I was raised Catholic. In the Midwest. By an alcoholic. I win the codependency trifecta if ever there was one. If there were a gold medal for codependency it would be mine; unless you want it and then you’re more than welcome to it – I wouldn’t want to hog it unfairly. Also, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble I’d really like to inhale and exhale maybe just once…but I don’t have to if it would really bother you or be inconvenient in any way! I’m sorry I even asked, but I’m sort of starting to pass out.
You can imagine about how well this kind of “relating” flies here in the Northeast, where the middle finger is more of a greeting than an act of aggression. By the time I’ve set up my apologetic proposal, I’ve already annoyed at least 3 counties with the waiting. My boss (bless her) doesn’t say a word when I ask her if she’s sure, she just waits for me to say “yes, of course you are – I’ll take care of that right away then,” and thanks me. I can suck the oxygen from any relationship in record time. If only I could use my powers for deep-sea diving. Or scrubbing carbon from the atmosphere. Or pretty much anything useful at all.
As I’ve said here before, my therapist keeps trying to get me to “own my power,” which I would totally do and be my own damn public utility if I could just figure out how it’s supposed to work. We talk about it week after week, in which he throws metaphors at me and I stare at them blankly as they fall to the floor, kind of like when I try to give my cat a treat and she doesn’t understand that it’s food because it’s a) not on the plate and b) smells/looks different than food so it must not be food, so she just sniffs it and looks at me with her special accusing/puzzled expression and then sadly walks away. She’s the only cat I’ve ever known who didn’t understand tuna water, people. And I cannot throw stones, because I am just like my cat, except the tuna water is being powerful.
Anyway, I had a particularly bad episode of anxious codependency that I brought up in our last session and it (sort of inevitably) came down to the fact that I am just giving way too many fucks about stuff that I actually want to give a fuck about but not to the point of damaging myself with anxiety and paralysis. So, to get to the punchline:
Steve: Codependency is a hemorrhaging of feminine energy – it’s over-caring – and it needs to be balanced with some more masculine, aggressive energy. Which is what’s so great about “not giving a fuck” because it’s a very playful expression of that energy.
Me: So…what you’re saying is, when I’m getting anxious and codependent, I should put a dick on it.
Steve:……..HA! YES! Yes, that’s EXACTLY what you should do!
Me: Oh my God, why didn’t you just SAY so!? HOW many angles have we tried to approach this problem from over the years? If you’d just made it something simple and disruptive that I wouldn’t forget, we’d have moved onto something else. Now I have “don’t give a fuck” AND “put a dick on it” – we might be close to done here.
Steve: probably not.
And that’s why I love Steve. I mean, aside from having helped me become a functional human being. Because without batting an eye, he just rolled with my thinking and called it progress.
More importantly, I have a new tool. And a new theme song**: “All the Codependents” (to the tune of “All the Single Ladies” of course). Because if you’re worried then you shoulda put a dick on it. Someday I might be drunk enough to create an awesome/terrifying video to go with it. If your follow-through is better than mine, please do feel free to make your own. There can’t be too many, in my opinion. Or maybe one is too many and a hundred is never enough…
Bonus: I explained all this to Corinne, who said, “so when you’re being annoyingly over-caring I should just be like, ‘MOM. Put a dick on it!'”
At that moment I realized that my work here is done. And that I really, really like having an adult daughter.
UPDATE: I want to be clear that I am totally supportive of my variously-gendered friends and that this is an inner dick, so you don’t have to have one or put anyone else’s on it, so it’s totally gender-fluid. Except that was probably the wrongest place ever to put “fluid”. Sorry about that.
**It occurs to me that if you don’t respect artistry, you can always go with Bobby McFerrin’s classic “Don’t Worry, Put a Dick On It.”