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Why do I get the impression you pity me?

Why do I get the impression you pity me?

Why do I get the impression you pity me?

I heard from another long lost friend this week. Whenever someone from my past contacts me they say, “You just popped up on my computer.”  As if my details appear randomly in their ad column on Facebook. (Like the pair of suede boots you were checking out on Zappos that materialize in your feed for weeks after you decided the boots you have are fine.)

 

They go on to profess undying love (I found you) or genuine interest in what I am doing or in at least one case (well, maybe a few cases), how much they hated me in my past life.

 

Admit it, you Googled me…

My guess is, these visitations from the past were just sitting around one day, bored and Googled “Marilyn Spiller”. Why not say that? After all, if you search for me, the grizzly details of my alcoholism and recovery are there for all to see. The particulars of my divorce settlement and the houses I lived in are buried in the history… a treasure trove of details. I am a dog-eared, open book.

 

Anyway, this person wrote to me, “I spent much of Sunday evening reading your blog, and your interview and watching your video.  Could not sleep that night.  It actually triggered all sorts of contemplation.  Took me until tonight to write.  I was so taken aback by all…I feel like I should offer some words of wisdom or gestures of help or something else vague and awkward.  Anyway, I am so glad to know you are fine and living the reality of Michigan and all that brings to one’s life and soul.”

 

Does that sound like pity to you? Or am I being overly sensitive? I mean the guy can feel what he feels, right?  I just never thought about it before – but, I bet there are folks out there who knew me before, who feel sorry for me now. What a horrible notion.

 

I’ll be honest, I’d prefer you hate me than pity me.

 

Don’t do that…

Please don’t feel sorry for me and here’s why:

  • I really was kind of a douche in my drinking days. I am a much nicer person now.
  • I hurt myself a lot and fell down and made a fool of myself when I was drinking. I am careful where I sit, sleep and walk these days.
  • If you’re sorry addiction happened to me, it could have been worse. A lot of people suffer more than I ever did. I didn’t kill anyone – I did not go to jail.
  •  I lost some things. I have the love of many people (that former nanny still despises me, but she left in the middle of the night with my leather bomber jacket, and she was a crappy babysitter, so I don’t really care…). I am getting back all the things I need and more.
  • My brain is better than ever.
  • My hair is better than ever…
  • After flittering around The Bahamas for 8 wasteful years (and a few years before and after), I am gainfully employed in a job I love.
  • And speaking of The Bahamas, there were plenty of good times before the fall…
  • I am in great physical shape.
  • I have found a calling.
  • I enjoy my sobriety and my life.
  • After plumbing the root cause of our collective addiction, people in recovery are the strongest, most introspective and honest people on the planet – I am proud to be among that group.
  • I am happy.
  • I write a blog, so I always get the last word..

 

It’s nice to get a blast from the past, I guess…

But, I’m not really into harkening back. I have rekindled some great relationships with my childhood friends, now that I’m back in Michigan, and a few of my college pals – but that’s different. I have met some amazing people from this blog, but they understand the journey.

 

There are some things best left in the past. Because I’ve been through a lot and I don’t want to have to explain. Or justify. Or give a second thought to whether you pity me or not. I certainly don’t want anyone to lose sleep over me. And there is no joy in considering a reconciliation or the rebirth of romance. Been there. Done that. “To know them is to be disappointed,” to quote you…

 

It’s like cleaning a closet. If you haven’t worn that Moschino jacket  for ten years, it’s unlikely you’ll wear it again, even though you paid a lot for it. Best to give it away. Or throw it away…

 

 

Today I’m not drinking, because I am careful where I sit, sleep and walk these days…

 

 

How come you’re not drinking?

E2E – Be careful where you sit, sleep and walk. Wish we were there to take care of you…

Comments (14)

  1. Rosalind
    Sep 1, 2017

    Powerful post, Marilyn. No pity here – just admiration and a healthy interest to see where this road continues to lead you. You are the only blogger I follow and it is because I like you and the way you write – with honesty and self deprecation, but never self pity. Have a great weekend.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Sep 2, 2017

      It’s so fun to see where the road will lead. And the conclusions to be drawn. You have been there for the whole damn shebang. And I appreciate your support. Have a great weekend Rosalind.
      Love
      M

  2. Eva
    Sep 1, 2017

    Marrilyn,

    I am quite sensitive but have not detected a notion of pity in the text you quoted. Instead, it was rather plain reporting to you how that person felt. In fact, I would think that the person cared for you to feel this affected. Generally people would say a couple of sentences and go about their day. Gosh, I thought I read in between the lines too much….I really would not take offense from that text alone. Did not feel a hint of pity here.

    Love your genuine voice! Have not read your blogs for a while, so it was a treat this morning, as always! If I could make a suggestion, I would lover your radar about what other people think about you a notch…. Does it really matter to you that much? You are happy and well at the core. This matters 🙂

    Eva

    • Tamara
      Sep 1, 2017

      Eva I am in agreement with you. Thank you for being honest and kind enough to speak these thoughts.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Sep 2, 2017

      I hear you. And I love to hear from you!
      XXXOOO
      M

  3. Tall Girl
    Sep 1, 2017

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because life is too good to mess up.
    Your well-meaning but clueless friend made me laugh–in all of life’s travails, the worst part is facing those who have no idea what to say because they have not walked my path and are not naturally empathetic. My situation (death, disease, loss, change) makes THEM uncomfortable because it is all about THEM. It is clearly not about me, but their self-absorption splatters me with their verbal discomfort of platitudes or awkwardness, forcing me to smooth the waters and comfort THEM. That is why you are particularly brave, Marilyn, because you put your life out there for everyone to respond in their own, self-framed way. And then you are gracious about those responses, no matter what they are. Brave and gracious, that is my sober friend, Marilyn!

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Sep 2, 2017

      Maybe not so gracious in this setting? You are exactly right, per usual. And I think everyone gets there was some history there. Let sleeping chihuahuas lie… I miss you.
      Love,
      Mare

  4. Richard
    Sep 1, 2017

    M. No pity, just respect…..R

  5. Lori
    Sep 1, 2017

    I’m pretty empathetic and didn’t detect pity in the lines left from an old friend. Though to me “Congratulations! Well done!” Is the natural response to your amazing journey.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Sep 2, 2017

      Oh boy – maybe I got it wrong. It is hard to know what to say when someone tells you they have been on an extra long booze cruise. Right? I think I was assuming the guy wanted me to feel something for him after all these years. I bet I miss read the sitch. Always possible. And I appreciate your insight.
      Great to hear from you.

      XXXOOO
      M

  6. Tamara
    Sep 1, 2017

    Somehow I question if there is more than we know. But I agree with Eva lower your radar. I too do not see the quoted words to show pity. I imagine anyone (with a heart) who has suddenly learned of your plight and /or past would feel some uneasiness/empathy/ sympathy for your pathway . Or at least I would certainly hope they FEEL something. Don’t we want a world that will reach out to each other and show their human heart? But that doesn’t mean to say they feel pity. That would be an assumption/ inference.

    Now maybe they did pity you. So? Take the high road and teach them with your kind words why difficult paths in life often carry one to new opportunities. Because the one thing I can assure you is that many have their own difficult paths and learning to find hope/change your perspective/ think positively can change a person’s life. So what did you hope to gain when this person who wrote the quote when they read this? Were you really hoping to educate them on how/why you have come out of alcoholism a different person – stronger and kinder? Because I would wonder how the person who actually took time to ponder about you or your pathway in life would have felt having read this. (Especially IF the possible assumptions of being pitied were incorrect).

    Do what you do best- find the right words to give the person knowledge and power to understand better. Perhaps there is a reason that your pathways crossed again- perhaps nothing you are aware of yet. Give your lists to explain why your past has unfolded your present mind set. Why pity isn’t necessary. Explain the way that life’s difficulties can unfold a beautiful opportunity for growth. Always take the opportunity to teach in a positive manner because this is how we all learn new information and kindness. Creating a insightful reader is one thing but I wonder if this occurred with your past acquaintance or was he just hurt?

    Just remember as you stated you are the blog writer and you have the last word. But the last word of kindness and caring goes much further in the world of brotherhood and community.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Sep 2, 2017

      You are right. There is more to the story. And the fact is, if one hasn’t walked in my particular brand of shoes, one can’t fully empathize. Read what Tall Girl had to say… Maybe I was blowing off steam – maybe I was being unfair. Will put that in my bong and smoke it… It is always nice to hear from you.

      XXXOOO
      M

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