I can’t help it. When I think of that phrase, I think of the movie “Volunteers” with Tom Hanks and John Candy, not “The Wizard of Oz.” But that’s me.
I’ve done quite a bit of vetching lately about all the goings-on at that little store I had. And the vetching has lead to thinking. I have an awful lot of friends from those days. People I love and adore. It wasn’t all bad. Just like all lessons in life, it was hard. There was a lot of pain. But I came out of it a better, stronger person and I’m thankful for the people it brought into my life. Well, the ones I’ve kept, at least…(and you all know who you are!)
The truth is, I’ve always been the kind of person who loved too much. Is there such a thing? Well, no. The lesson though is that not everyone you love is someone you should trust. In fact, knowing the limitations of the people you love and accepting them as they are is an important part of truly loving. The flaw, in the long run, was mine. I’m so fond of that universal, brotherly love thing…that I went around trusting people I should not have.
All that brought me was heartache. And it was my fault, completely.
The truth is, I’ve always been this way. I have always craved acceptance, and always blindly loved and accepted everyone who walked into my life. As far back as I can remember it’s been a repeating theme. The neighborhood girl who constantly picked fights with me and bossed me around…but I kept coming back for more. I never held out, never fought back because she wouldn’t come begging me back. So I did. The first grade bully who told me over-and-over to wash my hands. She was the same age as me, why did I let her tell me my hands were dirty? And that same girl telling me in 2nd grade that another girl didn’t like me…and my complete heartache. I went running to the other little girl almost in tears only to have her tell me that the first bully was the one who didn’t really like me…and I went back and forth between them like a yo-yo for I don’t remember how long.
This trait continued throughout the remainder of grade school, into and out of middle school. By the time I reached High School I hated myself so completely I tried to turn myself into someone else altogether.
Then came college. Well, the second college. I fell in with the hippies, still looking for that love and acceptance. I found it for awhile…and found a bunch of messed up people as well. The ideals espoused in the 60s and 70s didn’t translate too well in the 90s. I suppose they didn’t do so well in the 60s and 70s either, but I wasn’t there for that…
Over and over again, beating my head against the brick wall, wearing my heart on my sleeve and wondering why it got stabbed so often.
Eventually I became a little more defensive. But not enough. If I’d taken better care of myself, I wouldn’t have fallen into the same trap.
So here’s what “Dorothy” learned…
Love all. That’s good. But loving doesn’t mean you have to trust or like a person. You can love them from a safe distance. You don’t have to have every person you love in your life. Sometimes loving them means you need to stay away from them.
Like many. I really do actually not just love everyone. There’s an awful lot of people in this great big world that I like. Maybe we don’t have everything in common. All it takes is one or two things to make a conversation. I don’t expect my genealogy friends to be pagans, or my pagan friends to be genealogists. I don’t expect anyone else to play the video games I do or have the same tastes in movies. People are like restaurants. When I’m asked where I want to eat I genuinely don’t care because no matter where we end up, I’ll find something on the menu that I like. No matter who I talk to, I’m bound to find something to talk about.
Trust few. I’ll admit, this is the hard part for me. The hardest lesson of all to learn. I hope by now I’ve learned it. There are varying degrees of trust, of course…but in general, there are only three people in the world I would trust completely. Three. That’s not a lot, but that’s enough. There are probably another 10-20 I trust mostly. There are some I only trust with children, some I never trust with children, some I never trust with money, some I always trust with money…the list goes on.
Maybe…just maybe…writing all this out will mean I won’t have to learn this lesson again. Because that really sucked.