The abuse and neglect of my childhood really delivered me some unexpected gifts.
Within the limited understanding of a child, and perhaps having more to do with survival than anything else, I managed to work out that making myself invisible was perhaps the best course of action. It meant I spent most of my time in my own company. The reality of the “world” seemed insane to me and so I was quite happy to retreat to my own. This meant there was nothing else to be done except to make friends with and get to know … myself.
I don’t know how to be anyone else but me. What I have learned over the years is to stop apologizing for that and to own it completely. I too got caught up in what everyone else was wanting and pursuing and thought it was what I needed, only to learn that it was never what I wanted at all. Engaging in constant superficial interactions actually pulls me more off centre than anything else I do.
Let me qualify “superficial.” I have a classification within me of things that feed my soul and things that dilute my soul. They are not a judgment on what anyone else spends their time on. This is just about me. I am quite sure there are things I deem important that others would classify, on their scale of need, as “superficial.”
I like people. I like people who live life, embrace it, have traveled through it with feeling and thought, who have lessons held tight in their fists, and share their stories and thoughts and observations. I like people with passion, who see things differently than I do.
I would rather be alone than with people whose focus is on the weather, television, what they are wearing. I understand how important and interesting those things are to some people, and my being there is hypocritical because I don’t share those feelings and my lack of enthusiasm only takes away from their fun. I don’t want to convert anyone to how I am, I just want to be who I am.
I hope I will always be journeying in my life, challenging myself, learning from others, willing to go where it is not always comfortable, willing to ask questions, to stand up and be counted for those things worth standing for. I like who I am. I am happier now than I have ever been. Growing up I thought happiness was the acceptance and approval of others, with lots of friends to show as proof that you were lovable. Now I know that happiness is accepting yourself, loving who you are, warts and all, and acting in a way that honours that understanding. Knowing who I am and what I need, makes the friendships I do have, beyond joy. I feel so blessed to have people share my life.
One of the biggest keys for me was to stop looking off towards those who were not spending time with me, or who had repeatedly ignored me, and focus on those people in front of me, this day, who wanted to be in my life. Once I let go of the idea that certain friends, or that family even, is supposed to be the most important thing in your life, I was free. Again, not because they failed, but because I kept them all prisoners in my expectation boxes. People are who they are. We connect and we move on. Sometimes we stay in touch, sometimes we do not. It does not take away from the contact we had, it does not define any future contact, it is just what is happening now. You may not have the person you think should be in your life, caring about you, but you will definitely have people in front of you who would step in if you let them. In fact, THEY, may be the very reason why the other friendship is not happening. Life has a funny way of bringing us exactly what we need, if we just stop holding on to what we want the answer to be.