this person…and the fact that my stretchmarks and c-section scars bear their names…and you are soon talking about my own children in need.

What mother could say no to a hungry child? Even if he is 30 years old and needs a shave?

Three years ago, I could not say no. Today I say no far more often than I say yes. I have instilled some theatrics that makes asking me for anything much more difficult. If they approach me now, they get an incredulous look – a mix of pain, frustration, “do you think I’m stupid” and WTF???

Unfortunately, I am still unable to completely say “no” at times…even for change for gas money…because, well…because I see an end in site and not giving him the change keeps him in my house all day borrowing my phone to call people who might lend him “a couple dollars”.  I hear McDonald’s has open interviews, son.  Too proud to flip burgers, not too proud to take your mama’s change…hmmm…

So I’m a bitch because I don’t back down when someone uses me and I want it to stop. I am a bitch because the unsolicited back rub you gave me last night while we were watching tv did not make me change my mind. I still want to you move out. I’m a bitch because you are several thousand dollars in arrears in child support and I can’t buy new school clothes for our daughter and you aren’t working.

I sense that my monologue is beginning to sound like an episode of Jerry Springer, so I will close with this last thought.

Today, I release the burdens others have place upon me. I refuse to accept your problems as mine. My life is lived in faith and peace.

And I intend to keep it that way.

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