After a long month, I stare into my tapestry as I open my front door. I can’t help but notice the complexity and exoticness. It is only two shades of color: black and white, no room for grey, with a reoccurring pattern. I stare long enough to relate it to my own being.
I bounce other’s words back and forth between the right and left halves of my brain. The logical half comforts the other, my inner voice quietly tries to drown out the background noise:
“What others think about you is none of your business.”
“Your perception of me is a reflection of you.”
The right side of my brain encourages depth, a new journal and set of pens, and the overwhelming feeling, desperation, and desire to feel understood. I long to justify to others what is happening inside of me. That’s my first problem.
Other’s words attack my conscious:
“You can be very defensive.”
“You only talk about yourself and aren’t listening or being considerate.”
“You talk down to others.”
“I’m seeing a different person these days then the girl I used to know.”
Truth is, people will never know the truth about me unless they yearn to understand. I sure as hell hope I am different than the girl you used to know. The only constant is change. Progressive growth is essential to character. I’ll never be enough for those whose expectations and perceptions of me are stagnant.
I think back to my younger self: lost, emotional, independent, fighting for understanding in a world that I didn’t belong to or relate. I look at myself now. I am still that human, yet I have evolved gracefully.
Only those who want to see the caterpillar turn into the butterfly actually get to witness the transformation. It’s those whose eyes are so fixated on the butterfly, that they didn’t know the caterpillar existed in the first place.
I remind myself of the kind words other’s have said to me this week:
“Since I met you a few months ago I’ve found you to be an incredibly kind person with an amazing work ethic, who is introverted. That does not mean you live in darkness and are always negative. Shit is hard sometimes and the people who care and understand will be there in those times. Now is not the time to drop someone on their ass. You’ll get through it because you do see the positive in things and you work your ass off to do that. Staying positive in tough times is really hard. We’re not perfect.”
“To be honest, I think we all feel like lost puppies right now. It’s pretty impressive how you’ve been able to somewhat hold it together.”
I am looking at my white walls, painted with art and photography, my 500 square foot apartment that I used to share with someone else. This box has become my home out of my own willingness to endure and move forward. My eyes light up while I stare at the musical equipment I used to dream to own. I now turn my dark thoughts into art. I mix beautiful, lyrical melodies with the touch of my own fingers.
I am filled with warmth looking at my 6 year old labrador retriever. I have raised him since he was 6 weeks old. He brings happiness, companionship, joy, and love to anyone in need of it.
“You’re too skinny. Eat a cheeseburger.”
I stare at my own reflection and for the first time in 26 years I feel comfortable in my own skin. I think about the last year of my life: my goals, my lessons, my heartbreak, my strength, my passion, my flaws, yet my generosity and selflessness. I think about where I wanted to be and how I have gotten here. I think about the next steps and what I need to do to charge forward.
“If you focused on the positivity in your life, instead of feeling misunderstood, things will change for you.”
I reread other’s perceptions of me, and I must agree as to why they would feel the way they do. You see what you want to see.
I struggle between: you thinking of me in that manner does not make it true, tearing me down doesn’t make you stronger, pointing out my negative flaws doesn’t make your attributes positive…yet…I feel you. I can be a hypocrite. I am probably paying for sins I don’t remember. I probably am reading these painful words because I have spoken the same words with the same good intentions, yet the brutal truth caused friction.
If you feel the need to make someone feel less assured of themselves, if you have to call another person out, you may gain a false sense of superiority. Trust me, I know. I am guilty of it.
I am very, very fond of people who speak the truth and advocate change. The issue here is… it’s hard to tell the difference as to who is conforming to other’s opinions and who is speaking out of intellect and honesty to bring awareness to the people surrounding them. I have always fought to be the latter. The former has always made me withdraw from society. If another human can change your perception without factual information, I am not sure I could ever trust your word.
“You are stronger than focusing on the negativity, the pain, the suffering, the chaos.”
My struggle has always been finding the balance of “hear me out, this sucked…” and “I am going to keep my mouth shut to be the strength other’s need.” Venting can come off as negative and untrustworthy to those who want to fixate on your flaws.
I know I have not always been the woman I crave to be. However, I strive to be that woman every moment of my life. The only constant in my life has been progressive growth.
At the end of the day, we’re all human. I have let the masses paint me in whatever shade of color they chose. It takes being vulnerable, self-assured, broken, yet incredibly strong to tune out and block other’s hot needles being thrown at your heart made of gold. I am grateful for the people who have given me a taste of my own medicine. If only they knew I liked the taste.
You can’t kick me down
I’m already on the ground
Be careful because I am quick to stand back up. Wisdom comes from knowing what other’s say about you is not your reality. It’s their reality. I’ll never trade honesty for relatibility.
“I know you care a lot about others, but you have to show it.”
I have been called selfish, yet I have let others sleep in bed with me for weeks at my own energy expense because they had nowhere else to go. I have been called unsympathetic by those who didn’t know I was behind the scenes fighting for them at the gamble of my own career. I have given my last dollar to others before buying myself a meal. I have sent flowers across the country for friends in dire pain. I have dropped everything to just be next to a friend enduring a broken heart.
It has taken me the same amount of time to not judge as it is taking me to try and not react. At the end of the day, I remember words are typically opinions- and often very skewed ones.
“People have a different perception of you because I think and feel you are consumed by your hardships.”
My hardships exist because I take on the pain and weight of the world. Not because I wallow within mine. The truth is I feel happy and sad at the same time – all of the time. I feel deeply and experience a wide breath of emotions simultaneously. I can be laughing, yet feel melancholic sadness for the old man across the street walking alone. I am an empath. I feel other’s energy, anxiety, and sadness by simply being in the same room. I have deep feelings hidden within my surface at all times.
Empath: a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.
I let other’s words wiggle so deep in my mind. At the end of each day, I fuel that fire into creativity, motivation, and join energy/minds with individuals who truly feel me. I have been called a “runaway” by extroverts that don’t understand how energy works. As an introvert, I lose energy by human contact. It is essential to my well-being to have moments alone, even if your company gives me pleasure. The harshness and cruelty of the world can completely drain my energy to the point of not leaving bed for two days.
I am a walking contradiction. I want to help others, yet I resist human contact. I am curious, but I can be incredibly shy. I either completely obsess over something or am totally indifferent. I am passionate over what excites me, yet completely negligent if I am not interested in the task at hand. I am easygoing, I love coming up with ideas, however I will be incredibly stubborn if forced to stay true to myself and individuality. I will never conform to be a part of a clique that doesn’t match my values. I will always choose my own path over what society expects of me. I want to be autonomous and free, yet I want to have stability and order at the same time.
So please, paint me in shades of red, black, grey, blue…
Make me your favorite verse to discuss…
Try to explain my soul to someone who doesn’t know depth exists…
Keep telling me I am “this” or “that” when it has been me that has had your back the entire time…
Every morning I wake up, turn the music on, shake it off, open the blinds, and plan for a brighter future. Every morning I think about how I am going to advocate for change for other’s going through darkness (that are not sure how to speak up for themselves).
I can be myself or I can be what others think of me. At the end of the day, neither works, for those who have already painted me the color they choose to see. I take the feedback and grow flowers from it. I am not here to convince you of my worth. I am here to remind you of yours. And once you have gotten that much out of me, you’ll paint the story how you choose.