What if that shitty thing someone is “doing to you”, is really that person holding up a mirror to show you the shitty thing you’re doing to yourself?
I haven’t posted in a long while. This summer has been transformational for me. I find that when I am in the midst of transformation, I don’t write anything that’s consumable for other people. Glennon Melton said something similar about not being able to write about a thing as it happens. You have to wait until you’re not in it so deeply. I’m not certain I’m on the other side of this transformation, but I do think my cocoon is starting to crack open.
For me, this summer was all about old fears…
One of my biggest fears in life is not being enough. Not being good enough. Not being wanted. This fear has colored my entire existence; since birth. It has played in the background of my life like a theme song. Not a happy, catchy one, but more like the violin music in horror films… playing subtly but unmistakably as the teenage girl walks down the basement stairs in the dark, looking for her friends who have vanished one by one as we, the viewers scream at the screen “Stop! Don’t be an idiot!”… that kind of background music.
For many reasons over the last five years or so, this background theme song has become louder; harder to drown out with daily to do lists and the endless striving to “live the dream”. I actually think this is by design, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. My desire for this blog post is to say one thing. And say it in a round about way that leads you through all kinds of twists and turns so you don’t really know any more about me than you did at the top of this page.
No. That’s not right.
I want to tell you something real about me. I really do. But, at the same time, part of me would rather have a root canal.
The truth is ~ in my quest to fill my need to be wanted, I learned to rely on externals. Being pretty, being athletic, being fun, wild, passionate, approachable… being all of these things brought people closer to me. And if I didn’t look too closely at what was happening, it also brought the feeling of being wanted. Being this girl was exciting. And exhausting. It was a real relief to age a bit and become invisible. It allowed me to not be “on” all the time. Eventually, invisibility became all encompassing though. I felt invisible to the extent that I was once again, unwanted. There that music is again.
Because I am very good at being human, I was outraged at the idea that just because I’m a woman of a certain age, I am no longer wanted! I sulked. I protested. I gnashed my teeth and was “righteously” a victim of ageism, sexism, fat shaming… My God, the tantrum I threw. It was truly impressive. And lengthy. So damn lengthy.
And then I set out to prove my worth in the only way that seemed like it would count; physical transformation.
As I began to be more interested in my appearance, and to be more active, my attitude about who I was and what I deserved changed. Listen to that a second. Re-read. Seriously. My attitude about what I deserved changed.
I had been so angry and felt so victimized. And yet. I was doing the same thing to myself.
I was judging myself in the same ways that had me all butt hurt. All the while, complaining that I should be wanted no matter what I looked like. I mean, who the hell thinks a person’s worth is based on what they look like, right? Yeah, me. I do. At least where I’m concerned, I do.
I’m not delivered from this craziness yet. I’m just to the point where I can sit down, write this out and say “Hey everybody, look at what I figured out about myself.” Now, I get to learn how to actually feel like enough; to actually feel wanted without it having anything to do with my age, my size, my hair color or how much fun I might be.
I have a feeling it’s simpler than one might think. As long as I don’t try too hard. And as long as I keep my body out of it. And my job, or lack of job… you get the idea.
So, who’s holding a mirror for you? When you feel judged by someone or your feelings get really hurt… ask yourself if they’re mirroring how you feel about yourself. Maybe your anger is just a bit too righteous?
I’m not saying that the person holding that mirror gets a pass just because they helped you have a look into your own truth. Sorting that out is a separate issue altogether. But, before you make it all about them and their narrow-minded, holier-than-thou standards, make sure they’re not offering you a pretty big gift. The universe delivers gifts in some pretty outlandish ways. It has to because we’re just so damn righteous.