Isn’t it funny how we perceive we are small. We perceive that the world is so grand and that in order to make it out there we have to be this larger than life person. We have to struggle, and we have to pay our dues. Yep, work hard so that you can enjoy life later. What if … just what if you are supposed to enjoy life the whole way through. What if there is really no place that you have to get to but to enjoying life. I was reading some Facebook posts today from different people and two posts stuck out to me. One was all about no one is entitled to anything, you have to earn everything, and maybe all young people should learn this now. In the same post the person went on to say, it is all about how you perceive life, and what choices you make that determines your pathway. What if … just what if, it is more a trajectory we are on as opposed to a path or pathway?
For me language is sometimes a barrier to the way we hear things. So, I like to re-language it so that I understand it. I’m not saying that I agree with what was posted on Facebook, but it is that person’s perception. I have been around many such people in my life. The work hard and pay your dues type. The have and have not types. Trust me I spent most of my life in that mode and surrounded by those people and struggling so hard because I have always thought, and known, there is something way more to life. Here is what I have learned.
When you mold yourself into who you are not, life is hard. When you make yourself small, life seems passible but not enjoyable. When you settle because you think this is good enough, life will trudge along, but it lacks beauty. I hid in the background for most of my life. There are many reasons for this and most of them stem from being bullied, judged, and surrendering to others’ wills.
I, many years ago, was a vibrant little three-year-old. I played and laughed all the time. Yep, I talked a lot because I enjoyed talking to people. Unfortunately, the adorable little girl was told, little girls are supposed to be seen and not heard. Little girls are supposed to sit quietly in public and have impeccable manners so as not to embarrass anyone. Then I went to school. I again tried to be myself and I was told to be quiet. Over my elementary school years, I was teased/bullied relentlessly by other students and teachers (those stories will be in another post). So, I did what I thought was the only option. I surrendered and sank into the background.
Through those years, my 20s, 30s, and most of my 40s, all I wanted was to be loved, to be part of the group, to be liked, and to feel like I belonged. Part of the reason for doing this blog is I want to assist others so they know they do not have to feel this way. This is not living life, this is letting others rule your life. I would deliberately do things to be noticed but it wasn’t noticed for who I really am. What would happen is it would shove me further into the wall because it was too painful to stand for myself.
At 43 my world blew apart. I realize now that it happened for me and it happened exactly the way it needed to happen for me to wake up and realize what I was doing. I had strayed so far from my trajectory that I had to be catapulted back to it. I was never in a million years meant to be small. I was never meant to cower from others. I was never meant to have someone else’s light so feed off mine that mine almost extinguished. A very prominent person in my life in those days used to say to me that no matter what I got I was never happy. And here’s the deal, that was their perception. But here is the problem, I took it on and stopped speaking up because it was easier. It made my life, at that time, easier because everything else was a struggle, a fight.
I realize now, it wasn’t that I was unhappy. It was that I knew there was more. I knew in my core I was meant for more. I knew deep in my heart that I wasn’t being true to myself, but I had nowhere to express it and I felt like I had no one that would listen. Because really and truly at that point I didn’t, and I didn’t know how to express what was inside because I was too afraid.
This afraidness is still part of me but it does not rule me like it did. Now it only shows up when I get triggered in a circumstance that brings all that old flooding back. An example of this is a very dear friend one day told me to be quiet because I was laughing too loud and people were starring. The words that were used and the tone of their voice was such that I immediately stopped laughing and had to hold back tears. It was like I had been slapped across my face. My boyfriend, now husband, had not heard the exchange but saw my face. He asked me what was wrong and I said nothing because my go to move still, at that point, was to fade into the background and pretend I didn’t exist. This example was from when I was around 48 so I had had many years of practice in hiding. I barely spoke for the remainder of the day as I spoke only when spoken to and made myself somewhat scarce when I could. It was the only way I knew how to handle it. But here’s the thing, my laugh is my laugh. It is part of me and it should be enjoyed and shared. I believe that people did turn around and looked at us that day when I laughed because they were thinking, look at that those people having fun. They were probably also thinking what are they laughing about? Later that day I had a conversation with my boyfriend and explained what had happened. We had a long conversation about why I should say something to our friend. I chose not to in the end because I know the friend’s personality and it would not have been heard. What it did do though, is set me further on the trajectory of remembering who I am. Part of the reason it felt so awful to me was because I was in a space of great change and I was struggling so hard with the shedding of the old and coming back to myself. Now when things like this happen, I smile and wait for the next opportunity to laugh.
I so want to assist people to understand that no one is alone. We may feel alone at times, but we truly aren’t. I spent most of my life surrounded by people and felt like I was alone. Part of that was because I was screaming for them to get me, for them to like me, for them to love me. People do gravitate to me because of my personality/my energy. I love being around people and having fun. But, because of so many circumstances, I thought I was dimming my light but here is the bottom line. You can try to dim your light all you want but you really can’t. Eventually it will shine because it is meant too.
How about you? Let that happen now and not wait until you are in your 50s to do so. My light was always shining and it was poking out through every nook and cranny of the massive coat of armor I had wrapped myself in. I could have so continued through life wrapping that coat of armor thicker and tighter until it weighed me down so much that life would not have felt like living. Instead, I have been shedding that coat of armor to a place today where it barely exists and I can tell you from this point, life is oh so much better.
If I can leave you with one thought it is this … yep, like the Facebook post you can see life as having to earn your place in life and you will live your life, or you can allow yourself to experience life and really embrace it with pure curiosity. The choice is completely yours. I know what my choice is … I would far rather completely embrace life and experience all of it than to simply live it.