HAVE YE NOT READ? (audio\video reading of the following article)
I have always suffered from a touch of super hero syndrome. My inner circle (which day by day is getting smaller and smaller by intention) will confirm this without a doubt. This sounds very noble and fulfilling if you do not indeed suffer from said syndrome but I assure you it is not so clean and neat as you may imagine. I am not going to say that it doesn’t have its benefits because it most certainly does; however there is a possible down side to it all if it is not kept in check. As a young man coming up I was always looking for the lost cause, the hopeless victim, the damsel in distress to save with whatever means I had. My mother was accustomed to me bringing home some stray dog or young wannabe runaway in hopes of rehabilitating each person that came across my path. She would shake her head and say “Son, you can’t save the world.” To which I would reply in all serious, stubbornness “I can try.”
It took me years to understand that it indeed was stubbornness on my part to not realize the deeper meaning of what my mother was trying to teach me. Being naturally empathic and unaware of this I never realized where my emotions ended and another person’s began which lead to me more often than not with the feeling of obligation to help another out as if it were me in the situation they were so unfortunate to be in. I couldn’t distinguish what problems belonged to me and what problems simply did not. This is not a bad thing if the world were filled with completely genuine people that do indeed on the deepest level want to “be okay.” Right now the world just isn’t filled with those types of people. For every person stuck in depression or having suicidal thoughts that wants from the very bottom of their soul to be free and to know what it is like to live again; for every one that is truly and honestly broken and begging to be fixed there unfortunately is someone that does not indeed want to be fixed. It’s sad but I find it to be true.
I read on a wall somewhere once that some people don’t want to be fixed because being broken gets them attention and after reading this little meme my entire perspective of all the years I have spent on this planet came into focus; some people like being victims and the reason why is because it takes the responsibility to truly live away from them and puts it in the hands of everyone else. Or at least someone else. I think the reason some find this a logical way to live is because it allows them to not have to face the fear of failing if only they would try. I think it alleviates them from the burden of discipline and courage when they can easily say that their lot in life was handed to them broken and therefore the world owes them something. Now don’t get me wrong; this is not to say that there are not indeed genuine victims in need of a hand up because I most certainly can attest that there are. And it’s those people, that when they rise become beacons of hope and encouragement for others by the droves. They become heroes. The trick to having superhero syndrome successfully is to be able to discern the difference.
It took me a while but I believe I finally might have a grasp on that having enough retrospect in stock. Then comes the difficult process of giving your empathy a shot of nova cane when you understand that sometimes when you have swooped in to save someone you weren’t really saving them at all, rather making things worse. To clarify; the wrong time to swing in and bail someone out is when it stops them from experiencing the consequences of their bad actions or stupid decisions. Let me try to allegorize it using addiction as a model. If you are trying to help an addict of whatever chemical dependency they are enslaved to get better and that person indeed wants to get better you are from time to time going to have to let them screw up and not stop the flood of consequence. If they stay clean for thirty, sixty or ninety days then slip and go into a bender which ultimately leads to them getting into a car accident or going to jail; to bond them out of that situation is the same as being an accomplice to the hurts they have caused to others and especially to themselves. It’s a bitch. I know it. But it also happens to be the truth.
Yes on more than one occasion my parents bailed me out of shitty consequences that were coming my way but when it really counted; when it was going to be a defining moment in the evolution of my character they let the consequence kick the living shit out of me. I’m better for it. When the mind is weak the body will suffer, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he and if he thinketh that not being conscious of the outcome of his actions is wise, let him therefore be a fool.
Once at around age 16 or so I got lit and wrecked my mom’s truck on a late night thrill ride (yes it was about a girl) that was more humiliating than I could possibly describe. Yeah, now it’s a funny story that happened when I was a kid but for Christ’s sake I could’ve killed somebody. Chugging a pint of Evan Williams and even thinking I would make it out of the neighborhood in that condition was the most selfish and careless thing a person can ever do…and I did it and I am not proud of it. I am in fact ashamed of it and I should be because in that shame is a padlock on that action to prevent me from ever doing it again. That padlock was there because as the police slapped the hand cuffs on my rebellious teenage wrists and hauled me off to jail my parents let me stay there for a good long while before coming to give me a ride home. When I sheepishly got in the truck with my dad he didn’t even look me in the eye, which meant he was one: very disappointed in me and two: very serious. “You gonna have to work this one off yourself, boy.” And with that he turned the key and we rode home silently. That began my quest for something called a job in order to pay off an extremely large amount of fines, fees, DUI classes and community service. Every weekend my dad would drop me off at the police department to spend my mandatory hours in lock down for X amount of hours inside of a jail cell and I could tell he was getting a certain satisfaction in seeing me come to the realization that doing stupid shit will make your life suck. And honestly, life really isn’t more complicated than that. Have a good time, and don’t do stupid shit. How’s that for motivational inspiration? Anyway, why I remember that event so vividly is because they didn’t bail me out, they didn’t pay my way, they didn’t pull any strings to prevent me from experiencing the consequences of my actions. Actions, which if left unchecked, could lead to me killing someone or myself at the worst and hurting them or me in the least.
I suppose what I am saying is that sometimes the best way to save someone is by not saving them at all. Allow them to plummet to their doom and just before hitting rock bottom maybe finding it within; to save themselves. It does sound cruel, even to me but again; it happens to be the truth. At least in my experience anyway. You don’t always like the outcome and a good bit of the time it isn’t pretty to watch but from time to time you get to see something truly extraordinary and you get to see the larva of victim mentality grow into a butterfly of triumph. You get to see someone rise above the vices that torment them and be reborn with no one to attribute the resurrection to but themselves. From time to time you get to see the things hoped for but often not seen; the unbreakable spirit of the human being as it was intended to be.
I suppose the reason I am writing this is because recently this truth had manifested in my life shortly after it occurred in my thoughts and put me in the precarious position of applying to life the knowledge I had been given regarding this. Someone I care about, that in my opinion revels in the warm blanket of victim mentality and negative emotion did something extremely stupid. As a Virgo I think very fast, very far and very quantum physic-sey so I can arrive at various conclusions to the outcomes of various actions all at once. Wouldn’t you love to be a Virgo? So, when this person did this stupid thing I could tell they hadn’t really considered the consequences of doing such a stupid thing in the first place, they just did it under the assumption that there wouldn’t be any. How this didn’t occur to them was beyond me until I realized that the reason they assumed there would be no consequences is because they had never had to face them before. Worse was that the reason they hadn’t is because I had been “rescuing” them from consequences my whole life. So why would they expect consequences? In that moment I decided to first: cut off all empathy and second: make sure they understood that due to their selfish stupidity, life was about to suck for a minute. Once those two things were done I simply stepped aside and let the tides of my home girl, Karma, wash over the perpetrator of idiocy like a raging storm. I didn’t do this in an attitude of “ah ha! I told you so!” rather I did it as solemnly as my parents had done to me in my upbringing when they knew I needed to grow up a little bit. Who am I to prevent someone else from growing?
This is a tough cookie to chew for people with superhero syndrome but I assure you if you do not master it you will find yourself sucked dry of energy and life force by the swarm of victims that will ensnare you in the web of a never ending void. It’s not cold to say “No”. It’s not cruel to say “not this time.” It isn’t uncaring to say “this time you need to figure it out on your own.” Rest assured, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to put on your cape and rescue the girl from the villain or stop the evil plot of a shadowy cabal that seeks to destroy an innocent bystander. But let’s face it, if Superman didn’t have to keep bailing out the dip shit reporter from stupid decision after stupid decision all the damn time there might be peace in the Middle East or something. I mean, the bitch does needlessly eat up quite a bit of the man of steel’s time doesn’t she? He could be off feeding little kids in Africa and put a stop to that horseshit if he didn’t have to catch Lois from falling off of every other tower in Metropolis every fifteen minutes couldn’t he? Maybe if she actually went thud against the concrete one good time and woke up in the hospital all broken up she might say to herself “Hey, maybe assuming some boy scout in a cape is always going to be hovering at the bottom of a building isn’t such a brainy thing to do.”
So to close this out (because I see a spotlight outside my window in the sky with a D.L.C logo shimmering across the clouds) I guess I will summate by clarifying what it was my mom was trying to teach me all those years ago. When she said “Son, you can’t save the world” what she hoped I would come to the understanding of was that you can’t save the world because you have to give it a chance to save itself.
A SONG TO PLAY US OUT…by