Walking with a friend the other day, after mentioning I was now working with a former schoolmate, we began talking about some of the people we went to school with. Did we recall this person, or remember that. Wondered what some of our classmates were up to these days. The type of conversation that inevitably leads to the statement my husband once made about his thought of me “back in the day” of high school…
“You were the weird girl with the White Zombie patch on her backpack.”
Little does he know, the girl I was then, is who I am today. I just live more freely.
I grew more and more comfortable in my skin and with my mind, my soul, with each passing year.
I shed more and more of the layers that stifled me. The dulled my shine.
I broke away from those figurative ties that held me back from being myself.
I am still that weird girl. I still have my “geek out” moments over comics. I still have my love of flannel. Big trucks. Mud. Loud music. Books. Writing. Reading. All of that is still a part of me.
But, now I wear pink. I paint my nails. I wear make up from time to time or put on a dress or skirt.
I listen to country loudly and sing along badly, even in busy traffic of downtown in the small city I work in.
I jam out to Britney Spears.
I water my plants in my two piece after sitting “pool side” of my son’s little turtle pool as he’s splashed water happily at me or we sat with our toes in the water and watched for planes.
This is the person I have always been, but feel freer to actually be. I shed that teenage fear of rejection or backlash for not being someone that had a specific place in life. Because when you’re a teen, you have (or at least you feel as though you do) to belong somewhere. You can’t be a little of everything.
And I am.
And that’s okay.
I also know that this “me” isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And, that too is okay. It doesn’t make me less lovable. Less likeable. Less anything.
As I grew older, found more pieces of myself scattered around, and became comfortable in my own skin, my relationships changed.
I have stopped giving to relationships that only take. I stopped reaching out and trying to help those that really, in the end, don’t ever want the help. I stopped being around the constantly negative. I stopped letting the people into my life, or letting people stay in my life that thrived off of the Soap Opera themes of life.
I put at cap on how much bullshit I can take, handle, and process.
I stopped letting my heart get used. I stopped going out of my way to keep friends out of trouble. Or step in as protector when crap hit the fan.
A funny thing happened when I started leaving friends to stand on their own two feet. When I stopped planning. Reaching out. Giving, giving, giving.
They started fading.
My life suddenly shifted.
It got lighter. Figuratively and for real.
The stress was less and less.
I had time for myself. And time for the solid relationships that I had managed to form around all of the crap ones.
I started to hear around the street that I had changed.
I wanted to shout that I hadn’t changed. I was still me. They were all just so busy take, take, taking from me, that they never actually knew me to begin with.
We grow, we live, we stop giving a damn what other people think of us, and we live more. We find ourselves, that person, tucked deep inside, hiding, scared to show themselves. We yank that person out, and love them fiercely. Which makes us grow more. Live more.
What’s life without living?