I have started this post several times. I have written it in my head countless times. I hesitate because I don’t think the answer is as clear as the question. I am not sure it measures up to expectations. However, in the end, its the expectations that hurt me the most. It was trying to live up to my self expectations that I fell short. “Expectations are pre-meditated resentments,” I was told. I held these expectations and resented myself when I couldn’t live up to them.
I was asked how I have changed on my journey. I was asked how I am different and how my outlook has evolved. I spent a long time trying to come up with an answer that makes sense. I tried to list my character defects and how they have been eradicated. I tried to come up with specific examples. In the same moment, I had a bump in the road that made me feel rejected. I don’t even really know the background or outcome, but my reaction was to feel hurt. I could feel all the rejection I have ever felt all over again. I felt teenage loves, jobs, schooling, loves, and losses. I felt friends who turned their backs and hurled insults. I felt the pain. My character defect of low self esteem reared its ugly head once again. How could I speak to how I removed my character defects when here was the largest one laughing at me again?
Do people really change? Can redemption really occur in this life? Is a loving God loving only after we die? IS suffering a choice?
I decided to not write this post. I had nothing to say and couldn’t see myself lying again to make myself look good. I had spent so much time lying to myself about who I was, how I was, that it became routine. I couldn’t even tell that I wasn’t growing or changing. I was lost in looking good and looking together. I just didn’t want to do that again.
I talked to a trusted friend about it. They are a new friend and I had to explain my story all over again. I explained what I did 10 years ago to change a direction. I described how I tried to change but wasn’t able. I explained how I didn’t even see a large hole in my soul. It gathered moss and a fetid smell as it corroded my heart. It culminated in feeling rejected and scrambling to cure my ache. It was the match for the fuse that blew up my life. Nothing would ever be the same. The tower of Babel I had built tumbled. The dust settled slowly. I explained how I had went on a voyage inside first. I dissected my life, my emotions, my reactions, my pain. I did things differently. I asked for help. I admitted weakness. I embraced the pain as a message. I humbled myself and spoke honestly about my mistakes as well as my victories. As a result, I got to be free of the shame. I got to experience a new kind of freedom. A freedom from the bondage of self. I had told my story so many times that it felt like just words. I had finally got to the point that I didn’t need to explain or justify, I just spoke the journey and the hope of tomorrow. Many times, people would tell me how hearing my journey touched them and helped them. They mentioned the truth and honesty in what I spoke. I explained to my trusted friend that I felt afraid and rejected again. He smiled. The arrogant jerk just smiled at me. I stared at him with disbelief. And he started to chuckle. Did I say friend? Maybe I spoke to soon. He spoke through laughing eyes and asked, “Ever been called truthful and honest in your previous life?”
I hadn’t. I think the biggest change for me is being ok with change. Sometimes, I go through it kicking and screaming. I have gotten to a point that I know that I will be ok in the change. I have been tumbled like tennis shoes in a dryer and come out wrinkled and fluffed to trudge another day. I know that God is in this and has been in this. I know that when I get knocked down, I get back up. I have learned to trust myself. More importantly, I like myself. I genuinely, love myself. When I mumble the words to myself, “I love myself,” I can ask myself if the current actions or thoughts are being loving to me or not.
I don’t know how to answer the question of how I have changed. I have changed a lot in some areas and not so much in others. I can wax philosophic about grandiose words such as trust, love, honesty, and change. I can speak to journey or to God’s Grace. I can share pages and pages of introspection and a pretty impressive healing resume over the last few years. I can talk about my journey or responding rather than reacting .I can speak to time. Time wasted, time appreciated, time spent, and time lived. I could mention that I had to change everything and allow God to rebuild me.
IT is all true, but over-expansive. I have simply learned to pause when agitated or doubtful.