One of the problems with being a people pleaser is that you are in a constant state of low grade dishonesty.
Afraid to tell your truth -- often completely out-of-touch with what your truth even is -- every interaction is based on a reflexive fear of any kind of conflict whatsoever.
We may tell ourselves we're nice, or that we mean well, but the truth is often that we are simply afraid to play it any differently. In fact for some of us, we actually lose the ability to.
(It's not courtesy, tact or diplomacy if you're afraid to be clear. Or, conversely, if you have to work yourself up into a hysterical rage to finally be honest, and then spend the next 24 hours apologizing and passive/aggressively asking everyone if you're a terrible person, just so they can reassure you that you're not, you are equally trapped in fear.)
As a people pleaser, at the end of the day I have no integrity.
And there is, for lack of a better word, a psychic price one pays for that.
Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I’ve had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn’t mean there’s less for me. In fact, I know that there isn’t even a pie, that there’s plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.
But I don’t believe it for a second.
I secretly believe there’s a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing my fork.
(The first impediment to authentic faith: Mocking the process. I always get my back foot caught trying to clear that hurdle.)
"I surrender again. Really. I can't. Here. Take it."
And I began reading from The List In My Head.
The List contains all the things that I want
to surrender but
I am afraid to.
The List is like a collection of fears and doubts about
all the stuff
I can't live without
or think I have to have,
that I have to figure out
how to keep or get
"if I only manage well."
It doesn't help
or it doesn't matter
that the list is reasonable:
health shelter sustenance the ability to
make my way in the world yet again.
"I surrender. Again."
I want to use The List's very reasonableness as a bargaining chip,
"Come on, it's not like I'm asking for THIS, I'm just asking for this,
You should accommodate me."
Apparently that's not how it works because
if it did I would have been
performance art surrender,
the surrender which contains the tiny hidden tumor of
The "Okay, okay, NOW I surrender.
So... since I did... now I get what I'm asking for, yes?"
that doesn't work, either,
Because if it did, well,
So I lay there in the dark, and I closed my eyes,
and I paused in my List to let all the
weird purple swirls behind my eyelids
and then I pictured an altar with a fire.
And I went down the List, and with each item I said
"Take it. Take it." and I fed it to the fire.
"I'm afraid I'll lose the apartment, and I'll have to move, or worse, but... Your will be done. Take it. Take it."
and WHOOSH I fed it into the fire.
"The job interview. Even just... the job... Your will be done. Take it. Take it."
WHOOSH I fed it to the fire.
"My bum foot... my health... Your will take it take it."
WHOOSH fed to the fire.
"My relationship. Your will. Take it."
The long list of petty and grand fears and hopes and expectations and then
"Your will. Your will."
My spirituality can slide pretty easily into superstition, which is just the frightened part of me trying to find the recipe for how to get God to do what I want. Along with that is the fear that if I surrender something -- truly surrender it -- then the worst possible outcome -- the outcome I fear most -- has now been given cosmic "permission" to manifest.
Which is not just trying to manipulate God, it's trying to play God too.
It would be so great to be able to write here,
to share with you,
that after this burning prayer I felt that "great clean wind of a mountain top blowing through and through."
An impact sudden and profound.
But my List is long, (I can be very frightened, sometimes)
and I fell asleep as I offered it,
WHOOSH WHOOSH hush
and dreamed of clean flames and great love and things I won't share here.