There is this saying in German which I can’t really translate at the moment into the right words. It describes that steady drop of water that keeps falling on the exact same spot on a rock. Over the time because of the consistency it will wear the stone out until finally it will actually create a hole in it.
Like with many things this saying can be used in many ways. In a positive one in which you describe the fact that you simply don’t give up and eventually reach your goal. But also in the negative way in the sense that steady actions will eventually leave their mark, no matter how strong someone or something is. I’m pretty sure that Danny by now knows where this is going, as I had a little “comment-conversation” with him lately following one of my comments on one of his question of the day posts.
Details will be left out here but there is that much I’d like to share with you. I watch my children on a daily basis how they soak up everything that goes on around them. Every tiny action will in one way or the other stick. It was the same with us, when we were little and in the process of being shaped. Our actions as adults often don’t seem as important to us but everything will leave it’s mark. Some of us will leave that little mark unintentionally, some actually use drop by drop of their action as puzzle pieces in their little plan. Just like a predator grooming its pray, they work step by step towards the main goal. Often it’s in relation of control over others and in letting their little drops fall at the right time they create this pattern. A pattern that later will allow them to have the kind of control over an individual they want to have.
We all have our patterns, our drops that we use unintentionally but then leave their little mark in the lives of our children. Patterns that we grew up with, little things that in the end will never do any harm.
I’m talking about the other side though. Although still not going into details I can only bring up what a good friend of mine once used to describe the way people like that think. To the day it’s something that helps me cope with the little drops that left their mark.
She told me back then that certain people simply want to see a white plate black. Not grey, not dark grey not off-white but black. In the beginning you will look at the plate and think that they are making a joke. You will smile and tell them that the plate is white. You speak up, speak out. But your not heard, they will not listen. In fact they never really truly listen. They will shake their heads and tell you again that the plate is black. It will continue like this and without being stubborn you will get to the point where you will try to explain, maybe even defend your point of view. The plate is clearly white. Even others tell you that it is but for that one person, a person that is important to you, whose opinion is important to you, the plate is still black. It continues and rather than trying to see your point of view the person will start making you feel bad for not seeing it their way. For them it’s the only way, the only way that counts, the only way that fits their story, the story they created, a story you have to fit in and live by.
So it continues until one day you might actually start questioning if the plate is not black after all. Maybe you were actually wrong all that time. No matter how sure you were, no matter how many other people told you that the plate is white. The drop has left its mark. It has left a hole and it will continue eating you up unless you remove yourself from it.
I know that many of you will understand what I’m talking about. Many of you have been through situations like this too. For everyone else: Gosh, you are lucky!
The hard part is that you have to realize how damaging that drop is to you. You have to realize that you are in fact right. That the plate you see white is in fact white. You have to realize that the story you are forced to fit in is not yours. It’s not the story of your life, it’s not our river you float in.
The realization is a hard one, especially if the person who controls you is someone close, maybe even family. When you one day realize that toxic people are not simply entering your life from the outside but were in it for all of it, it sort of feels like the floor under your feet suddenly disappears. You find yourself falling.
Some people simply can’t deal with it. I see them as broken souls because in the end that’s what they are. They were broken. Broken by people they trusted and relied on. People who took everything from them and never truly cared about their feelings, their passions, visions, dreams, their lives. They disappear slowly. Either into depression or then just fade away like flowers without sun, without water.
Some people give up. They adjust to the picture the person controlling them has painted for them to live by. They give up on themselves, on their dreams, their visions, their passions. They too, eventually fade away. A soul that is not nourished will eventually simply fade away. And how can you possibly nourish your soul if you can’t live your life they way you want to live it? How can you feed your soul if you cannot follow your passion, your dreams? You can’t. You break. You give up. Not just on the white plate but on everything else.
Then there are people who manage somehow to get away. They somehow seize their moment and escape. They see that tiny window and maybe the helping hand, the opportunity and drop everything, get up and walk away. Sometimes that moment needs a long time. Sometimes the moment arrives and you see the opportunity but you just can’t let go yet. You feel trapped or maybe even tied up. As much as you want to walk away something is still holding you back. Just like an umbilical cord that has to be cut first. Sometimes it’s a step by step thing. A two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. Until finally you realize that the white plate actually doesn’t matter. That it’s not important to explain its color anymore. That you KNOW it’s white and that’s all it comes down to. You and the knowledge that things are the way you see it.
That’s when you turn around and walk off. Leaving the plate behind. Leaving the person behind and leaving the need to explain yourself behind.
That’s when you’ve done it. It’s when you start breathing again. It’s then when you realize that you actually live the life you chose to live. That the drop no longer touches you. That it left a mark but it will not continue to make a hole. And even if it has managed to already make a hole you can fill it. You can fill it with what you choose to put in there.
And it feels like you can breathe freely. Finally. No more weight weighing you down. No more frames to fit in, no more drops dripping constantly on the same spot hurting you over and over and over again. You became the master of the drop. Just because you removed yourself from underneath it.
It’s when you realize that all that matters is what you want. What you feel is right, what your passion is, your dream, your life.