Last week, a friend told me that everyone thinks I come off as believing I am superior to others. What’s more, that I always make her feel badly about herself. My gut reaction is to defend myself: my words and my actions. I spend a lot of my time feeling deeply unworthy of the company of others, and that would be my defense against believing I am superior. I would never believe I was superior to anyone, because I know that I am barely deserving of a human classification, so shitty can I be. But those are just feelings. Poorly worded feelings, no doubt. And ultimately, it does not change or fix the damage this person feels I have done.
Every time I am told that I have hurt someone, it wounds me. I focus on it for weeks on end, ultimately compressing that injury into a tiny ball of scar tissue that hangs around in my heart. When I want to sink into my own neuroses, I pull out that little ball of scar tissue, roll it around in my hands, taste it. Remember why I am unworthy of even basic human respect … unworthy of treating myself kindly.
That’s pretty shitty behavior. I don’t like about myself that I can wallow so effectively, and yet still find that I have done harm to others. So the methods I have used (defending my actions, holding onto my offenses) hasn’t been effective. It’s time to make a change. So for that change, rather than defend myself, I’m going to explore all the ways my friend has a valid perception of me.
I try to parent my friends. I want them to be safe, well, and very very happy. I offer too much advice, too much unasked-for guidance to them, because I want them to find all the beauty and peace that they each deserve. Though my motives are good, it is overbearing, and comes off as the behavior of a judgemental know-it-all.
I am opinionated. So very opinionated. And my opinions often come out before I word them carefully. My opinions also often arrive before I realize that no one asked my opinion at all.
I can be very abrasive. In the options of fight or flight, if I believe the wellbeing or feelings of my loved ones are at stake, I always choose fight. I am often wrong that anything at all is at stake, and I therefore come off unnecessarily confrontational to the people I consider to be a threat to the ones I love. Also, I am far too prone to believe that the danger to the person I love is themselves. Fighting a friend to save that same friend is … well, fucking ridiculous.
I am sensitive. Not sensitive … I am raw. I am so easily hurt, or reminded of past hurts, by almost anything. If I mention a personal interest and don’t receive a response, I know that I am being slighted. If no one laughs at my jokes, I know that I will always be that awkward ugly girl in sixth grade who laughed at her own jokes. That girl who still feels easily how mean the cool kids can be when you are a know-it-all weirdo. That sensitivity feeds into how opinionated I can be, and a cycle gets created.
I am a procrastinator. I wait to share all the ugly little scars and bruises that make up my psyche until everything in me is so tense and taut that I am more likely to lash out.
I wallow. Hell, this whole post is about me trying to stop wallowing and continue to be a better person, so that probably goes without explanation.
The things above … I own those. Those are in me. I am that person. All things that I can work on, do work on, and will continue to work on. I can be more trusting of people in my life to make their own decisions. I can be more patient with my opinions. I can share more and judge less.
But I cannot quit wanting desperately for all the people I love to have all the happiness and beauty that their awesome existence (and their awesome gift to me by their existence) demands. I will always want so much for everyone to find all the wonders of the world. But maybe I can learn to accept that I don’t always have the right answers for them. I can let them find these things for themselves, and just be so fucking thankful that I get to witness them doing so.
And maybe if I see it enough, I’ll start seeing more of the things that have got to be there for me to discover as well. No one hates me as much as I do. I have to believe that I am the one who has been wrong all along.