Go Ahead, Take a Chance, But Tread Very Carefully! Your Heart May Depend On It.
May 17, 2009 9:21am CST
I want to tell you a story about a girl I knew, back when I was quite young. I met her while I was involved in community volunteer work. I meet many folks this way. Its natural to want to help the ones you meet, some have some pretty heart wrenching stories. Some, like Cassie, though, touch your soul and you say to yourself, "if things were different, this person and I could be really good friends." You just kind of hit it off. Cassie was smart and funny. She was down to earth. We were at ease with each other even though we came from very different perspectives and we had to talk about difficult things. Cassie had quite a back story. She told me, when we first met, that she was an exotic dancer. When I met her on the street, though, or at least, when I happened to see her on the street one day and smile and waved, she was so embarassed that she quit work. I felt bad thinking, "maybe I shouldn't have let her know I saw her?" But then, if she saw me, she might think I was judging her and avoiding her. Did she think I wasn't aware what her true profession was? What of it? Surely she knew me enough by now that it didn't make me care about her any less. What I was trying to share with her was for anyone who wanted it. Regardless of where they were in their lives. Anyway, over time, she said that while she appreciated what I had been saying was good, she didn't want to give up her lifestyle. It was glamourous. Paid well. She talked about her friends this and her friends that. Ouch. Guess that makes me chopped liver. It rarely hurts when I'm told thanks for trying but no thanks. I expect it. This time, I found it hard to distance myself from the disappointment and yes, pain. I could see, even in my youth, where this path was taking her, and I hoped she would find the strength to find a way out. I really cared about what happened to her. But I can't anyone what to do. I can only share what I know, and leave it to them. The last time I actually saw Cassie, she had a scar from ear to ear, across her throat, and I knew it was only a matter of time. She was as friendly as she always was, and asked how I was doing. I told her pretty much the same, but since my son was born, I wasn't able to do as much volunteer work as before, but I tried to get out as much as possible. She wished me well and went on her way. The caring I had invested in her forced me through a mini wringer again. But it was HER life, to live as she saw fit. About a year later, I saw her again. This time in a photo above the shoulder of the TV news anchorman. She had been identified as the terrified woman who jumped from a moving van on the highway. The witness said, she had been trying to get away from the driver. He had been keeping up with the van trying to find a way to render assistance. It slowed slightly, and she jumped. I doubt she was concerned about her virtue. Her life was obviously in the balance. The hospital, naturally, wasn't giving anyone, who wasn't next of kin, access. So I had to wait. And wonder. Some time later, I noticed a girl working the street. I approached her and asked if she had known Cassie and did she know if she was all right. She confirmed that she was aware of the incident and that although she didn't know the details of what went on that day, she did know that Cassie died after being in a coma for 2 weeks. This experience taught me something important. I have said before that my best quality is also my worst fault. I care deeply about people, but my compassion can get me into trouble. I had to learn to draw the line. Where to say, "this person's choices are going to bring them to grief, and there is NOTHING you can do about it. It isn't your fault, you've done what you can, LET THEM GO." 'But maybe if I try this, or just one more time to do that?" Maybe, but experience has taught me it probably won't make a difference. Change comes from within. A person must first recognize the need. Then they have to WANT TO. They won't thank you for trying to help, in many cases. Some will even push you away. Some will ignore you. Others will accuse you. Many say they want help, but are not ready to accept it. Or if the help doesn't come in the form they want, they reject it. Cassie, at least, came to a decision and was honest with me. She didn't blame me for her decisions or try to make me feel guilty about pointing out stuff that might benefit her if she decided to try them. She made her decision and accepted the consequences.She even thanked me for trying and said she agreed that what I said was true. She just didn't want to change her lifestyle or make different choices. She wasn't conning herself, and she didn't try to con me. I thank her for that, because I was torturing myself enough, wishing I could say something, just the right way, to help her. I respected her so much for that. Rest in peace, Cass.
4 people like this
• United States
18 May 09
OMG!! where do I even begin to tell you how this story touched me! I'm sitting here in tears and can see it so clearly... I feel your love, hope and frustration as you try helping someone who rejects it.. I know it's a shield of protection to say "let it go" and walk away.. but, honestly, could you? I don't believe that you could. It might not have changed a thing.. but you have "a knowing" that you did all that you could.. and you don't live with regrets of what you didn't but could have done. (does that make sense?) I haven't known you very long.. but long enough to feel your heart in the things that you post.. this was a wonderful display of who you really are :) a compassionate, loving soul. NEVER, EVER, regret caring too much.. if the world had more people who did... wouldn't it be a awesome place to live? I care deeply for people too.. and sometimes it's to the point of breaking my own heart.. this is who I am.. and what makes me.. ME. I have been hurt time and time again.. but to deaden my compassion would be like killing a big part of who I am.. I think it would be the same for you... Now.. go listen to Garth Brooks sing "The Dance" and cry and get back out there and be the person that God made you to be.. a very caring, compassionate, loving person.. who cares too much..too deeply.. too often...that helps those who might reject it .. but don't deny yourself the experience or chance to give all of yourself... because that is the real YOU! And I happen to think you are AMAZING!
18 May 09
You are right. We can't stop being what we are and shouldn't. Compassion is needed in this world in spades and we should do our best to share it. Its that fine balance that needs to be found. I wrote this after reading some posts that made me think, "Am I thinking about this rationally? What can I say, or what more can I say, to help here? Is it wanted? If this individual is not responding, maybe it is because my perspective is not what's needed, maybe they just want to sound off? (which is perfectly ok) If I keep trying in this particular instance, am I really getting through? Am I helping or just beating my head against a wall?" I tend to get rather involved emotionally in issues and my experience with Cassie taught me that I sometimes need to take a step back and try to see things more objectively. I greatly respect your writing and really appreciate that you took the time to give your thoughts.
• United States
18 May 09
I thank you for sharing this with us! I wish my notify thingy worked... I would have been here sooner! I don't know how ya do it.. but when I need it.. you always have the right words.. and this time just caught me off guard! I am kinda going through something right now that is somewhat similar.
• United States
24 May 09
OMG here too - I started to read this the other night but was tired from work and have a really hard time reading for very long online when I'm tired it's impossible. I saved it in my mail box though and am glad I did, well, maybe not glad. I'm crying my eyes out... I don't know about you but I continue to care and get involved and get my heart ripped out. This has got to be one of the worst.
24 May 09
Thanks for commenting on this, faith, because it brought the post back to my attention at a time I really needed to think about my experience and the lesson I learned from it. Yes, I continue to care, and continue to get battered emotionally. I suspect that some issues and situations posted here on the lot are done for effect. They aren't real, so I shouldn't put any more emotional energy into them. I need to take a step back and analyze, based on responses, or lack of response, the validity of the story. It might save me a few tears. I hope you can benefit from this too, for tender hearts are so easily manipulated and hurt. Hurt for caring. Nice reward, huh? But then, we only have to endure for our limited lifespan, God has had to endure it for many centuries. Best Regards
18 May 09
That is a sad story and, no you could not have changed the outcome because it was up to her; she made the decision not to change her lifestyle and that was her right; it is just a real shame that she ended up paying the price with her life. Although you could not have made the changes for Cassie as you say it is up to the individual to help his or her self, I'm sure you did help her; just knowing that we have someone who cares and a soft place to fall can make all the difference. You sound like a very nice and caring person.
17 May 09
awww thats a real sad story, its hard when we see peopel going down the worng path and you try to help them but you cant. i know how hard it is to see somebody on the path to self destruct i am watching it happen now. There was nothing you couldve done at least you did try to help her and guide her down a different path, but if people dotn want to change they wont. I do hope that you arent beating yourself up over this as there was nothing more you couldve done like i said, i really do hope that Cassie really was happy in what she did and she wasnt just forced to say that. This story really has bought a tear to my eye. mabye one day you will see somebody going down the same path as Cassie and you can tell them this story and it might just change their life!!! keep inspiring people!!
17 May 09
This happened about 20 years ago. It has long since ceased to tear at my heart. As I said to Lady, below, the experience with Cass, I have kept as a reminder and a protection. It taught me why and how to shield myself. I do hope this experience will be of help to someone else. I have written it partly for that purpose. I was moved to share it because of things I have read on myLot. Thank you for your kind words.