catch and release

In fishing, catch and release is the term used for sportspeople who catch fish and then let them go, with little or no harm to the fish. Or so they say.

I’ve never bought into it; my family hunts and fishes, but only for food. And some bragging rights. If you’ve ever been fishing, you know that it’s rare to catch any fish without hurting them. It’s that sharp hook that pierces right through, without a care to whether they’ll be alright in the end.

In relationships, catch and release takes on a somewhat different meaning.

For as long as I can remember, I found myself in relationships with very destructive people. Hyper-intelligent men with some fatal flaw. Charismatic people that ultimately prove to be unreliable. And the relationships followed a very vicious pattern. Of fighting. Making up. Breaking up. And then starting the whole process all over again. Ironic. Because I’m not a fighter. My role has always been the peacemaker. Smoothing things over.

It’s catch and release. And it’s been perfected by relationship sportsmen.

It’s the oldest game there is, rewarding my good behavior with a carrot and punishing me for my bad behavior with a stick.

Pouring on the charm. That charisma that always hypnotizes me. Catch.

Guilting me when I am ready to go. Turning the tables and then turning away when I need him the most. Release.

I don’t think I deserve to be punished. Or do I? Because that’s what this is all about, right? I don’t think that I deserve to be happy or loved, so I continually seek out people who will make me unhappy? Make me dread every step I take inside the house? Sitting in my car in the rain debating about whether to turn in the drive. Or whether to turn around and leave.

Maybe I do deserve to be punished. After all. I’ve done a lot of stupid things. Probably haven’t done enough for other people. Possibly dissipated. Definitely lacking in moral virtue. Even a touch of crimentality as a wayward teen.

I’ve said it again and again in my writing (and to anyone who will listen). You cannot change anyone. But perhaps my fatal flaw is wanting to save someone. Soothe the hurt. Make the pain go away.

But I’ve tired of the Catch and Release Game. And I’m starting to realize, I don’t deserve to be punished. After a summer of personal turmoil and emotions gone awry, I’m finding something simpler. That allows me to just be.

Instead of seeking approval, I looked inside myself to find out what I really want: A life of uncomplications. Someone whose needs are simple. Without guile, reservation, or worry. Someone strong, that I can rely on.

No more games. And yet, I still feel like I’m winning. ~


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