Earlier this morning, I attempted to sit in front of my computer screen and blog about what truly made me happy.
That turned out to be a much bigger and more difficult task than I thought. The very first thought I put down in my process was a negative one.
So I decided to approach this differently. I turned off the computer and grabbed a good old pen and two pieces of paper, and just started to write.
Sometimes, I just don't think I'm enough. Enough of a person, enough of a woman. Not pretty enough. Not funny enough. Not friendly. Unsuccessful.
That was the very first paragraph I wrote. Yeah, I know...ouch. It takes a real lack of self-esteem to be able to write those things without flinching. It actually slightly hurts to know that when I challenged myself to write about being happy, the very first thing I did was put myself down.
I continued on for the next few pages, trying to pinpoint things that make me happy. Dressing up. Getting my nails done. These weren't it. I started writing about school, and wrote this:
I don't miss school as it was 2 years ago. I don't miss the life I had (entirely). What I do miss was the ability to learn new things. I miss being myself.
Lights and sirens started to blare. I hesitated slightly before writing the statement I miss being myself. I wanted to catch it, to stop myself before writing it. I felt ashamed.
I hesitated to write that last statement. And I immediately wanted to try to justify my statement. I wanted to explain myself away, maybe to soften the blow. I cared enough about what people think and the thought of who might read this that I didn't want to be honest with myself. Is that what I've come to? Have I devoted so much of my time to pleasing everyone else that I've forgotten how to be honest with myself?
I had to touch a soft spot within myself in order to admit that for a long time, I haven't been honest with myself. I'm not only referring to the big decisions in my life, such as what career I want to pursue or what I want to do with my credit. I'm referring to smaller everyday decisions. My blogger queue is chock full of half-written posts, abandoned because I felt the topic would be too sensitive to post or because I feared hurting somebody's feelings. I don't do what I want to my hair because I fear what someone might say, even though I know it would look 50 times better if I cut it shorter.
I still don't understand what caused me to start such a self-defeating cycle of doing everything for the acceptance of other people, completely ignoring everything that makes me happy.
Everything, that is, except coffee.
Coffee is the one of the few things I can think of that I've never compromised for anyone. It's the first thing I ever really rebelled with, at the age of 15. My mother forbade me to drink coffee...I drank it anyway. I wish I could say that I did it just because she told me not to...it would make me sound like I had some balls. But I drank it because it tastes delicious to me, and because I didn't understand why it's so bad. Still don't. As a matter of fact, I've told men I dated in the past that if they couldn't deal with me liking coffee, then maybe they needed to look somewhere else.
The reason I thought about coffee, and devoted a page and a half to writing about it, was that I found it interesting how I can quickly assert my beliefs regarding that but I seem to become a sissy about everything else.
But more than that, it was a lifeline of hope, a sliver of understanding in what were once murky waters. I'd asked myself what made me happy. After 3 1/2 hours of searching, I found one thing that purely makes me, and no one else, happy. It's certainly not the only thing, but it was refreshing to have at least one answer to my question. Demiera 1, Hard Life Questions 0.
People are interested in me...nay, I am interesting as a person, when I just do me. When I start doing things that I think other people want, not only am I usually very wrong, but I also stop being happy. I don't know what anybody else wants in their life. Why would I spend my life working on shaping myself to someone else's standards when I don't even know what their standards are, and honestly don't care?
How intriguing...in reading the passages excerpted from my long letter to myself, I feel like I've been more honest as a writer and a person than I have been in a long, long time. I finally see some of my personality coming out, some of my true beliefs, showing their face after so much time of being held back.
I wish I had some catchy conclusion to this post, to wrap it up. I wish I could say that I vow to always follow my own mind, to always do things the way I want them done. Let's be real. Change doesn't occur overnight, and you don't reverse 20 years of dependent thinking in a morning.
I can, however, admit that now that I've tapped a part of my soul and being that had been hidden for so long, I can finally work toward consciously changing my thought processes. I worried that nobody took me seriously...sure they didn't, because I didn't take myself seriously. Now it's time for me to start doing just that. Bit by bit, decision by decision, I'm sure I'll recover confidence that I lost, and finally start on that road to being truly happy again.
On a completely unrelated note, I want to stress the importance of family. I kind of strayed away from mine, even though they've always supported me, because I always thought that I needed to constantly impress them and once things didn't start working the way I thought they would, I felt like I was a failure and that I had let them down.
I realize now (and did for a little while, but it's really all making sense now) that everything I had projected that they were thinking was untrue, and largely a product of my own imagination. In fact, any time I think I can guess what's on someone's mind, it's normally just a product of my imagination and I almost always find later on that I was terribly wrong.
In any event, I've reached out, and they've accepted me back (as loving family does) and I'm ready to admit that I definitely was wrong in assuming that they wouldn't love or accept me just because I wasn't living life the way I thought they wanted me to live. I'm wrong in thinking anyone in my life worth having around won't love or accept me just because I don't make the decisions they want me to. Anybody who so conditionally cares for me doesn't deserve to be around me.
My uncle Calvin wrote this on my Facebook page, and as his messages always do, it really touched me and almost brought me to tears, and I wanted to share it here:
You're back in the nest so stay true to the fam and the fam will always stay true to you. Fear not the people you know, but those who are unseen and have not revealed themselves to you. Work on your instincts and learn to walk in the night fearless with your eyes closed. When you are related to something greater than you, shed your fears and pursue your dreams with all the zest and vigor your heart can produce. Don't look back just stay focused on your goals and future.....I'm always watching your back so you don't have too!