There’s a saying: “It’s none of my business what you say about me.” I’d like to add: Unless you want to share your thoughts.
This essay has been in the making for some time now but I kept raking it aside until recently. It’s painful stuff for me but it also won’t just sit in the pile of my thoughts anymore. This past month has been a reminder of how important it is for me to always stay true to myself. I know I’m all I really have; everyone else could conceivably exit my realm tomorrow except for my kids, and eventually, they’ll somewhat leave me too. (Besides, I don’t own them, I love them, and I’m just doing my best to raise them.)
I’ve discovered the inner me I’m most in touch with, or able to express myself is- the messenger. Therefore, I’m writing on behalf of my past, present and future relationships because the commonailty is me. I’ve suffered over the loss of a few friendships when my life changed (from married with kids, to divorced with kids and dating a woman,) and today I’m still trying to find a resolution for those feelings of rejection. In addition, I’m also attempting to understand how to deal with my relationships that are changing due to my refreshingly honest approach to conflict, and I’m wondering how this is going to shape the dynamics of my future. Either way, there will always be those who like me and those who don’t, but I must be ME or else the rest is a lie. Even my ex-husband Jack used to say, “People either love you Shannon, or just don’t get you at all.” There are not a whole lot of folks lining up to hang in the middle.
I keep coming up on the same theme everywhere I go: relationships, and change, and how one isn’t always in tune with the other, but they don’t play without the other. Does that mean I should embrace the dissatisfaction I feel in certain friendships, and that I shouldn’t be sad because good friends drifted away? No, I don’t think so, but it does offer an opportunity for discovery. (And I’m all about that.)
It’s hard for me to hold back any of my feelings and opinions although I’ve heard, “feelings aren’t facts.” And as for me, my opinions are never without change either.
Sometimes we’re not able to rise to meet another’s expectation, nor do they ours. We experience life from our vantage point, which should tell us that most of the burden is on us. We should not expect something from someone who doesn’t have it to give, nor should we be held accountable to other’s ideals. We are all autonomous and capable of asserting our Free Will. Our ultimate challenge is to arrive in the cradle of understanding, and even then sometimes that’s not enough. (But I still get angry and sad when things don’t go my way, or when I can’t be what someone wants.)
In my life friends have disappointed me, and I’ve let others down. Ultimately it’s based on reaction. Others have upset me because they didn’t respond to me in ways I thought appropriate. And I too haven’t always given what’s needed. Whatever the situation may be, it’s unsettling when friendships are in the storms of change. For the most part, the feelings associated with rhythm breaks are uncomfortable. Both parties struggle to circumnavigate the shifts until common ground stabilizes.
We move in and out of people’s lives, and others drift through ours. However what remains is always an imprint of them from our perspective and perhaps that too changes as we grow as individuals. And I’m learning that within these movements new people appear who might not have had things remained the same.
In order to accept the loss of a friendship, I decided to see it as the final act of a play, thereby making room on stage for a new cast to unfold. It’s always my hope- new versions of old ones will reappear once we’ve gone away and done our own work.
It’s difficult for me to accept that not everybody likes me, though I know this sentiment is universal for everyone. I understand how some people could be completely put off by me, and I embrace the resistance I provoke in some. I’m not the easiest person to be around because I require communicating on a level that makes some people squirm. My quest in this life is to find the deeper meaning of our actions, including my own. It makes sense to me how living my life by this principle could easily dislodge trapped heat. But I’m not apologizing because it’s who I am and what I stand for, and I seek only to connect with people within the cracks of their make-up. I’m working hard exploring the world of non-manipulation, surprisingly and unfortunately; it’s unsettling to others. I demand honesty and integrity within all of my relationships, especially the one I have with myself. It’s exhausting, scary, and extremely painful at times, but for me it’s the only respectful way to be-real. Real to me is letting go of the desire to control the outcome of a relationship, (something I’m still working on,) and to speak that which holds true, as it is the only way to revere the self, and the other. Essentially: If we can’t be honest with ourselves, how can we ever trust anyone?
I had to expose the most fraudulent relationship in my life, and the one with the most at stake, and I’m not turning back. It took more courage than I ever thought I had to leave my marriage. It’s upsetting to me that there are still people out there who just can’t see how being authentic with others is the highest form of respect, not only for them, but for ourselves as a well. We all deserve to live in grace. (And my Jack still asks, “ Do you need anything?” When I’m sick.) I never understood, “ Truth sets you free.” Until I put it to the test.
I spent thirty years of my life pretending to fit in places that didn’t belong to me. Now I’m learning to rest comfortably where I don’t have to look. I’m an in-your-face kind of person and not everyone agrees with my nakedness, but they can look away. I’m more proud now than ever to be me, even though some of my monsters are really freaking ugly. I’m going to continue de-scaling myself, shedding old skin as I move along. I may lose more people in the process but I know I’ll gain more of myself, which is who I live with for fifty five thousand thoughts per day. (The average human has fifty thousand, but Susan says I have more.)
All that’s left to say is this: I will always be here if you ever catch up with me. And if you’re still by my side, I require nothing from you except your gentle honesty, and if you’re undecided, I get it, I would be too. It’s taken me a long time to scratch at genuine confidence and I’m allowing you to watch it unfold. But the choice is yours whether or not to watch me in mockery, or humility, or not at all. I’ll be sad to see you go, but I’m more focused on me, I’m monocurious.