I used to lie to myself. A lot. I used to let others define who I was, who I wasn’t, who I should be, where I came from… I used to let others define me.
The problem is, that was the problem.
Lately, I’ve been remembering these things. I don’t really know why. But I’m embarrassed for my past. For the legacy I’ve left for my family, for the friends I’ve lost, for the bosses I’ve failed. For the successes I never reached. For the go-with-the-flow mentality that wasn’t so smart to begin with.
It’s one thing to be laid-back and easy-going; it’s another to not stand your ground. To let others tell you what’s wrong with you, even when you know, deep down inside, that they’re wrong. I’m ashamed sometimes for who I was and who I let others see; even though they didn’t really see Me. I’m not talking about honest-to-God mistakes that we all make from time to time. I’m talking about people who kept me in A Box, in a design they created. They only saw what they wanted to see in me, and I let them believe it. I let them make me believe I was who they thought I was. Even though I knew better. Even though I knew it wasn’t true.
Even though I knew that nobody really knew me.
I think part of it is coming to terms with how I’m raising my daughter: am I doing a good job? Shouldn’t I have done better, yelled less, loved more? And with being unemployed. Why can’t I get a job? Am I that unemployable? What did I do wrong?
One of my friends is going through a break up with someone we both thought was The One. And today, I heard a song that reminded me of my first “real” boyfriend. [What does it say about someone when he picks Your Song to be “Hard to Say I’m Sorry…”?!] So Dot and I started talking about good relationships and bad relationships. I may still be single, but that’s a choice I made to give attention to my daughter and my writing. And I’m okay with that.
I haven’t had any responses from the applications and resumes I’ve been sending out. But I’ve been finding pocket change here and there; odd jobs and other ways to pay the bills. It’s not great. We’ve had to give up some sentimental things like our annual Disney passes. We clip coupons more than we used to. But we’re getting by. And I’m okay with that.
Sometimes I wonder if I’d done better at work, if I’d stayed in college, if I’d gone on another date… how my life would have been different. But then, it wouldn’t have been my life, would it?
There have been seasons in my life when I’ve doubted myself. When I’ve allowed others to guide me, lead me, direct me in the ways they want me to go. When I’ve let them tell me that Me Being Me isn’t not just not good enough, it was downright wrong.
I’m ashamed to admit I let people convince me of so many things. In retrospect I wonder how I could possibly have been so stupid, so gullible. But more so, I’m ashamed that I allowed that mentality to root itself inside me until I weeded it out. And it was painful; sometimes still is. Weeding is never a truly easy task. Pulling weeds is a dirty job. It grabs dirt and debris on its way out; and sometimes it grabs onto the good stuff as well. Have you ever had to pull up flowers along with the weeds? Discarding something lovely, something pleasing, is so painful, even though it’s necessary.
But I’d rather pull it all up and start new than live with shadows. Shadows are dark, creepy, misfigurations of things. They can scare, and hurt, and drain the light.
Yes, I’d rather live with new light than old shadows.
And it’s that push that keeps me facing my fears, my insecurities. My lies. That keeps me acknowledging people, places, things, and events from my past in a way that I can either accept and embrace them, or accept their lessons and say “Thank you, now good-bye.”
I’m no longer afraid of success. Of seeing people I used to know. Of being Me. Especially being the Me that I already am, and the Me I know I’m supposed to be.
Fundamentally, I know I’m a good mom, I’m a good provider, I’m a good daughter and friend and housekeeper and writer and… and… and…
And I am not stupid. I am not worthless. I am not confused or crazy or thick-headed or immature.
Standing my ground each day does not make me a bitch, it makes me powerful.
Laughing each day does not make me flippant, it makes me happy.
Writing every day does not make me lazy, it makes me confident.
Cooking every day does not make me fat, it makes me healthy.
Loving every day does not make me weak, it makes me strong.
And sharing myself every day through my blog, in person, asking for hugs from my family, and smiling at strangers… none of this makes me stupid or naive or gullible or careless or crazy.
It makes me, Me.
And you’re just gonna have to be okay with that. Or live in my shadow.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!