Sunday, October 18, 2009
A woman friend wrote this little poem about her friend's struggle and I found it to be very visceral.
I watched you self-destruct
today when your disease consumed
and that too familiar glaze manifested
in your childlike eyes before it snapped
like a light switch and turned on
the woman who handed you
the truth the rest of us can’t
or is that simply you
because I can't find
where your disease ends
and you begin
It was fifteen years ago when I first encountered an eating disorder in a dear friend of mine. As she destroyed her body she destroyed something inside all of us who were close to her. In her desperation she became a weapon of sorts and the shrapnel from her exploding soul still remains in small pieces inside me.
Another friend of mine who understands alcoholism told me that often the alcoholic who has acted destructive doesn't remember the incident ... it is the people around him/her that hold the memory. I think any addictive disorder has this element of putting the pain onto others.
We are connected to each other more profoundly than we sometimes allow. We are constantly receiving form from others, and donating form to them. In other words, what I am changes you, and what you are changes me. Who we are, matters.
As I've aged I have come to know that I can do hardly anything to change someone else's life, and certainly almost nothing to influence their choices. Many people ask for advice, few take it. Maybe that is just as well. But I have also come to believe that if I keep facing toward my own health, my own wellness, then I become, simply, a peaceful presence. This is what it means to refuse to cooperate with the dysfunction/manipulation. I think this is also the way to be of help.