I was rummaging through some of my stuff the other day and came across one of my own journals. I spent some time sifting through it and found some sweet, forgotten memories, heartache, funny stories, horrifying (after the fact) decisions I made, and a terribly obvious pattern of choices. Even though some of it is not pleasing to me now, this is exactly why I keep journals and continue to write. I enjoy looking back on pieces of my life later on and re-experiencing those moments and learning from them. I did learn quite a few things that I think deserve to be noted.
First, I came across a quote from Jim Morrison that really strikes me, and apparently did in 2009 as well.
“That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be who he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretense. It’s true, we’re locked in an image – an act – and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most prized possession.”
This really speaks to me because the more I think about it, there are only a few people who know the real me. The real me. Not the me everyone thinks they know. I cannot adequately express how much love and appreciation I have for those few people, the ones I can truly be myself with. The people who know all my stories, good and bad, and have stuck around and continued to be in my corner. As I get older and more self reflective, I am really realizing how lost I would be without those people.
These writings have also shown me what a mess I was, basically from 2008-2011. I kept following the same patterns, especially in relationships. I continually got involved with people who weren’t really available, for whatever reason. I kept telling myself that it was fine, that I wouldn’t get my feelings invested, and when the person turned out to be a douche, I’d tell myself that I was done, and that was it. And then I’d try it again…only to end up in the same situation. Maybe not so surprisingly, the guys seemed to say and do many of the same things. Tell me how I’m the best, smartest, nicest person they know, that they love me and would do anything for me, BUT…..and then after that BUT, things would fall apart. Instead of walking away the first time like a smart person, I’d stick it out. Continue with the pattern of facing two different people, one who was drunk and charming, and one who was sober and noncommittal or emotionally unavailable. To see all these stories, all at the same time, it’s sort of funny but also depressing. You would have thought I would learn by the third or fourth person who this happened with, but apparently not.
Seeing all of this also just shows me how unhappy I was and how little respect I had for myself. I wouldn’t say that I generally felt (or feel) bad about who I am, but I’ve always had trouble actually asking for, or expecting, respect from people. I kind of just let people treat me however they wanted and then didn’t hold them accountable when they decided they didn’t need to treat me well. I don’t like confrontation, so that’s probably why. I wouldn’t say that I think I “deserved” to be treated poorly, but I didn’t do anything to stop it. I always told myself it was because I didn’t really care about trying to have a relationship with anyone anyway, but that probably wasn’t true. It was just a defense mechanism.
It also became amazingly clear to me that I need to continue working on myself, because 4-5 years ago I told myself I needed to deal with these feelings/issues and I still haven’t. About a month ago I pledged to actually get started, which I did — but seeing all of these things is just more motivation to stick with it this time, even if it’s difficult. It’s finally time to stop putting things off and to make my feelings and well-being a priority.