Thursday, November 23, 2017

Becoming - A Journey

More than a few decades ago, I was a very different person. I mishandled a number of personal and professional relationships. Because a deep belief in my own unworth, I saw slights in sometimes the most innocent of gestures. I mistrusted friendships because my sole thought was that I was unlikable and hurt was the inevitable outcome. As a result I became unlikable and ended up hurting others. Joe and I had some blistering fights, at my core I knew I wasn't his equal and I used my anger to try and level the playing field. How he stuck through that time I will never know.

It was not a sudden overwhelming realization that did it. It was a slow coming to awareness that the person I was wasn't the person I wanted to be. This led to further self loathing. But then, I decided that I had the power to change, that I had all the tools I needed to begin down the road towards becoming more like the person I wanted to be. I wanted to be worthy of Joe's love and affection. I wanted to be clear minded in my dealings with others - I didn't want the noise of my past, what I had done and what had been done to me, to be part of how I began and maintained relationships. I wanted to be able to think without suspicion, I wanted to be open to hearing words from others without the noise of a thousand taunts interfering, I wanted to evaluate without looking through the colour of bruise.

Yes I have been bullied and teased all my life.

Yes I have been hurt, purposely, over and over again.

Yes.

But no.

No, I didn't have to have a future scared by the acid of the past.

No, I could become a person made by my own hands not the hands of others before.

I am still not the person I want to become. But I can see him, I can feel him and I can hear his voice on occasion. That brings me, not joy, but peace.

Even very recently I had to do what I've been doing as part of this journey. I had to stop. Think. Evaluate. Look at the path I was on. Ask hard questions about why I was doing what I was doing. Pull back from the brink by blowing away emotions clouding my mind. And I had to understand the behaviour of others does not give me an excuse to react without kindness or thought of consequence.

I have been working on building my physical strength but the work of building my character muscles is exhausting.

I am 64 and still chasing the person I want to be.

I wonder if I'll ever shake his hand.

5 comments:

Shan said...

I sat here trying out sentences for a few minutes and can't pick just one response.

Working on oneself should be a...like a personality 'app' constantly running in the background. No, a character app. Humans have an endless capacity for those hurtful missteps, and such a talent for ignoring their own fault.

Without being overly congratulatory, which I don't think is what you're after here, I really respect your story of self-correction. I hope I, like you, can be brought to see my own unlikeability throughout my life whenever I need to be pulled up short. Change is possible and can be lasting...an encouraging thought.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Most people never become self-aware.

Life is a tough journey for those who do. So? What else is worth it?

In many ways, I had it much easier than you did. But I'm still working on me, and keep discovering ways in which I'm very primitive and driven by stereotypes and instincts and the words of society, as I perceived them.

The trick is to keep trying, and to celebrate the bits of progress.

clairesmum said...

David Whyte's CD called "The Poetry of Self Compassion" helped me heal a great many of my wounds (inflicted by others and by myself) when I "read" it repeatedly in a period of great sorrow and rage and loss.
And then I began to rise from the ashes of the past that were destroyed in the fire of rage/loss/sorrow that had engulfed me for a time. The 'me' who emerged, although scarred and scared, was the beginning of my life as a fully human being, giving and receiving love and light. In the past 15 years my life has been completely overturned and set down in a new and different place. I have moved 'deeper and deeper into the only life I can save" - in Mary Oliver's words.
You are that man, Dave...you just don't fully know him yet...he is still partially hidden. It is in living your life that you make the choices that can keep your self stuck in darkness or to risk moving into the receiving of love and light as well as giving it.
You are exactly where you are supposed to be, on your path. Just keep going forward, with your mind and heart open.

Of course, keeping an eye out for puddles and potholes is a good idea, too!!

Cathy Kirsch said...

Yes you will shake his hand! Sooner than later I believe. I shook the hand of an incredible, real and motivational man at a conference I attended in Edmonton just over a month ago. Perhaps I should introduce you to him. ❤️��

wheeliecrone said...

Dave, I am almost 80 years old, and I still only get glimpses of the woman I want to be. I figure that if I live to 120, I just might manage to be that woman full-time on alternate Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I think that striving to be that person we want to be is a worthy ambition. I also think that if we as humans ever achieve that goal, the world will be a much more pleasant place to live.