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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Real Life Killed the Théâtre des Vampires

There was a time in my life when I was addicted to drama. Having grown up with much upheaval and instability, it seemed the norm. Every day was so full of crises that I'd no idea that wasn't the way life was to be lived. The constant strife and battling created a need for it that continued for years. If I wasn't involved in some tsuris I grew quickly bored and sought out a new source of drama. This led to many minor disasters in all areas of my life. I was attracted to men- well, people in general- that fed the need for stimulation. And being by nature somewhat openhearted and wanting to help others, it was a perfect fit. I would grant trust immediately and wait to see if that trust was warranted or betrayed. My addiction to Grand Guignol was complete.

Then in my thirties a series of terrible happenings took the wind out of my sails. The enormous amount of pain from these events made me step back and reevaluate what I'd been doing. And who I'd keep company with in the future. It wasn't a purging nor an overnight change. I'd just simply had enough of trouble for a lifetime and was tired of it. Little by little, I gave up my "projects" that were people- quite arrogant of me to begin with, I think. I did keep myself invested in relationships I had, but with a different viewpoint. No more running to the rescue or rising to the alarm. Life itself was quite stressful, without actively seeking out more.

This became a new standard over many years. I grew more selective of people to whom I'd become attached. I took new friendships more slowly and watched out for my reactions. I gave myself, and others, space to evaluate. Which didn't mean not being there for anyone; I'll still drop everything to help someone in distress. But nowadays I have a better understanding of when that's appropriate, and also of my own limits. Once upon a time I thought I could handle anything. I know that's not true now. We all have our limits, we all can easily get in over our heads, we all have a martyr in us. Martyrs are victims. That's what I refuse to be anymore. If I don't draw the line, nobody will. And so there are boundaries but not walls.

It's a process. But out of it I've gained so much... I really cherish people in my life. There is much joy to be had in the non-combustible. Relative peace leaves room for appreciation. It's easier to laugh when you aren't living others' lives all the time. I've staked the vampires and I don't invite new ones in. Vampires aren't sexy; they just drain your life away. Carry garlic and look for the fangs.

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