Monday, November 15, 2010

Walking Away...

To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform. - Theodore H. White

I feel like I have spent most of my life torn in two or three, somewhere between who I am, who I want to be and who the world thinks I am. And I am not sure I have ever once gotten to comfortable with the mix or getting it right.

It goes back as far as I can remember, growing up in a home where my father vehemently believed in being who you are and what you are and let the world deal with it, yet for the most part he was alone and unhappy and had many many people walk out of his life over the years, including his own children from a previous marriage. My mother on the other hand wanted nothing more than to be loved, so she was always who she thought people wanted to her to be and she bounced from role to role, whether it was being married to someone she didn't love, being a parent even though she often resented us and told us growing up we kept us stuck in her marriage,  or in jobs and social obligations she found burdensome. She to this day tries to be what the world thinks she should be and never herself, hoping to find love and satisfaction she has never reached.

I look at myself and know I got the worst of both!

I tend to believe much like my father. I am who I am, love me or leave me, on the outside at least. It is definitely how people perceive me. If you were to ask many people who know me they genuinely believe I think I am always right, that I am arrogant, that I am pushy and it has to be my way or not at all. And some of that perception I am ok with. I don't believe you should be fake or someone else just to be loved or accepted or wanted. I also know I use that perception people have about me as a protective mechanism, if people are willing to fight through who they think I am to find out who I really am then they are worth having around me, but if not then I have prevented a lot of hurt in the end, usually.

Yet the truth, inside I am probably more like my mother than I would like to admit to. While I don't bend like she does to be who people want me to be, I do wrestle with all her pain about fear of being abandoned, about wanting to be someone lovable and worth being around and not really feeling like I am worthy of that as I am.

I can look back at different times in my life and can see each part as owning one of these two personality sets. In high school and college, more my mother, wanting to fit in. My adult life up until the last year, mostly my father. Being who I am and accepting whatever that means, even if that meant going the world alone and being ok with that.

In this last year, particularly the last four months, it all just seems like a mish-mash and I don't know who or what I am anymore. In twelve months I have so radically changed on the inside and out and am still trying to figure it all out and just feel some days like retreating back to that safe fat girl who I understood and knew how to live with. It felt so much safer, so much less painful, so much less risk, so fewer tears. It was also less fun, less happy and a lot more existing than living. But I am not sure that happiness is worth the pain it chances, particularly abandonment.

I used to know what to believe from the people around me, because they knew who I was (as did I) and accepted me for who I was or they weren't part of my life. If they said something I knew clear as black and white whether to trust it or not. I didn't spend my life living in fear like I do now, having to question every one's sincerity, waiting for the lies and pretty words to unravel and to be left alone again. I don't expect everyone to love me, or even like me, but I also can't spend my life guessing who in my inner circle is being real with me and who isn't, its too hard and it is making it impossible to figure out who I am.

Twice now in under six months I have faced situations where people (professionals) who I really thought were in my corner have decided I wasn't worth the effort I require, that I am too difficult to deal with, too opinionated, too emotional and have walked away. Part of me would like to believe like my father, if they weren't willing to see who I really am then screw them, but that isn't how I feel. I feel much more like my mother. Hurt, sad, upset, angry at myself for the things I did that made them not want to be part of my life. And total truth I am not sure I can do this a third time.

I apologize to the world for not being able to be who the heck you want me to be right now, because to be quite honest, at this point I don't even know who that is.


  1. I wonder if some who have walked feel threatened by a slimmer you. Perhaps they preferred "that safe fat girl." She was by far a less threatening figure. With all the changes you have made and continue to make it's only natural to feel some confusion about "who you are" and only natural too to long for the *perceived* safety of the old you. Natural too, to feel hurt when someone walks away.
    To me though, the saddest sentence in today's entry is that you apologize for not being who the world wants you to be. I'm not sure *they* even know what/who they want you to be. (and they're not apologetic)

  2. Take responsibility for your part, thank them (not through your Blog) for all they did help you with and move on to the next season ... wiser ... knowing that your actions/attitudes may cost you. Discovering and celebrating who we are becoming is never easy for any of us. Wish them well on their journey as you continue on yours.

  3. we are a culmination of our life's journey, ever evolving into who we are...using each bit of knowledge to grow stronger and learn or letting it defeat us, the choice is ours...

    Love ya girl!

  4. Amen sister. The most astute summary of the struggles you and I share from the gifts we were given.

  5. Thom, not sure whether it is better that it is comforting that I am not the only one or sad to know you fight this battle too. I used to have this battle under control, because I knew who I was. Now I dont even know that most days it seems. This is the part of this journey no one warned me about.