I’ve been trying to write this one for a week. It’s all mushed up in my brain. So, here goes another attempt.
Last weekend I was in a course (I know, what’s new). We were experimenting being the self we really don’t want anyone to see. We got to see how that self – for me it was a moody, irritated little shit – was actually a contribution.
One of the guys in my group saw how he could more powerfully interact with his ex-wife. Another woman saw how she could love a difficult person.
It was great. I got to see how to be with self-righteous, opinionated people in a new way and not have to avoid them.
Sunday, one of the guys came up to me and said he liked that I was a bad-ass, but he could also see that I was sensitive. And he thought it was great. He had tears in his eyes.
“What do you mean, you know I’m sensitive? I thought I was hiding that from the world. After all, my mother always told me I was TOO sensitive. WHAT DO YOU MEAN?” I wondered. “How could that be a good thing?” There was an even worse self that I was hiding. My needy, pathetic, insecure, sensitive self. I hate that self. To me it is truly disgusting and the reason that no one could REALLY love me if they got to know me. After all, my ex husband thought I was just “always upset” and my last psycho boyfriend told me he could never give me enough reassurance to calm me down. I just knew it was true.
I went back to my group. Earlier that day they had encouraged me to talk to a woman I was upset with. I was embarrassed to admit I was upset about a comment she had made, because I understood why she said it. I shared how upset I was. She totally understood, apologized, and told me she loved me. I felt free and on top of the world. I was so glad I had spoken up.
“I’m all about saying what can’t be said. I’m going to speak up from now on. It is so freeing,” I told my group, feeling like I had the world of communication handled.
“I think Tobin doesn’t like me. I think I annoy him,” popped out of my mouth. Why did I just say that? I wondered. Me and my big mouth.
“Tell him,” Cynthia said.
“I couldn’t,” I said, shaking my head no.
“You just said you were all about speaking up and not keeping your upsets in,” she said.
“Shit,” I thought as Tobin happened to walk by our table.
“TELL HIM,” they all said. Tobin looked at me like what was going on here.
I grabbed him and took him aside.
“I don’t think you like me,” I said.
Thank you,” he said in his trained manner.
“I think I annoy you,” I said.
“Thank you,” he said again and started walking.
“WAIT,” I screamed, not being able to stand it. “DO YOU LIKE ME?”
He turned back to me. “What do you think?”
“My brain says no,” I said. He was looking me straight in the eyes.
“But,……….” I searched his eyes. Something softened. “But I think you actually love me,” I said, my voice breaking.
He nodded and kept walking.
My little brain still wondered if it was true. But my heart knew that he loved not only me but all of us. Deeply.
Chasing after him was being my worst needy, pathetic self. I’m still embarrassed that I did that in public. But what I saw was that no one shunned me. No one ran away.
I can finally get that people really love me. They’re not just putting up with me or being nice to get something.
And that it’s ok to be my pathetic horrible self. I don’t have to hide it anymore.
And that has opened up a world of love for me and others. That I can TRULY be myself and not have to worry about them leaving.
Some people may not be able to handle that side of me. And that’s ok. They don’t need to.
But that doesn’t mean I have to pretend to be someone I’m not. It’s exhausting and stressful.
So thank you everyone for encouraging me to speak up. I’m learning as I go, and, it’s an exciting journey.