I know that I can come off as a pretty sarcastic person sometimes. My humor tends to lean more towards the dark side of life. I'm quick to call someone an idiot when they behave in an idiot manner. I can be pretty closed off, a bit standoffish, not always the most approachable. I take my time with people. I wait and see what kind of person I am dealing with before I make a decision on whether or not I will invest any time in them. But here's the thing. I am one of the nicest people you will ever meet. If I decide that you (not to sound callous) worth my time, I 100% got your back and will continue to have your back even if I get screwed over at the end of the day. Maybe it's a Taurus trait. Maybe I'm just kind of a sucker. It doesn't matter. My path has landed me where I am right now. I don't want to be any other way, not if that means I have to lose all the lessons I've collected along my way. And at times, I know that I pay the price for people who wouldn't pay the same amount for me. I get it but kindness isn't a commodity. I'm this kind for you so you will be this kind back to me. Sometimes being kind to someone is just about being a decent human being, not about what we get back in return.
Lately the energy that I have found myself in has been suffocating. I find it hard to breathe, to see through the heavy air of just bad vibes. It's this electricity that runs sits in the air and you can't escape from it. You do your best to keep your distance from it but it still seeps into your pores while you're not paying attention. I do my best to keep it at bay. And I tell you what, at the beginning of the week, I do great... but by Friday the heaviness comes out of nowhere and knocks me on my ass. I come home feeling deflated, defeated. It feels like being a kind, compassionate person is something horrible. It would be so much easier to just treat the people around me like the way I've been treated... but what good does that do? You know working in the service industry leaves you with a lot of questions about the general good of the human race. My day consists of people talking to me like I am an idiot, of people demanding some sort of special treatment, of people yelling at me about things I just can't control. And then after all of that bull, I get tipped a 5% tip. It's cool. I get the nature of this beast. I'm doing what I can to move my life in a more positive trajectory. Until then, I have to fight for air. I think to myself wouldn't it be so much easier if I was just as ugly to them as they are to me? Wouldn't it feel great to tell someone to take that ranch and shove it where the sun don't shine? Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to stand up for myself without losing my income? But this is what I have come to understand, that the same sort of behavior falls on deaf ears. I have come to understand by allowing myself to become just as cruel as the world around me sometimes feel I would be losing who I have worked hard to become. I'm not going to be mean to you because you are mean to me. I can't. I won't.
I feel like what we forget sometimes is that we control how we're going to behave, how we're going to react to certain situations. I feel like we've forgotten how to take the lesson from the things we encounter to make it better the next time around. Something horrible happens and we automatically try to find whose at fault. Someone does something hurtful to us and our first reaction is to condemn that person from the start. We've forgotten how to take accountability for our own cruelty, letting the circumstances of our surroundings dictate what kind of people we are going to be. The other day someone asked me for something and I refused, not because I didn't want to do this but because I knew if I did it would be harmful to them. I didn't know this person from Adam. I had no investment in their life, in their future, in the consequences that would come of it. I just knew that I would hope that someone would do the same for me if they knew it would be harmful to me. For as distant as I can be from people, my heart feels too much for everyone. It's the reason why sometimes I can't show any emotion. Even a little is too much. I'm not being cruel. I'm just not always showing you how the world around me can effect me so deeply.
We feel ourselves fall down the rabbit hole sometimes. At times there is nothing we can do catch ourselves. So, we say ugly things and we do terrible things and we make questionable choices. We get so wrapped up in our own pride, in our own hurt, in our own selves that we forget that the person next to us is fighting a battle, too. We are quick to throw judgement on people we don't know because of this or that, because we lack the ability to put ourselves in their shoes. We're so blinded by our own turmoil we just assume that's the only thing that matters. I feel that energy, that black hole that it's so easy to get swallowed into. It's easier to give up, to give in, to fall into someone else's bad behavior. At points, I've seen myself behave in a way that I know is not me. I disappoint myself when I forget my kindness because that's not who I am. I disappoint myself when I forget to put myself in someone else's shoes before I react to maybe them having a bad day. I disappoint myself when I lose the fact that everyone around me is a human being and for that, for just that, they deserve my respect even if they do nothing to earn it. I will break my own heart to put yours back together. And maybe that's not the best quality to have because I know how much it costs me but I wouldn't trade my kindness for anything. We've forgotten how incredibly beautiful we can be to each other but maybe we can start to remember. Be kind because it's the right thing to do. Kindness may make you vulnerable but that vulnerability is the most beautiful part of being human.
Sometimes I don't realize how much life I have lived until a situation happens. I don't get how far I have come as a person until I see the way I react. In my younger days, I was full of spit and vinegar. I feel like I enjoyed the drama, the negative words that flew my way because it somehow made me feel alive. If you did me wrong, I was very quick to do you wrong right back. I didn't understand then how toxic my own behavior was. I felt like if I was misused, insulted, thrown to the side that it was fair for me to do the same thing back to you. I was very quick to cut people out of my life. It was self preservation. You only had one chance with me and then we were done. Then I got older. I had a child, who without her knowledge, taught me what it meant to be compassionate. I met a man who made me see that the world was full of so many lovely things, people. I had just cut it all off because it was easier to feel nothing than to feel something. I've said this before and I'll say it again I love getting older. Where I was once terrified of the wrinkles that may form on this skin, I now welcome each one that appears when I look in the mirror every morning. These wrinkles are a mark of each beautiful day I have been lucky enough to live even the hard ones. Lately I feel like I have been learning something new about myself every day. Sometimes it's just dumb little nuances that I didn't realize I had. And other times are these moments that come from left field.
I am a reflective person. I enjoy observing the world around me. This week has been no different. Every day we are presented with choices. We are given these scenarios and the power to react to them in whatever way we choose. Lately I've been feeling a lot of negative energy around me. I don't do so well with that kind of energy. It makes me feel dizzy, helpless, frustrated. I allow the dark part of the universe to blur my otherwise sunny vision. Earlier this week a situation was presented to me. I was insulted, belittled, and put in a real bad position. The details of it are unimportant. I had a decision to make. Which way would I react? Do I fight back spewing as much toxic energy right back? Or do I simply choose to walk away? My reaction surprised me. It showed me how much growth I have experienced since my more youthful days. I chose to walk away, to not fight back because the energy that I would have given back wasn't worth who I have become. You get to an age where you can identify which battles are worth fighting, which relationships are worth keeping. You understand that not everyone is good for you and you accept that sometimes you have to move on from them.
There have been times in my life where I thought my emotions were a detriment to me so I wouldn't allow them. I wouldn't allow them to even myself. They seemed like too much. Then I became someone's mother. And then I became someone's wife. I realized that the more vulnerable side of me needed as much love and care. I learned by sharing even these words with the world wasn't a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. I learned that when someone does me wrong it does not mean that I return that wrong with another. So, I learned to be kind, compassionate, honest, caring. I realized that to be the best version of myself was to give of myself as openly and freely as I could. I realized that people deserved second chances, sometimes even thirds. Over the years I have become softer, more forgiving, more willing to give the benefit of my doubt. Living my life this way has been more rewarding even if I still get rocks thrown at me just the same. I understand now, however, that how I retaliate to those rocks doesn't mean I have to throw a grenade.
Here is one of the greatest things about being adult. You are in control of your own self. You can choose your company (mostly). You can choose your environment (mostly). You have the power to direct your own course and the ability to decide your own behavior. And if you screw up, you can address how to come to a conclusion that doesn't cause harm. You realize that not everyone has your best interests at heart and that's OK. We are all on our journeys but whatever energy they throw at you, you are the one who decides what to give back. I didn't know how far I have come until I was faced with a toxic situation this week. I didn't know that I somehow gained the ability to just walk away as simply as I did. I realize that my own tendencies to cut off the world, the people are still very much in my DNA and that's OK, too. Old behaviors never really go away. We just learn to keep them at bay. I think having that ability to protect myself is just as important as sitting here being vulnerable and writing these words. The true sign of growth is how you choose to use your tools. This week I understood that I don't have to let the negative energy swallow me. I can choose to walk away from it even if that means I lose things along the way. At the end of the day are the negative things I lose worth losing myself? I will no longer entertain energy that is toxic to me. I will no longer feed that beast. The energy I give back to the world is of my own choosing. Walking away from something, from someone, from somewhere that is bad for you is not a sign of weakness. It is sometimes the best choice, the strongest decision you can make for yourself. No apologies needed.
Over the last few weeks I've come to a lot of realizations, about the people around me, about my own path, about what I have chosen to surround myself with. There was a time in my life where I was so angry that I shut the world off but over time I realized that was not the way to live one's life. So I changed. I made the choice to allow people into my life, my thoughts. I started sharing my words and my pictures and my creations to show people the inner workings of this beautiful, chaotic head of mine. I started to realize that communicating with the people around me was just as important to me as it was to them. When someone hurts my feelings, I should share that with them instead of bottling it up. When someone does something to make me smile, I should share that with them. When someone is kind to me, I should say thank you. I've grown leaps and bounds with the way I interact with other people since my early twenties. I feel proud of myself and I am no longer ashamed to give myself a few props here and there. Lately, however, I've noticed I've started to keep things to myself more than I should. I allow the negative environment I find myself in to seep into me like a teabag in boiling water. And why? Because I feel like even if I form the words, no one would hear them enough to fix the problem. What a defeatist attitude, right? But what battles are worth fighting? There's been a lot of soul searching lately, a lot of decisions about what to do next, and I'm happy to say that my direction has been found again. Sometimes I think we lose sight of how important it is to communicate not just with each other but with ourselves, too. When I allowed myself to push the distractions of what was directly in front of me, I was able to hear what was waiting for me.
I decided to go back to school a few weeks ago starting in Spring. Lately my current environment has become unwelcoming. I cry in the car on my way home at time. I crawl into a shell while I'm there just to avoid feeling anything really. This feeling of being stuck overwhelms me. And the anger I feel when I give my best but my best gets met with passive aggressive comments starts to boil over but my drive to take care of my family keeps it at bay. I was sitting on the couch watching my husband play Fortnite when I had this Aha! moment. I was looking at the backgrounds, the way the avatars were moving, how fluid everything felt. I thought I would love to do that. I would love to take my already creative tendencies and put them towards making something lovely. In the back of my head there was always this plan for me to go back to school but I think I just didn't know what for. I didn't want to invest the money unless it was into a future that I was positive about. The joy of being an adult, of living so much life is figuring out who, what you really want to be. At 39 years old, I finally figured out at least my career. I turned to my husband and said I want to go back to school. I want to earn a degree that is actually going to give me a career, not just a job, not just something to pay my bills. I want a career. And please before everyone jumps on me I will say this. The service industry if you want it to be can be a rewarding career. It has its values and its lessons and its rewards. By no means am I throwing shade at the brilliant people that do that for a living. I just know, for me, it was never supposed to be something that was the rest of my life. It was something I finally allowed myself to admit.
I look at my kid who is about to start her last year in high school. She has her whole life in front of her. She has so much time that right now she won't realize right now is going to fly by in a wink but she has right now. I feel her eagerness when she looks at me, the way her wings twitch even though she hasn't quite figured out how they work. Her youth inspires me. This blooming life that I get the privilige to watch take off moves me to start my own flight. I laugh at the way maybe I did things a little backwards. These things that I am now brave enough to try are the things that most people do in their late teens and twenties. In way, though, I feel like this way is better for me. I gave my daughter my youth and there is not a single part of me that regrets that choice. She's almost on her own now, knowing that my role in her life is about to change. So what then do I do with myself now? Keep tending bar? Keep bringing the ranch that woman desperately needs? Continue to feel the cartilidge in my joints slip away? Continue to feel like it's just about getting through the day? And I can't. My daughter said to me the other day that I am much softer than I was when she was a kid. She's right. I haven't had to fight for survival as hard since I found a partner in my husband. I haven't found it necessary to fight as many battles either. But in that loss of fight in me I think I forgot the value of that part of me. I don't have it in me anymore to rage over things that don't matter but I want to find that spark again to battle for the things that do. Sometimes I feel myself screaming inside but I drown her out. Maybe I should hear out now and again. It's time to listen. It's time to move. It's time to change.