I really don't like elephants. I don't mean the multi-ton animals with amazing dexterity in their noses. I don't even mean statues or figurines that represent those amazing beasts. Those elephants I like.
The elephants I've grown to hate are the ones that hang out in the middle of the room. They don't munch on peanuts, instead they feast on hurt and anger and disappointment and fear. They don't roam the jungles, they stomp on the feelings—and insides—of people. These elephants don't seem to be anywhere near the endangered species lists, either. Instead, they seem to be multiplying at a tremendous rate.
Part of these elephants' tremendous growth rate is my fault. I admit it. I over-think things and after awhile those things get infected and fester. And when two people I love both bring me elephants, I end up in constant pain.
Elephant A was smuggled in on a lie and "righteous indignation." I didn't even realize there was an elephant until it stomped on my chest. In fact, I defended the lack of an elephant over and over until the truth was screamed from the rooftops.
Elephant B has been growing off and on for a long time. Like a tree that tells it's age by the growth rings, this elephant is a product of years of major and minor indiscretions that are rehashed over and over.
Neither elephant wants to leave. Neither one wants to have a real conversation that would shrink or remove their presence. Instead Elephant A wants to be left alone, to pretend it doesn't exist. Elephant B wants to talk, but only about how great it is to be Elephant B and how I should have known all about Elephant A. Contrary opinions aren't tolerated anywhere near Elephant B. In fact, contrary opinions are met with personal attacks and screaming.
Obviously, the "owners" of these elephants refuse to communicate. One wants to maintain the belief that the elephant doesn't exist; the other wants to cast blame for insults both real and imagined. Either way, I'm left feeling betrayed and alone. My thoughts are mine and not accepted or appreciated by either elephant owner. Instead, I keep quiet. Thinking. Wondering why my "anti-elephant-ness" isn't important to these owners, to these people who I love.
These dueling elephants break my heart. I spend the quiet mornings in tears wondering how I can evict these beasts from my life. Silent evenings are spent questioning why my feelings and opinions are so worthless and unimportant. The hours between are filled with false bravado and the belief that without me around, the elephants would disappear. I know that isn't true, but it would be nice to run away and leave these elephants behind. It would be nice to have my sanity back, to have my opinions appreciated (even if the elephant owners disagree, which is fine!), to not be responsible for the elephants other people have dumped into my life.
I'm not sure how this is going to end. Maybe it won't. Maybe I'll find a way to stop noticing these giant beasts in my world. Maybe one or both of the elephant owners will be willing to see another side. Maybe the elephants will continue to grow and I'll be forced out of these relationships as the elephants continue to take over. Maybe tomorrow the tears won't come and that will be one step closer to banishing these hateful beasts.
I hope so....