When I think about the kind of person I want to be, I generally just say “I don’t know” because that’s just easier than really allowing yourself to be completely selfish for a minute. Forget who everyone else wants me to be. Who do *I* want to be?
I want to be strong, but some people would argue that I am the strongest person they know. Others have called me weak. Some have said I was my own worst enemy, which would be crazy to think about: having me as an enemy. Yikes. I would be anyone’s worst enemy. Except for the people who think I’m weak. So maybe I don’t think I’m weak at all, and just don’t recognize just how formidable of a person I truly am. I know I’ve made it through some bullshit, and even look like it’s effortless at times. It’s never effortless. My whole life is a struggle. I don’t ever want to be someone who doesn’t struggle. I want to be strong.
But I also want to be kind. Despite the fact that I would give my right leg to develop the power to spit acid in the face of my enemy, I feel the pain of others. I feel that everyone goes through some shit, and the ones who are hurting the worst are the ones who are going around hurting others. They are unable to work through their feelings, and I feel sorry for them. It is a scary world when you’re unable to connect with yourself and be honest. I have gotten so good at doing that very thing (out of necessity) that I have had to rediscover that process in the form of participating in my daughter’s counseling sessions. I bite my tongue when I can sense she is going to talk about something that would normally be none of her business. But the fact is, she has witnessed something that may not be her business, but still has an effect on her, and still evokes feelings that she may not be able to process. When she gets her gears jammed by something unfamiliar, she gets anxious, and then her skin flares up. The past couple of days have been particularly bad for her, and her skin is breaking out. She talks about subjects that I am comfortable with processing internally, but am uncomfortable with facing in front of others. It helps my daughter to be able to recognize that struggle, and how deep the ripples go. It isn’t often that she sees me become uneasy, so when she plows through those conversations anyway, it makes both of us stronger in the end. I place great importance on strength, but equally important is kindness.
You don’t have to like me.
You don’t have to have the same outlook as I do.
You don’t have to respect my opinion, or adopt it as your own.
You don’t have to ‘like’ or ‘share’ my stuff.
You don’t even have to have a full conversation with me about our differing views.
I respect that my friends don’t think exactly like me. They feel differently about things, they react differently to stimuli, and they rationalize in their own way.
I do NOT respect flip-floppers.
I do NOT respect cowardly people who wait until my back is turned, to talk about how they didn’t like what I said.
If you’re going to say it at all…
Say it to me.
Don’t voice your opinion ONLY when you feel safe from potential backlash. It doesn’t matter then. It matters when everyone around you is pushing you to feel like you NEED to agree with them, and you still don’t.
And that’s okay. Stand by your true opinion.
But also don’t expect that your opinion will be everyone else’s opinion too. And don’t piss your pants when it doesn’t happen.
Own your view of the world, regardless of how other people think it should look.
If your view of the world means you feel the need to be two-faced, and tell people what they want to hear in every situation (regardless of how genuine it is) then there’s something deeper there.
Don’t be bullied into an outlook that isn’t yours.
And if you’re the outlook bully, what the fuck is wrong with you? Do you really need justification that badly, that you’re willing to force your ideologies on others, just so you don’t feel alone?
What happened to being an individual?
Why is it so frightful to disagree with people?
Go against the grain! It doesn’t even hurt that badly.
Once you realize you’re living for yourself, you know what freedom feels like.
Five years ago, I almost lost my kids in a car accident. They were passengers in a car with my ex husband, on a nice and sunny, clear afternoon. My ex husband (who has a lengthy history of accidents due to drunk driving or just being fucked up on whatever he could find) went off the road, later blaming it on swerving to avoid hitting a dog (the other 7 witnesses said there was no dog, and he simply drifted off the road). What happened next, has left both of my kids with nightmares they can’t escape.
The car blasted through the guard rail, rolled down a steep hill into a ravine, where they hit a tree, and the car caught fire. Their seatbelts were stuck, so they had to work their way out of them (driver never wore one). Their doors were stuck as well, so they had to climb out of the window. No sooner did everyone get out, then the car exploded, sending my ex husband flying.
He got no charges on him, despite the fact that hypodermic needles were found in his car wreckage. No sobriety tests were administered, which would normally seem weird to me, but I read it in the police report so I guess they didn’t care about his OUI history (*eventually they did, after a few more offenses and several years). The tow company that pulled the car said that nobody should have survived a crash like that.
I got a call from him that night, and he told me it was “no big deal, just a little accident.”
I can’t imagine experiencing that, EVER, much less as a 9- or 11- year old kid. It’s so much a big deal. They’re lucky to be alive today, and I don’t know what I would do if they weren’t here. I don’t even think I would still be here.
Cherish your loved ones, let them know you appreciate them. Be there for them, even if it doesn’t bring you anything extra, it might make all the difference to them. You never know when you have said your last word to someone. Try not to make it a hateful one.