I don’t think I’ve ever been able to label myself as a Taylor Swift fan, however her latest album sings to me on an almost cerebral level.
“It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.” It doesn’t get any more real than that. It’s me. Clearly. I AM the problem, the root of all evil in not only my life, but the lives of the people around me. I hold they skeleton key that unlocks the solutions everyone’s problems, and when things go wrong, it’s upon my boney shoulders that the weight of the world rests its aching head.
At the crack of dawn the complaints begin to stack themselves on my “to-fix” shelf. The weather is too cold, it’s too dark, we’re out of something delicious, someone had a nightmare, someone didn’t sleep well, there is a test today, the laundry isn’t done, the lights are too bright, there’s a strange sound… The list of ridiculous things that I’m expected to solve, fix, do, obliterate, repair, or control is never-ending. I’m expected to control the weather, the amount of daylight, and sub-conscious thoughts that belong to people with whom I do not share a body, or mind. Somehow, in my infinite wisdom, I’m expected to control all teachers’ classes, and deliver their curriculums, while assigning tasks that are not too daunting, too abstract, too intense, or too easy. I’m expected to make time stand still, or speed up, depending on which person is dictating the demand.
It’s the crack of dawn. I’ve barely slept four straight hours, and already I’m tying my cape, and saving the day. Except, I’m not actually saving the day; I’m failing with every movement. I can’t keep up with the demands, nor can I control the untamed wilds of the universe. I’m trying though; grasping at straws, clinging to the edge of a cliff, trying desperately to hold on to something while watching everything I need fly off in the wind.
I often wonder if the demands are earnest, or simply spoken for the sake of hearing one’s own voice. When it all boils down, my name, and my fingerprints scar everything I touch. I try. I can’t. I do. I don’t. Nothing is ever the way people expect, or perceive it to be. It’s ME, hi, I’m the problem, it’s ME.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m the common denominator of every issue. Forgotten laundry: my fault since I didn’t remind someone to be responsible. Nothing desirable for lunch? My fault, I didn’t buy a variety of groceries when I stuck the the dictated list that was presented to me. Tests, and social awkwardness plague peoples’ days: MY fault once again because no matter how hard I tried to prepare people for the real world, no one ever actually invests the time to listen, or learn.
So, it’s me, and it will continue to be me because for someone with tiny shoulders, I can carry a burden like an ant delivering a crumb to their nest. Do I enjoy it? Of course, there is a pleasure in being needed, but the pleasure dries quickly when passion turns to poison and I’m left cleaning up messes that were never part of my battles to fight.
Will I ever be freed from the shackles of blame and scapegoating? Maybe? Maybe when I learn how to step back and allow people to flip, and flop in life lessons rather than immediately becoming their lifeboats. Maybe I am the problem because I allow myself to be?