6 March 2016

62 – Don’t Stop Being Yourself

FebMarch is not my time of year.

Last FebMarch pneumonia and a back strain side-lined me for 5 weeks. I wrote about the lessons of that pain in #52.

This FebMarch someone special slipped away. Something full of hope got broken. I’m learning some hard lessons by it, and this essay’s about that.

Life’s like nature: it doesn’t deal in straight lines. Life can turn quickly. So always treat life like a road: when it takes an unexpected turn, slow down.

But sometimes we lose control on those turns.  Sometimes that’s because we lose control over ourselves. And that can turn good things bad very quickly.

A beautiful surprise entered my life before Christmas. We felt genuinely drawn to one another from the start. We found a hope in being together by simply being ourselves.

In our initial excitement we strayed from our daily routines. Despite being creatures of habit, we willingly distracted each other by randomly chasing cars. We’d both consciously abstained from intimate, romantic relationships for a long, long, long time. But this time we each felt like we’d found a dark horse worth betting on.

Straying from our habits is a risky business. It can lead us astray of our genuine selves. We both recognized that. 

She explained her having a full life that required strict adherence to her daily habits. She slowed down. She kept being just herself.

She made only two requests of me. First, she asked me to respect her schedule. Second, and perhaps more importantly, she simply asked me to keep being myself.

Those conversations left me even more impressed and excited by her.

But I let my excitement get the better of me.

I convinced myself I needed to adjust myself and my lifestyle to continue connecting deeply with her. I stopped writing first thing in the mornings. I began working out on weekday mornings rather than weekday evenings. I went out on weekday nights to visit her. Those are three things I normally never did.

I went out of my way to impress her. I wrote her poems and gave her little gifts without restraint. I completely opened myself to her emotionally.

I did all of those things to impress her when I didn’t need to do a damn thing.

And I convinced myself that that was something to worry about. I became anxious and obsessive. I started saying desperate things. I started driving myself crazy.

I began contradicting my own values. When I needed to pause and reflect on things I’d written about here, here, and here, I didn’t. I’d become so far removed from myself that I’d forgotten my own beliefs.

I’d begun hurting myself for no good reason. But what’s worse is that I began to hurt her. I’d failed to listen to her. My behaviour had begun to stress her out. She began questioning her feelings for me. And the more I pushed her the further she pulled away. I may have even made her cry in the rain.

In mid-January I found myself in a great situation. I found myself in the beginnings of something quite lovely and sweet and hopeful. I found myself with someone who embraced me for simply being me.

Less than two months later I find myself in a terrible situation. I find myself at the end of something drained of loveliness, sweetness, and hope. I find myself abandoned by someone because I had abandoned myself.

It hurts completely to know you’ve hurt someone special when you absolutely never meant to. It hurts right down to the bones and blood.

This is one story I wish I’d never been the author of.

But I’m not just the author. I’m a part of the audience, too.

Sometimes I lose my sense of direction. Sometimes I need help finding my way again. This has been one of those times.

The bad news is that the past couple of weeks have been really shitty. The good news is I’ve received a strong reminder that my friends and family aren’t shitty at all.  Small Paul, Clay, Copper, The Skipper, CT, and my parents have all offered a sympathetic ear, compassionate advice, and blunt observations. And every drop of it has been helpful. And it reminds me why we should always be a planet and let good friends lead the way.

I’m still making sense of this episode. I’m not even sure if it’s really hit me yet.  But I’ve already learned one very valuable lesson.

Special people become drawn to us when we are simply ourselves. We’re drawn to them for the same reasons.

What’s special is the hope that’s born of two people genuinely being drawn to each other.

What’s sad is when that special hope gets broken.

What’s tragic is when that special hope gets broken by one person no longer doing nor being what makes them special.

Don’t ever stop doing that.

Don’t ever stop being yourself. 

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