The impetus for my recent trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul was two-fold. A good friend was about to undergo a simple but scary surgery all by herself, and I wanted to be there to support her. Another friend and I had talked about me “coming up” in January sometime to spend the weekend. It worked out that I could do both in the same trip.
I’ve been fond of saying lately that I’ve lost my people skills. I used to be pretty gregarious and easy-going, but since my bipolar blow-up five years ago and the subsequent struggle toward sanity, I seem to be much less tolerant of humankind in general. Staying in other people’s homes for ten days made me realize that what I’m really uncomfortable with is the view in the mirror.
Those of us who have gone through therapy, or done any spiritual work, or seen Dr. Phil know that when other people irritate us, we’re really just reacting to the same or similar qualities or fears in ourselves. People act as a mirror to show us what we dislike about ourselves, and where we need to focus our love in order to heal. Other people don’t piss me off. I piss me off.
So, I received gift after gift of insight while staying with my friends. I discovered that my best friends are my cats, and that I really don’t want to bother with anyone else. I realized that I expect to be catered to, my needs anticipated and planned for through some miraculous act of clairvoyance (so much easier than all that pesky communication crap). If I don’t have a person’s rapt and undivided attention, I am unloved, unworthy and unimportant. I’ve gotten so fixed on order and routine that untidiness of any kind feels like a threat to my sanity. And, perhaps hardest of all, men make me nervous, but I want one.
Holy Hand Mirror, Batman! No wonder I hole up in my apartment with the covers over my head and a cat in my armpit. I do not want to see these things about myself, but there they are—hiding in plain sight along with other niggles I’ve yet to translate. But, this is the nature of the Work. Look. See. Be curious about funny reactions to things and people. Go deeper. Look again.
I love and adore my girlfriends who opened their homes to me. I bless them for tolerating my fussiness as I gazed into their beautiful mirrors. And I thank them for the gifts, which give me my next bits of Homework. On the other side of that work will be someone who breathes deeper and is more comfortable in her own skin. And maybe even a better friend.