Sunday, September 18, 2011

Second Chances

I've had an absolutely fabulous last few days hanging out with my tried and true buds and getting myself reacquainted with others, even throwing some new blood into the mix! It's been a lot of laughs and craziness, and while I'm exhausted from more booze than I've drank in years and restless sleep patterns, it's also lent itself to some deep(ish) thinking.

According to various psychics, psychologists, spouses and friends, I am a woman that has many walls up to protect my weary heart. I've built these walls with a steady and consistent hand over the years, and it's rare that most get more than a glimpse over the top, much like Wilson on Home Improvement. Ya, I went all retro there.

So, these walls. They are sturdy and they've really served me well. The truth is, anytime I've cautiously removed some bricks while waiting for the whole tower to tumble, my prediction has become reality and the people I let in have ended up disappointing me like I knew they would. Once again, up we build brick by brick.

To this end, I've always considered myself a chick that does not, will not, has not....given second chances. Who in their right mind gives someone a second chance to kick them in the gut if they already did it once? Isn't that the very definition of INSANITY? In the least, I'd say stupidity. What's that saying? "Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me?" I didn't invent that quote so obviously it's not a novel thought. Typically and historically then, if you've found yourself kicked over to the outside perimeter of my walls, you had best stay there. You don't even need to come crawling back with peace offerings because I don't even want to hear it.

That's what I've always felt about myself, anyways.

Yet as I lay in my tipsy insomnia, I realized that I've actually given MANY second chances throughout my lifetime. I would say many of those instances shouldn't have even happened and still just ended up being for naught-but chance away I did.

I've given chances to my parents to make better decisions for themselves and for their kids. It didn't happen. I've given chances to my abusive stepfather to FINALLY just "get better" and apologize. That didn't happen. I even went as far as going to his dying bedside to at least let him know, for my own sake, that I had let everything that he did to me, to my family, "go" and that I was releasing him from my life with that last forgiveness. I think that's an ultimate last chance!

Lately, I've been giving second chances to old friendships in the hopes that people have grown and matured and that the good qualities I enjoyed are still there, but that the ones I didn't have had time to fade away with new found knowledge and life experience. I don't tend to believe that people ever really change that much, but I guess I'm putting some cash down and rolling the dice.

Here's the thing though. I'm no longer blindly giving second chances to situations with no hope or to people with no real understanding of change or of their own actions. You can't make an egocentric narcissist see that the reason they lost a friendship in the first place wasn't the other persons doing-it was theirs. No one walked away from them-they pushed them away irrevocably. You can't make them see that what they did isn't about their sob story-it's about the one they created. Well, you can't make them see anything other than their own stakes in life-that's the very definition of narcissist. Nope, you can't lead a camel to water, or something? When I decide something, I'm pretty clear and resolute in my decision. I've been known to walk away and not even glance over my shoulder, and not feel badly about it either. I have no problem with that. The new me is allowing people to show me their true selves though, if they wish and if they feel they have something of value to offer my life. It'll either turn out all good, or they'll hang themselves with their own rope. Either or and I'll be A-okay.

Life certainly is never dull, is it? I'm realizing that I don't have to let everyone who knocks inside my inner circle, but I don't have to immediately close everyone out either. An inner peep hole to peer at their actions while they await admittance is a perfect solution.

In the end, my walls are still there surrounding my heart, and it's never very hard to do a quick patch job in any one area. When it comes to "guarding and protecting MY heart" (that's a Bachelor reference for those in the know!) I'm a reno expert. I'm the Mike Holmes of heart wall repair. I'm the Handy Manny of inner mortar. I'm the.....well, I'm the woman with the strength to recognize that sometimes people will surprise you for the better if given the second chance, and sometimes they won't. Either way, it's all a calculated leap, best served with the skill of knocking down and building back up.

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