When I first met you, your smile sparkled as you sought a way to show of the teeshirt advertising the show you just saw. Your enthusiasm and uninhibited willingness to try something new was a brightness in the day. You left me with a smile on my face as you walked away. How I longed for the days when, like you, conversational patter had come so easily. But then I went on enjoying the memory of that moment as I shared my own smile with others.
The day we sat down to talk you surprised me by revealing that the beautiful young woman I see does not see herself as beautiful and special. Sharing a bit of our stories, you asked me how I had made peace with my life even though it is not the status quo of everything a life should be in society’s expectations. I did not pretend to have it all together, but I can’t pretend to regret my life either. I am at peace. I am still growing. I still have moments of unrest. There is still healing that is in process in my life, but I am at peace with where my life is at.
1) I don’t expect anyone or anything to save me or to do the hard work for me of healing. When you wait for others to do it for you, then you resent what is not done. You feel let down and alone. If you can look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are enough, that you can heal, that you are willing to have the patience with time, the honesty of self-acceptance and the strength to face the things that hurt, healing begins. When I take the responsibility for my own joy in life then whatever I receive from others can be seen as a gift instead of a requirement.
2.) I am thankful for what others bring to my life. It is hard for me to let down the control of my outcomes enough to let others in and to let others help me. It is not easy to release my independence or to accept the word of others that they might come through with the things the offer to do. I have to raise the mirror to my own humanity and face how my own desires to do for others sometimes outstrip my own ability to carry through in order to accept that others may want to support me in ways as well. I will read the signals wrong. We will all make mistakes. But in it all, through giving the benefit of the doubt and through recognizing that a kindness shown is a gift for both giver and recipient, I connect with others. Each connection in turn opens me to the next one.
3.) I accept that the past influences me. I let myself dream toward the future, but I am learning to live in the moment I am in. I am learning to let this be enough just as it is. I am learning to accept and own my feelings as my own and to know that no matter how uncomfortable the feelings of a moment might be, they will not stay that way forever. Yet, I am learning not to take the responsibility to change my feelings. I am learning to take the responsibility to listen to them so that they can teach me what I need to know in that moment of time. It is only in owning my moments that I will live beyond what is past into what is to come. What I do with the moment I live counts.
4.) I am learning that I am what I need to be to live my life. I don’t have to wait for some magical moment or some planet-aligned sequence of events. I don’t have to wait until I have achieved some level of fame, the perfect body ratio, the circle of friends I do long to have. All the things that can be someday are possibility. But their presence or their lack does not decide my life. I am free to make my life what it can be because I am everything I need to be in this moment to move into the next one.
No, it does not fit the social expectations of all that life “should” be, but a life based on should is a life that is waiting, not a life that is being lived. I have chosen to live, to grow, to be the person that I am. I have chosen to accept myself as a person in transition without expecting to arrive at some predesignated destination where everything will finally be happy ever after. I have chosen to live in my todays.
And because I have, I was privileged to have those moments of sharing with you, those moments of seeing beyond the mask you have learned to wear to hide the ache you have within. I only hope that the moments we shared enriched your life in some way.
I know you have enriched mine.