these things take time
We're 26 days into the new year. In some ways that kind of blows me away because it feels like it's been more like 6 days since I was watching fireworks on the levee with J. But then, when I really think about it, I feel like it's been ages. Before it had even arrived, I had decided I was going to take 2012 on head first. 2011 was my best and worst year all rolled into one, half spent completely losing myself, and the other becoming more myself than I've ever been. I knew that I wanted 2012 to be a continuation of that, that I wanted to really learn how to be myself, and not who I thought society or my friends or my parents or J wanted me to be. And it's been really hard, to tell the truth. The people-pleasing gene runs strong through my DNA, and while it has it's upsides, it makes it scary easy to completely lose myself.
I feel like I've spent my whole life learning to like things because it's what everyone else was doing. Pretending to not like things because other people thought it was weird. Allowing everything around me to dictate what I do and who I am. And I can't play the victim anymore because I sat back and silently let it happen. Part of what made it so easy was that I've been ridiculously sensitive and thin-skinned since I was a child. People may not have gotten to see it, but the smallest jab or joke sent my way that had anything to do with who I am caused me to crumble to bits on the inside. I became an absolute pro at seeming stronger than I ever was. Every single thing anyone has ever said about me is filed back in my brain, easily recalled when for when I dove into self-deprecation mode. I craved the attention and approval of every person I came in contact with. I spent an exhausting amount of time trying to put together coffee dates and dinner dates and to keep friendships afloat when I was the only one paddling. I had no identity, because I was completely defined by what I picked up from other people. The identity I had pieced together wasn't a great one, way too concerned with what everyone thought of me, with the most demeaning monologue ever stuck on repeat in my head-constantly reminded me how ugly and worthless I was, and that that was never going to change. I became an astonishingly good liar, because I really didn't want to do life closely with people. I used to get so wired in highly populated social settings because all the sudden there were way too many people for me to please and worry about what they were thinking. I spent all of my time day-dreaming about being someone, anyone but myself. All of these things made it absurdly easy to sucked into (and back into, and back into) an emotionally abusive relationship that would completely shatter the small semblance of hope I was clinging onto, and completely lose myself. These are things I still battle with today, since the war only started about 9 months ago. But, thus far, I think I've put up a good fight. (I pretty much cried the entire time I typed that, just FYI. it's hard to write about who you were, and really see it in words.)
I've started discovering what I really like, and it's been such an amazing experience. I really like being different from everyone, all-the-while getting a tiny bit of joy out of the best cliches. I really like staying home most of the time, but really can't turn down a night on the town. I really like listening to the same song on repeat all day. I really like going to bed early and waking up early. I really like my handwriting, all the curves and jaunts that are finally my own after years of attempting to alter my penmanship to look like someone else's. I really like having a tiny, but close-knit group of friends that when I look forward to the future, are still there. I really like dressing for myself, and not for everyone else. I really like bright and loud lipstick, but still don't quite have the confidence to wear it as much as I'd like. I really like a very wide range of music, and have no problem with going straight from Dylan to Busta. I really like corny humor, people falling down, and anything Sheldon Cooper ever says.I really like being more quiet than loud, listening more than talking, and not needing to fill every silence. I really like being happy even when no one around me is, and using that to hopefully brighten their day. I really like taking ownership of my body and no longer hating it, I like the curve of my hips and and the dip in my back and the fact that I can eat a piece of pizza and not wash it down with a glass of self-loathing anymore.
I also quit chasing people. I took a very fair assessment of some of my friendships and decided I was tired. So I quit. I know that probably sounds really negative, but the reality is that at some point, some friendships are meant to end. It's okay. The people who really want you to be a part of your life are going to make an effort to make it so. You can't be the only one trying, the phone works both ways. Can I just say how good this has been for my heart? Not only has it made me feel like much less of a fool all the time, but it's given God and the people in my life an opportunity to show off. I hugely backed off my social media use, which has been amazing. The reality of social media is that we use it for constant validation, and it the blink of the eye, it can be one of the most unhealthy parts of our life. If everything I think is worded as a twitter status, we have a problem. That's been the best thing I've ever done for myself.
I'm changing a lot right now. I'm finally being freed from all the bondage that I've spent inordinate amount of time under. It's been pretty rough and exhausting, a totally over haul will do that. I've had a lot of moments of staring off into space and getting really distant because I no longer know how to react in certain situations. I literally have to take a moment and analyze how Blake would respond here, not the girl who used to stand in her place. And sometimes that means not responding. But the cool thing about churning up your soul is that nothing but good can come from it. And that God is so in it. He's all over it. And He's taking over. It really is the cry of my heart to look exactly like He wants me to know, without losing sight of the things that make me, me. Not that make that person I think is cool them, or that girl that I think is beautiful her, but me.
So, to bring it full circle like I promised, I hope this makes you look at yourself and see if everything in there was placed there by God, or by man. Are you fulling living your life as you, or as a society-assembled-sub-par -you? That's no way to live your life.
[want to read more about all this? go read Believing That I Am Too Much over at good women project. it's real good.]