Responsibility has been such a tricky word for me. Growing up, I really felt that it meant being really organized, following all the rules, being "good + nice + quiet + pretty + taking up as little space as physically possible." I have been really exhausted for always because I also thought that responsibility meant that I solved all the problems that anyone I crossed paths with had, while never having any problems myself. If I overheard of someone at two tables over who's sibling's partner's boss's kid might have a mild cough, I felt entirely obligated to leave my meal, run as fast as possible to the nearest CVS, purchase an all natural organic homeopathic remedy and dash back in time to deliver it with apologies for taking so long. Now, not only was I drained from all this dashing about to save the day, no one ever seemed to appreciate all the saving I was doing for them and not only did they not appreciate it, lots of folx straight up hated me for it and bosses sternly asked me to stop butting into everyone's business and well I just couldn't figure it out. And when it came to parenting, not only was a the worst kind of helicopter codependent parent, I was literally oblivious to how it was not the only way to be a parent and that my kid would possible want or benefit from any other kind of parent. Sooooo, it was a shock when just recently I had the stunning realization that responsibility sounds an awful lot like response - ability and I was the total spiritual awakening that maybe I didn't have the ability to respond for most of my life. I was only reacting. I was having experiences through the lens of my shame about the past and fear of the future and my behavior was a reaction to my nervous system's chronic defense state. I thought I was responding to my life, but in reality, as a result of my overactive fearful nervous system, I wasn't able to respond and instead was seeing fires all around me and thought myself the valiant firefighter that was attacking people who were perfectly safe and not on fire with a horrible blasting fire hose. I didn't have the ability to perceive reality and therefore, I was reacting, not responding. And it is in the response that we actually connect. So from now on, when I am beating myself up for not keeping ALL the gears turning in perfect rhythm throughout the entire planet and I say why can't you be more responsible, I am going to take my dear little nervous system and say, it sounds like you weren't able to respond, let's take a break together, do some breathing and sewing, maybe take a walk outside or distract with a show or activity until we can get back to ventral vagal. I'll hold your hand until you feel better and there is no rush. You're not able until you're able, I love you, you're doing great.
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