Thursday, July 23, 2009

Further than I thought

So - if you've been reading you'll know that life has taken a sharp and somewhat frightening and amazing left turn in the last few months.  Yep, life is changing and I'm becoming increasingly aware that I am changing.  And it seems at a rapid rate.

Firstly, and partly through stress, I began to lose weight.  In a moment of my physical self replicating my mental and emotional self - making the break from my old relationship I felt like an enormous weight had been lifted from my shoulders.   I hadn't quite realised that I was carrying around the emotional burden I was.  Well, maybe not quite how much of a burden it was. 

I caught up with my oldest and dearest friend Denise a few weeks ago - and she approached me from behind on the street where we were meeting.  She wasn't actually sure it was me.  She told me this, as she said my posture was so different.  I was holding myself differently.  Wow.  I caught up with her again just the other day, and again she said I had changed.  I was told I was beginning to look how I did when I was 21.  OK people - you can do the maths as my age is probably listed somewhere in an old post.  That's a damn long time ago.  But I suppose what she means is that those stresses are leaving me.  And I am a lighter, happier more carefree person because of it.

I no longer feel weighed down by someone else's attitude to life.  I am able to be myself.  I am able to find again the sheer joy in so many things.  I've always been able to be happy in the moment, and appreciate the small and simple things in life, like the feeling of sun on my face, a great cup of coffee, a flower, my cats purring on my lap etc.  But I was with someone who lived life in black and white and in a 2 dimensional way.  It is hard to explain, but I had a moment last night where someone said a quote from JFK on the telly.  'And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future'.  I was marveling at the hidden meaning of this quote regarding the person (my ex) sitting on the couch next to me.  He has been unable to process our break up and is stuck looking backwards and unable to look outside of his own pain  and find a way forward for himself.  Wow I thought. I wondered if he'd feel the enormity of this quote in relation to himself.  He then began ranting at how if anyone thought about the quote for more than 3 seconds they'd realise it didn't make any sense at all, and basically how crap it was.  So there in the space of one minute I became acutely aware of our differences and how being around someone who has this outlook on life is crippling to me.  It makes the world a small place.  A sad place.  A mistrusting place.  A pedantic place.  A cynical place.  And worst of all - a place not enriched by things that make you think. Think about yourself and your place in the world.  How you relate to other people and perhaps most importantly - how you relate to yourself.

I am saddened to think about how being with this person had effected how I interacted with others and how it made me look at life.  It almost makes me want to weep at who I was becoming.  But the great thing is that I have made the turn left and towards the real me.  And best of all, I have found someone who marvels in the person they see embracing life, trusting in others, and looking at paintings, photographs, nature and literature and watching how it makes me think.  I am constantly amazed to hear someone marveling at me full stop, let alone for the sorts of things listed above.  But it makes me aware of perhaps how much I have changed.

I used to look at photographs of myself taken in the last few years.  I never recognised the person I saw in them.  It barely looked like me.  Perhaps it was the weight, perhaps it was the shroud of unhappiness and stress I had placed around myself.  But somewhere there underneath it all, was me.  And as I boldly strip back layers and once again smile at the world and feel happy to my very core, I can look at photos taken now and begin to see myself.  The one I always saw in the mirror.  And it feels nice to think of how far I have come in just a few months, and more excitingly, perhaps what awaits me in the future.  As that is where I am looking.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My own worst enemy

I know I've written about these sorts of themes before.  But it still confounds me.  Why is it when my head seems to be sorting itself out, a wave of insecurity comes crashing over me - knocking me on my arse?  Can I not let myself be happy?  Does it have something to do with my guard being down?  My brain distracted by other things, and in through the side door comes me, my own worst enemy.  

As you may have guessed I'm going through a huge change in my life.  It's more than a change of boyfriends, or homes (eventually), it's a change in me.  I can feel this so profoundly.  I think back to how I was just two months ago, and the anxious, unhappy person seems like a distant memory.  Another life.  But this week an old behaviour came back with a vengeance.  Almost like running into a brick wall at full speed.

But these thoughts weren't caused by anyone else.  They were caused by me.  Why?  I've talked before of feelings of shyness and theorised that they stemmed from never feeling 'good enough'.  And perhaps deep down those thoughts have been ingrained for so many years now that it's a hard one to shake.  I have realised in the last week that I have given my heart to people who have found it acceptable to criticize me, critique me, pass judgement or belittle me.  The relationships didn't start out this way, but that's how they ended.  With them reinforcing all the negative things I had always thought of myself.  And all I can take from that time, is if the people who were supposed to have loved me thought that way - I must have been right about feeling unworthy.  And that's a very scary place to find yourself.  With feelings of worthlessness.

As part of this change, I know that layers I have put up around myself are slowly coming down.  Peeling off.  I have done this once before, between the first and second boyfriends.  However - it's interesting this time around as I am doing this whilst with someone new.  I've never been able to let my guard down and try to find myself whilst with someone.  I have always ended up being someone slightly to the side of the real me, whilst in these relationships.  And maybe it's because I changed myself to try to be more like the person they wanted, rather than the person I am.  And the weirdest thing is that I never noticed I was doing it.

So why are things different now?  There are so many reasons.  But I suppose they can be summed up in two words:  Me; Peter.  Things are different, I'm different.  I know that I'm going through a process.  I need to rid myself of the hurtful past, and begin to move on from the way in which I have thought previously.  It's hard.  But the painful moments are worth it.  I've had glimpses of what I can be like, of what my life can be like and I know it's where I need to go.  In learning to let go of the hurt caused either by others or myself, I feel lighter.  An incredible sense of freedom.  And for all those years I felt trapped, it seems funny to look back now and realise I had the key all along.  I have the strength, the determination and now most amazingly of all, the support to unlock everything.  I'm not there yet, but I am taking my first steps towards the real me.  Steps away from my own worst enemy.  And I know I will occasionally stumble, but I am learning to get up and keep going.  No more curling up into my shell.  I can't do that anymore.

So stay tuned sports fans.  Watch this space.  There's a new coming attraction: ME!