In the past I’ve written posts where ‘humor and observation’ were the theme, but at the moment, I want to write about my life as messy as it is. I finally went back into therapy last October and it is funny how it will force you to acknowledge things about yourself that you try so desperately to ignore for decades. It’s painful, but if you do the work you’ll be happier and stronger in the end – at least that’s what I’m told. Since I’m still in the process, every step feels like I’m moving through quicksand. To change life-long habits, tolerate bad behavior from others and never really find my voice to speak my mind is a real struggle for me. I have learned through the process that burying feelings is no longer healthy for me.
I grew up in a very passive aggressive household where you never spoke up, no one yelled at one another and everyone hated confrontation. Confrontation meant you didn’t love a person. I didn’t realize it just means that you’re voicing your opinion or needs until I accepted a position where that was my job. Granted it took me years in business to figure this out, but for some reason I have never truly been able to transfer this thinking into my personal life. Instead, I became a people pleaser for everyone. I couldn’t, and often don’t know how to say no, as I’m afraid I will let them down. At the end of the day, it often takes me years to let someone in….and usually it is only friends. So when I took a chance letting someone in, I was (and still a bit) crushed that I wasn’t enough. However, after reading my past journal entries (journaled over the past 20+ years), I’m not sure I’m a person I’d like. I became the worst version of me. I tested him at every opportunity, drilled him with questions when I should have let him tell me when he was ready. Long story short, I was reverting back to what I’m trying to change in therapy. While I believe everyone feels this innate need to feel liked or loved; one should never force it. In my case, I knew this person for years prior and respected in him in business, but several months ago, things changed. I got to know him differently and it was exciting because I couldn’t imagine this person could like me. Now I know I should have recognized I have a lot to offer someone, but I just wasn’t ready. Honestly, I’m still not. However, what therapy has taught me is not to bury my feelings anymore. There are days I miss him because I still find him to be: interesting, funny, nice, quirky and kind-hearted. Do I wish things worked out differently? Yes and no. If it was later when strong enough to realize that I have a lot to offer the right person, I think it would be a richer/deeper relationship. Here’s what I know: I heal very differently than my friends. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t engage with this person, but I’m not a water spigot. I can’t magically shut off my feelings for a person. However, I can and will stop taking jabs at him for hurting me. He has every right to move on. I wanted him to know how much he hurt me and I think he knows. I need to heal and being angry or bitter is not going to help me….and quite frankly, I’ve known some bitter women in my lifetime and they scare me. Besides, it really does physically hurt me to carry that much angry with me. I don’t enjoy shutting down and, in time, will open my heart when I’m ready to. In the meantime, I’m tired of not enjoying life, appreciating the people who love and care for me. At the end of the day, my friends won’t understand why I’d continue to let someone in who hurt me as he has, but I know I will be a better person because I learned to let him in.
I’ve decided to take what I’ve learned from him – the things that put a smile on my face and carry them forward. What he has taught me is that it’s okay for a woman to be intelligent and not hide it because a guy isn’t as bright. He also awoke a part of me I decided wasn’t important: dressing up, wearing heels, dresses and taking extra time to feel pretty. My mother judged people on their looks so I took the extreme position and hid who I was, but now recognize it is okay to want to feel pretty. I know that just because I want to feel pretty, doesn’t mean I will judge others on their looks like she did. It just means I want to come out from the shadows I’ve been hiding in for so many years. I also want to be a better communicator. I don’t need to add to every subject discussed, and that sometimes silence is just as important. I used to be a great listener, but I think over the years I had to repeat self to be heard. I really hate that and know that’ll take time to change.
In the meantime, I’ve started going back to cooking classes and am carving out time to do things that are really important to me. I no longer feel the need to impress anyone, but still love doing things for people I care for as I love to care for others or just put a smile on their face. One day when I’m ready, I hope I find someone like this man…with the one exception – I want this man to want to share his life with me and think I’m more than just enough.