They say the eyes are the windows of the soul. Though I don’t know who they are, I agree. Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and catch a glimpse of your eyes? Have you ever thought ‘Damn. I look unhappy.’? I have pictures like that from the fall of 2007. I was going through a terrible breakup, another in the line of ex-boyfriends I had tried, in some way, to change because I saw their potential but I also knew they had to do better with themselves in order for us to work. Not in a bitchy way, just because I had a naiive perspective and thought I could make them want to be better. For themselves. This breakup was especially hard because the guy had a 4 year degree in Philosophy. Philosophy. What the fuck? He was intelligent. But that right there should have said it all. I think it says “I got a bachelor’s degree because that’s what was expected of me but I got one in Philosophy because I’m still babied by my mother and I know she’ll take care of me no matter what.” Too harsh? Oh, well. I would work 40+ hours a week and he didn’t have a job. He thought an accomplishment was taking a shower and meeting with his probation officer. He acted as though being a self-named hippie would grant him dignity to be living in a trailer at his mom’s expense. Let’s just say that I am over him but still angry and confused by him. And then I scoff at myself because I’m thinking, “Really? Did I really let that guy treat me like shit? I opened the door and invited him in so he could take advantage of me?” For a long time I was really worried that I would keep dating guys and finding the duds. I was worried that my standards were too high, or that I was being unrealistic. I was afraid to be alone. And it showed. In my eyes. In my actions. Only looking at prior snapshots do I realize it now.
Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t swear off dating or become a hermit. But I reacted to break-ups angrily because I was afraid. I was afraid that I didn’t have a good judgment of character or that I wasn’t just getting the point that “Hey. I’m only good enough for these types of guys.” I was feeding myself emotional poison by even listening to this bullshit when all I really had to do was listen to what people who actually love me had to say. So I started listening. I mean, none of my own advice to myself seemed to work, right?
I have always felt like my life is a personal journey. Everyone has their own mantra, their own theme for their life, if you will. Mine has been growth. Even the name of this blog is “achievingmyself”. I believe that every step is a step in the direction of filling up this body with a person. (Is this clear as mud??) Nonetheless, I took that opportunity, that heartache that I was feeling and turned it into something that would propel me forward. I thought about the kind of person I want to be and starting moving forward.
“You’re smart.” “You’re so compassionate.” “You’re strong.” These are some of my favorite things people I love have told me. Of course, they love me so they’re going to say nice things but each of these statements mean so much when I hear it. Because, statistically, I have defied the odds.
I’m a child of divorce. I’m a child of alcoholic parents (and extended family). I’m a child of meth-addicted parents. I am a child of domestic violence. I was homeless for almost two years.* Statistically speaking, I should not have graduated high school. I should not have gone to college. And graduated. I should have at least one child.
But I refuse to listen to bullshit. That is a standard I had set for myself even before I knew it.
To be continued…
*These are all real events in my life. My parents have changed tremendously in the past 15 years and are not the horrible people portrayed by these statements.