Thursday, July 3, 2014

It’s like Mel Gibson said, ‘to thy own self be true*

Congrats to Tami and Isaac - they both received 10 blog bucks for guessing blog post titles!

Someone once told me I was a story teller.  Given the context of the conversation (a break up) I saw it as a bad thing.  For about two months after that conversation I watched myself to see if I took the long way to say things.   I tried to economize my conversations to just have the bare essentials (I failed at this by the way).  I continued to catch myself doing this from time to time several months afterwards. 

It’s not the first time I have done something like that.  When I was younger someone told me I had a contagious laugh, which I took to mean my laugh was so ridiculous others could not help but laugh at it (rather than with it). 

How often do we try to change ourselves because of something someone said?  I’m ashamed of how many times I have thought I wasn’t good enough because someone alluded I wasn’t enough for them.  Not just romantic relationships, but friendships too.  I didn’t meet someone’s expectations so that was that.

I guess I thought that in my late twenties I would have figured things out.  I wouldn’t have been affected the way I was by this person’s remarks.  But I was.  Even when we proclaim not to care what people think of us, we still care to some degree.  We care enough to proclaim we don’t care, which is in itself…caring. 

I suppose because I work with the youth now, my mind focuses on how to help them turn out better than me.  I want them to avoid the mistakes I made.  How do you instill in someone that they are good enough?  That just because some boy told you some other girl is prettier than you doesn’t mean that’s necessarily true.  He may find her more attractive, but that doesn’t preclude another guy from finding you the most attractive girl he knows.

We are not cookie cutters versions of some standard.  In a sense I think we understand this, about ourselves at least.  My guy friends would always ask me general questions about girls, and I would tell them that each girl is different.  One girl may be wooed by red roses and chocolates while another is wooed by quick wit, or athleticism, or dance moves, or extroverts, or geeky guys with thick rimmed glasses.  How could I generalize answers with so many different people out there?

Yet – when someone we are interested in says, “I don’t like girls with long hair.” We cut our hair (disclaimer – I have never done this particular thing).  When XBF (ex-boyfriend) told me I was a storyteller and he wasn’t, I tried to stop being a storyteller.  I tried to stop being myself -which, up until that time, none of my friends and family had complained about.  If anything, they liked my storytelling. And there were guys who liked that about me, but I was intent on being right for this guy. 

I feel like when I dated, I changed myself to fit what I thought they wanted and I changed the guys in my mind too.  I think I only dated one guy where I didn’t assume marriage was the end goal – and therefore I did all I could to ensure I didn’t screw it up.  How stupid of me, but at the time, I thought that was how things worked.  Really – at the time I didn’t realize I was doing it.  We’re talking something as trivial as paper towel use – I dated a guy who said he couldn’t marry someone who used too many paper towels…..ridiculous people, but guess who paid attention to how many she used? This girl.

The thing I think I love most about Chewy is I never felt I needed to hide how weird I was, or change the way I did things.  I didn’t try to hide that I love to turn things into longer stories with lots of embellishments and near death experiences.  And I never found myself pretending he had qualities I wanted.  He had them.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean everything went smoothly and still does – but the rough things refine us as we learn to be better people – they aren’t brought on by the realization that we aren’t who we pretended to be.

I’ve learned through him and our relationship that just because one person doesn’t like a quality about you does not entail there aren’t people who do like that quality. Chewy is the weirdest person I have ever met in my life, and I love every bit of it. 

I terrify Chewy…intentionally.  And he still loves me.  He kisses my forehead and calls me a weirdo and I’m happy.

I wish I had understood this when I was younger, when I desperately sought someone to love me.  I wish I had been seeking the person who truly completed me, someone who knew who I was and still accepted me.  Instead I wasted so much time and energy forcing things to work, trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be so I’d receive their acceptance.  It is so important to know who we are and to be ourselves, because there are countless people who love us as we are and as we may become. We will be happier if we stay true to ourselves.

Anyone else doesn’t matter. 

2 comments:

G Sauce said...

Clueless!

J, K, L, and D said...

I love you. This post was absolutely so, so true. (The part of terrifying your husband made me laugh out loud. And calling him a weirdo...or you a weirdo...whichever, that made me laugh too. Because I call mine a weirdo, and he just gives me a look, and we move on.)

Being true to ourselves - no matter our age - is important, in any relationship. You nailed it. And better to figure it out now than never!

P.S. I love that you used Clueless as a blog title. LOVE. IT. (Who cares if it makes me old...)

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