I have spent so much of my life, almost all of it really, getting hurt and angry over things I thought that people were doing to me or even if I thought they could do it. I have been a polite and quiet person around those I don’t know too well. I have been shy. Scared. Worried about people liking me. Worried about what people would think of me. Telling myself I wasn’t worthy of their love or their care. However the ones who did get close enough, got hurt by me the most. And when you’re in it it’s hard to see. I would get so caught up in the extremes. There was no in between. It is like going through a tunnel blind and all of your senses are cut off and the only thing guiding you, the only thing you have to follow is an intense emotion that has consumed your whole being and all you can do is run as fast as you can to it to try to get out alive. You can’t see what’s going on around you and you don’t realize what you’re doing to everything and everyone that is near. And when you have ran as fast and as far as you could possibly go you out of nowhere slam straight into a brick wall. Your body crashes to the ground as you are gasping for air to breathe. When you have finally caught your breath enough to sit up and open your eyes, you look around. All of your senses hit you at once and you see the damage that you left behind. Immediately you are stricken with guilt which drops you into a depression so low you cannot see the light above you. You are so sorry, you are so worthless, nobody will ever love you, nobody should ever love you. There you sit, unable to stand, unable to move staring at the wreckage you left behind.
Watching your wounded loved ones suffer from your blindness. They are tired as they have been trapped in your cycle since they’ve known you. You can’t bare to face them. They don’t really love you anyway. You don’t understand why you do what you do but you are so sorry. Get up. Help them. Make it up to them. Tell them how sorry you are. You have your strength back now to stand up and force this smile. You take a breath and stand at the end of the tunnel. Your senses are back and your head feels more clear. You can see. Take your steps forward and nurse your loved ones back to health before you set them free. Some of them don’t want to leave but you know that you cannot take care of them and sometimes a few will stick around just to watch through the window. Other times you will nurse them to care and before you can set them free they take hold of your hand and they make you walk alongside them. These are the ones you love the most, who honestly and truly love you the most and unfortunately the ones you have hurt the most. They have been around most or all of your life. Your family. Whether blood or not, whether related or not, your family. And you know that you, in some way, do benefit these people somehow and that your ceasing of existence would negatively impact their lives. Also on rare occasions these people if even one person, can even be someone you just met. Sometimes you are wrong who you let stay and who you set free. One day you will realize this. It may be too late or you may be right on time.
You may also find it can be true that you may not have one of these. You may find that, you look around and you don’t have anyone there to hold your hand at the end of it. I know it may look like that. I know that it may feel like that. I know it’s lonely there. I know it’s sad. I know you are hurting. I feel it. I feel all of your pain though we have never met. I hold you in my heart though we have never met. Your pain is my pain and my pain I wouldn’t look at. I know I am not the only one. And neither are you. You’re not alone. I am here. I have always been here. I cannot reach everyone and I know this. I have to accept that and not let that suffocate me. What I can do now. What I want to do now, instead of lying in bed all day racking my brain over all the pain I cannot take away, I will get up. I will get dressed. Well okay I might get dressed. 🤣 but I will find a way to feel successful in even the small triumphs. Even the smallest smile I can give to someone, I will smile for that myself. Every good morning I give thinking maybe if even for a second I brightened their day, my day will be brightened just a little. I cannot save the world, I cannot fix every injustice that I feel. I cannot make everyone not feel alone. But hopefully I can make you not feel alone. I can give a smile or a wave someone passing by. I can let someone go before me, I can hold the door open for a stranger or donate even a penny to something that’s worth it. I can give a child that’s having a hard day a high-five and say “you’re awesome!” I can encourage my own children’s growth and curiosity and sense of individuality and freedom instead of stifle their minds because I’m too tired or I don’t want to have to clean the mess. Let’s clean the mess together can’t we?
Sometimes you may meet someone that takes your hand and runs blindly with you through the tunnel. You can see each other, feel each other there. You are laughing and flying through space. Time doesn’t really exist where you are. You have been through this tunnel so many times alone you are elated to have someone going through with you. It’s fun. It feels amazing. It’s addicting isn’t it? You are blinded together and the only thing you can feel is each other. However more often than not, you slam right into that wall even sooner than expected. They did this. They did something that made you hit that wall. You are angry, you are betrayed, you are hurt. How could they do something like this to you. They are confused. What did they do that made you hit a wall so abruptly? You probably can’t even tell them because you know how ridiculous it sounds in your head but all you know is that somehow it was their fault. They did something, you know they did. You kick them aside and you turn to look back. You see the damage that you left behind. Again. Immediately you are stricken with guilt. Again. Which drops you into a depression so low you cannot see the light above you… again.
Soon after you have calmed you think back to the person traveling through space with you. They really didn’t do anything. Now you must go searching so that you can make it right. “I’m sorry” you say. They always forgive you. You let go of the ones you can’t offer anything to and you smile at the ones that love you enough to stay but also the ones you know you truly love. You are so scared of being hurt that you imagine this threat everywhere you look. You see lies where there are none, you see deception where there is none. Yet because you see these things you tell yourself this person doesn’t really love you. This person doesn’t even know you really, so it’d be impossible for them to love you. You made them feel good which made you feel good but when you ran out of energy to give, ran out of happiness to give someone else, you were left empty. You can only live through them. You have no idea how to live for yourself. Other times you are just nauseatingly terrified of being made to look stupid, to believe someone’s lies, to be hurt, to be let down that you build these walls before you can slam into them. You put this distance between you so that when they do something, that eventually you’ll see they really didn’t do, something that lets you down you can say well, you were already prepared for it. You already convinced yourself that this is going to happen anyway. This person is going to hurt you. But why? Why did they want to hurt you? Now you were watching their every move and you are trying to read their minds and figure out their next move so that you can be two steps ahead of them. You smile to their face and they don’t see that inside of your head you are running through a million different scenarios about how they will screw you over. Now you are angry. You know they’re going to do this, what are they hiding? So the cycle begins again.
Where does this fear come from? Where does this paranoia of being hurt or being made to look stupid come from? Why are you so worried about who was playing a game when as it turns out you are the only one in the match? You have been boxing your own shadow this whole time. Maybe you haven’t seen your shadow yet and you think you are boxing with the people around you that care about you and sometimes you are. Only you will be able to tell the difference. Look inward to find yourself, not outward. You won’t find yourself out there. If you can’t find yourself yet, that’s okay. You are in there somewhere. You do not have to be scared. I have had an awakening. You are petrified of this perceived let down but I am here to tell you… it really isn’t that bad. I was lied to, I was deceived, I was made to look stupid because for the first time in my life I was outsmarted and caught completely off-guard. The amazing thing though is I do not feel stupid. I feel humanized I think. I have spent my whole life worried about, not only am I not worthy of others love but I believed that I would never honestly feel a true love. Or rather an idea of what I believed a true love should feel like. Because I lived in such an extreme space the love I thought I had, needed to be all consuming, right? No. I was wrong. I see that now and it’s incredible. I don’t look at this actual act of being lied to as a bad thing. I didn’t do anything wrong. For once in my life I didn’t ruin something because of something I had made up in my head. I didn’t push someone away, I didn’t slam against the wall suddenly and see this person in front of me as malicious. I was caught off guard… finally! Right? I did not see this coming and that feels real. That’s real. I am human. I got lied to by someone I trusted and I loathe liars, but I survived. I landed on my feet and see it’s really not that bad. Thank you. Because what this person gave to me when I did believe in them, that’s what I can carry with me. I can take this inspiration that was gifted to me and I can make it my own. In the light. Holding hands with everyone I love all walking forward through this life together.
I used to look at pictures as a lie. I felt like I was deceiving everyone around me because I am smiling in these pictures. I am pretending that what I am living inside my head is peaceful when really it’s a raging storm. That’s how I saw pictures of myself throughout life. Now. After this incredible experience from a mental and creative standpoint almost, through one of the hardest times in my life with responsibilities as an adult and especially as a mother I look at these pictures on the wall and no I wasn’t happy but in that moment in that one instance for when I took that picture, yes I was. I smiled because it felt good in that moment to do so. And that is enough for me. It has to be. I don’t know about you but I realized I have to take these small moments I have to take these few minutes here and there where something makes me smile or something makes me laugh and I have to hold onto those. Those are what I need to be reminiscing or thinking about or trying to create. I need to stop remembering the bad things, stop focusing on the negative things or the hurt that I think someone will cause me. Because when they do, I know I can handle it. Such is life. And I have done the worst to myself. Nobody can hurt me more than I can hurt myself. So stop hurting yourself. Stop boxing your own shadow and find out what can make you smile if you even for a second. Then you hold onto those smiles. You take those seconds and you save them and eventually they will add up like coins in a piggy bank. You can share them sometimes, you can give them to others without asking for anything in return and even as you give one away, your own piggy bank gives you one as well. So you will never go empty… if you use them wisely. If you give them all away at once and just blindly hand them out, you will go empty and you will stay empty as more people come and ask for a handout. Eventually you will have no more to give so spend yours wisely and help others save their own. It can only be replenished by yourself because nobody has enough to fill yours and their own. And you can not try to fill yours by trying to collect from many at once. It doesn’t work that way and it never will. Look inside. Find a smile. A good memory. If you can’t find a memory, make one. Or sometimes you can borrow one from someone else. Like a music lyric, a TV show, a movie, a poem, a story, a painting. You can find something that can bring you joy in a moment that you can bathe in. So long as it doesn’t harm you or anyone else. Maybe you can find it in sharing a story and finding out you’re not alone. Maybe, just maybe, you or even I can find it when we hear our own voice for the first time and decide to share it. Whether anyone ever hears it or not. Just to open ourselves up to be seen, to be heard. Which we have been so afraid of for some reason. But this is what can finally set me free, isn’t it? Opening my own doors to my heart and to my mind and allowing people to come in and take a look around. I don’t have to be trapped in here by myself, always on guard. I can protect myself even if there’s someone else in the room. Even if they try to steal something from me, they can’t. Because they never owned it, because it was never theirs to take. I can replace it myself, don’t worry. This is my creation like an art gallery. Look around, there’s refreshments at the door. It won’t be for everybody, not everyone will want to stay. Not everyone will even want to finish the gallery or see every wall. That’s okay. I know what’s on the walls because I built them and the only thing that matters is that I accept it and I love it the way that it is. Because it is my journey, my art, my story to tell and my story to write. I have the pen, nobody else does. Maybe they can influence where the story goes, but ultimately I own all rights and I myself supply the ink to my pen and the words that I write are mine. Not theirs. Their journey isn’t over yet. I have a lot of exploration still left to do, but I think I know how to better equip myself. And to learn how to read a map but also go off the path sometimes. Do something that challenges me even when I’m scared. Do the things I’m afraid to do over and over again until it just becomes a habit. I am living for me, not for anybody else. I hope that you can live for yourself too.