Tag Archives: personal journey

Change is A’Comin

16 Mar

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking over the past few weeks.  My life has been in a certain amount of upheaval, in a good way I think.  It’s funny the way that we almost predict things before they happen.  I remember sitting with one of my best friends, a massively important part of my chosen family really, and saying to her that I felt like I was waking up day after day and not getting anywhere.  Like, I could go to sleep 30 and wake up 26, look around and things would look more or less the same.  I mean, obviously that’s not exactly the truth.  A lot has happened in the past 4 years.  I have met a lot of people, gotten my Master’s degree, started this blog, gotten into a serious relationship.  But in many ways I felt as though I had been running in place.  People would ask me what was new and I felt I could just shrug my shoulders and, to me, that felt like a pretty accurate representation of what had been happening since whenever it was that we last spoke.  But then I went ahead and I burned the whole thing down.

A few weeks ago I was thinking back to what a bad ass I was in high school.  I was so fucking principled and like, I just didn’t give a fuck.  I mean, not that I would hurt people without thinking twice about it, but I always sort of felt like when I was right I was right and authority could suck it.  I didn’t speak my mind for the sake of it, because I thought it was fun or something.  I would say something when I thought, for whatever reason, that it needed saying.  Like the time I got kicked out of homeroom for refusing to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance because I didn’t understand why I should be forced to acknowledge the existence of a god I didn’t know I believed in.  Or the time I got my chemistry teacher fired for reading our grades out loud in class and throwing a chair, not all on the same day.  Or the time I marched myself into the principal’s office, slammed down my AP scores and chastised him for having the nerve to disallow students from challenging themselves because he was afraid of how anything less than a 5 on those AP tests would effect our school’s ranking on some bullshit list of the best public schools in the country.  Seriously, what’s education if your educators tell you you’re too stupid to try something that might be hard?  I mean, these were all sort of silly little things I got all upset about for whatever reason but I got upset and then I said something.  Over the years though I have become slightly more pragmatic, thinking about the long term effects of saying something versus the importance of standing up for something you believe in.  Although that might be a good thing some times, it made me lose sight of myself a little and now, at 30, I want a little piece of my 16-year-old self back.

At some point over the past however many years I decided that my own feelings about things were sort of irrelevant, as long as other people felt good.  I would sort of tie myself in knots in an ill-fated effort to make sure everyone around me felt happy and supported.  The thing about it though is that you simply cannot make everyone happy all the time and if you try, well then you are just a fool.  There are people that will just keep taking and never return the favor.  There are red flags that shoot up in certain relationships that just cannot be ignored forever because those people will turn their backs on you when you finally need something in return.  And then there are those people, some of whom have been there all along and some who come out of nowhere, that step up to fill in the gaps.  I don’t know, people are surprising.

So here is what I have realized.  Putting everyone before yourself is stupid because it leaves you completely hallowed out and incapable of asking for anything in return.  I think that keeping this blog has really been an exercise in reteaching myself that lesson.  I sit at my computer and write about my experiences in the most accurate way possible.  I try and be kind, unless of course I am recounting some story about someone being an asshole in which case kindness is really an afterthought. Honestly, I believe when people are cruel they should be held accountable.  Anyway, then I publish it and let people read it on their own.  I like to think that my going through life, trying to be as decent a person as I can be is enough information for people to understand that my motives in writing are never to be mean or hurtful.  The reality that I need to remind myself of is that just as I bring my own experiences to the table when I write what I do, other people bring their own experiences when they read it.  I cannot expect people to interpret my words the way I want them to.  When I put my words out there, it is entirely out of my hands.  People are going to take from it what they take from it and I have to be okay with that.  Sometimes people are going to feel hurt, even if I do everything in my power to keep that from happening.  It is, unfortunately, inevitable. And so I have to stop beating myself up about it and just realize I cannot be in control of how people see me and think of me.  All I can do is go through life trying to be as good as I can without compromising myself in the process.

So here’s what I am going to do.  I am going to go back to the version of me that didn’t get anxious about people being upset with me all the time.  I’m going to stand up for myself in my relationships more than I have over the past few years.  I am not going to just sit idly by while my life just sort of happens.  If something isn’t working for me, I am going to change it.  And all the while I will try and write about it here.  So, wish me luck and hopefully you’ll all still like me.  If not?  Well, I don’t know.  I guess we will cross that bridge when and if we come to it.