Barely into year two for my blogging career, and I am left wondering where the line is. Some things have happened recently that have made me reconsider whether or not I should continue to put my thoughts out there.
It is weird. I spent the better part of my life hiding and wanting to be seen and to live a life out loud but was too afraid. Now, faced with some of the perils of being more of an open book, I find myself equally unwilling to now turn it off.
One of the wonderful things that sharing your heart, thoughts and mind with others is that it allows connection. I put all this shit out there and you read it and you come to know me better (supposing what I am sharing is real and honest which it is but not everyone is really putting the truth out there). Unless you reach out to me and share in equal measure, you remain a mystery to me. I do not know how you feel about nooners, your broken heart, your struggles with your children, your inner most thoughts about whatever the day throws in your path. I cannot glean your sense of self or humor. You are anything I want you to be because you are unknown and unknowable.
I have had a couple of run ins lately with people reading my blog and then deciding that I am something to them that I am actually not. They reading my thoughts and feelings and relating and allowing that relation to create a connection. This was my most honest hope when I began that I could somehow build a forum where I could share and that would be relatable to others.
As in any relationship, expectations cause problems. A couple people have come to believe me and need me to be someone that I am not capable of being for them. Hell, on any given day, I am not sure what I am capable of being for myself! They want something from me that I am not willing or able to give them. And this has caused them pain.
Their pain hurts me. I do not want to injure others. I am the person that relocates spiders to safer locales from my shower. Worried that I will inadvertently splash water onto them thus ending their tiny little lives. I know, I am weird. This isn’t a choice for me. I wish that I were not so sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. I wish that I could carelessly wipe away a small bug’s life and not think about what I did for days. But that is not who I am.
I do not eat meat or any food with a face for this same reason. Even clams. I am not sure an argument could really be made that clams have faces but I cannot eat them all the same. Their tiny lives something miraculous and precious, this fact interfering with any sort of superiority argument my big brain can muster.
I have often in my life, wished for some of the callousness or lack of concern others have for other beings. Sometimes my way of thinking and feeling feeling overwhelming to the point of despair. I wish sometimes that I could just think differently so that I could then feel differently. At 50, I have come to accept this is who I am. I can’t change it. I can’t wish it away. I can’t be anyone else. For better or worse, I fucking care a lot about other beings even the tiny seemingly insignificant ones.
So when others place their expectations on me that I cannot or am not willing to meet, and the result their disappointment or sadness, it injures me. I feel badly. I am sorry for causing them pain. Once upon a time this fear of injury would cause me to stuff my own needs down deep into a crevice of my mind and I would co-dependently acquiesce to the other person's needs. For many years this was more of a compulsion than a response. I ended up in a lot of relationships with other beings that I did not want and was not happy in. But the other person’s expectations and needs and desires more important than my own kept me transfixed in tandem with them. Sometimes whole decades would pass.
When I left my marriage I began the reclamation of self. The taking back me from all the places I so casually allowed myself to occupy. I began an unintentional process of examining and evaluating who I was bringing to my relationships. I was more than a little surprised at what I uncovered. For the most part, what I had was a lot of relationships where I was needed and wanted but not really present for. I seemed to be a collector of people who needed me but that I was not really participating in the relationship. I did not need them, they needed me and our relationship was a one way street and I felt trapped at a dead end.
It was a hard reality for me. I felt drained and contained by the onewayness of my connection with others. In fact, it was this feeling more than any other that caused me to start this whole ordeal. I needed a vehicle to unmoor myself from these lonely one directional relationships and free myself to make more honest, binary but multiple faceted contact. It all began here. My commitment to self examination that was then shared took away time from these other relationships and they began to wither. My time the required ingredient for their sustenance. My time now being occupied with writing and research and no longer available for their consumption.
One year later I have less friendships, no significant dating relationship and a more even relationship with my family and friends. I took some time for myself and now have come to find the relationship I have with myself to be the most important one. This natural clearing of the people who needed me something I needed to create a space for my own growth and rehabilitation.
Today, the people who are in my life matter a great deal to me. There are no one way relationships. No friendships that drain my energy and time. Every person in my life, a thoughtful and intended participant in my inner sanctum. Calling back the time and energy for myself has given me time and energy to give to you, to this.
While vastly improving the quality of my relationships, I do spend a lot more time alone. This is required. This I need in order to not become the giver and the resenter. I have to spend time with myself in order to be honest with myself, which then in turn, I can be honest with you. You deserve to be treated with love, care and concern, not just some participant who is vying for my time and energy and always coming up short. I have retired from the person collection business and now am content to strengthen and grow the relationships that are still standing.
This leads me back to the disappointment I have caused a few people recently. I am sorry that you wanted something from me that I am not able or maybe just not willing to give you. This is not your fault. It is not because you are not worthy. It is because I need something else and I can no longer participate in relationships that require I become someone or something I am not. Truth sometimes a brutal blow to another’s ego.
What colors it all is a true and honest desire to not harm. I do not intend to hurt anyone, ever. I engage with others with a sincere desire to add something rather take. So to those I have recently hurt with my unwillingness to meet you where you are, I am truly sorry. Perhaps our contact too brief for your liking. I cannot be who you want me to be for you. I am sorry.
As someone said to me yesterday, “you are the prize”. I lived all of my life up to that moment not realizing that I should be the prize of my own life. The reward my own participation and attention. It still pains me to know I have hurt another. That is never my intention or desire.
Today I take some solace in the fact that my injury today more honest than the past. The truth being more initially injurious than the lies I used to tell. But the other person now not allowed marginal participation that, in the end, hurts way more than this initial hurtful truth.
My most honest and sincere desire for all of us is that we may find ourselves in all of our relationships. And that those relationships be life affirming and sustaining. And that we not waste one more second of this most precious life on anything less.