Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Neverland Ain't What It's Cracked Up To Be

I was thinking earlier today about Peter Pan. I've been dealing with a particularly stressful situation in which someone I am close to, that is my age, absolutely refuses to be responsible and it's directly affecting me. Actually, looking back, it's been "affecting" me for years and I'm just now realizing it. That kind of thinking, in my Disney re-wired brain, conjured up the memory of the illustrious figure who literally fights growing up. Is there a lonelier figure than that of Peter Pan, the boy child trapped by his own selfish desire to avoid responsibility and growth? Even when I was younger, I remember feeling sad for Peter who was so scared of change that he created a reality that didn't allow it. He stole away others to join him, but because of his inability to accept change, he never fully accepted them. Peter Pan was utterly depressing in my 8 year old mind (I was emo before it existed, y'all!)

So, of course, dealing with a "Peter Pan" of my very own, has been trying to put it lightly. I have always accepted change and growth...maybe not with the utmost grace initially, but I learn and prosper. It has tempered me into what I believe is a resilient and well rounded individual. The past year has moved me into a level of "grown up" that only loss can bring about. I lost my proverbial "safety net" when my Pops passed on. He had always been my protector and "righter of wrongs." If I needed anything, he was there, ready to take care of it. The last year has really emphasized just how intricately he had been wound into my identity. It isn't so much that I needed someone to catch me often, but it was the knowledge that someone would and could that kept me strong and seemingly invincible.

I am naturally a nurturing person, but I can see now that there are certain types of people who become enabled when in my presence. Essentially, it becomes an un-healthy symbiotic relationship. I feed out sympathy and kindness and instead of using it as fuel to get up, they wallow in it and never move forward. Why should they, I'll take care of everything! Who wouldn't stick around for a gig like that? We learn from our parents how it is we should interact with the world around us. I'm lucky that I had two guides who could exist together while maintaining their own identities. Parents who encouraged me to wander out and find my own way, but let me know the door was open to visit whenever my feet got tired. Parents that let me fall so that I understood that my actions had consequences. I realize that I have failed the Peter Pan in my life by not allowing them to fall, setting un-realistic expectations. I enabled a crippling behavior that stunted their emotional growth and it hurts to accept that. I had always thought I was a great friend, but looking back I can see the wrongs I have aided in. I'm finding my way and growing into a person I want to be each day. Maybe someday, after some time has passed, my Peter will have learned to fly outside of Neverland and we'll find a way to mend fences. For now, I will accept my blame, and bow out before I sacrifice one more minute of my peace of mind.

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