I didn’t know you well.
But maybe next time I will make that effort.
Except I didn’t know.
I’m not good at people stuff, or rather I’m not always sure where to draw the line and then I realise I’ve let the colours become blurred and I don’t know how to get them back.
I didn’t know that we shared the same disease; the same dis-ease; the same sorrow; the same anguish; the same anything.
I keep thinking about you and wishing I’d reached out
Before you were more than a memory
I know the idea is not original and I don’t claim to have thought of it but I have spent a number of days mulling over what I would say to an 18 year old me.
Eighteen feels like a long time ago… because it was!! But if I could go back and reassure my younger self, this is what I’d (gently and lovingly) like to say:
If nothing else, know that there are some awesome experiences ahead! You will travel far, meet an amazing diversity of people and experience much. You will look back and know that you have much to be proud of, and many memories to enjoy.
Know that your courage will always be stronger than your fear; you will not be limited by your fear – and you can be proud of that.
Although there will be times when your feel like you’re unsure of your footing, you will always stay true to what you believe. Your behaviour may change but your beliefs remain like foundation stones. (You might ignore them but they remain firm never-the-less!)
You believe in honesty. You hold compassion in your heart. You value kindness. You desire peace. You adore joy. Your love is freely given. Connections with others are the lightning bolts of life that remind you that you are alive.
Take time for you. Take time to be. Time to rest and regenerate. There will always be another tomorrow (until there isn’t, and by then it won’t matter).
As you get older you’ll learn to pick your battles, and to not sweat the small stuff. It’s all about balance. You were taught that life was black or white but as you get older you’ll realise that life is about continuums, and the where you are on any continuum at any given point is only a snapshot in time. Few things in life are simply one thing or the other – there are so many shades of colour and you can always choose a different colour, a different shade or tone, a different style or direction or position or perspective. There are always choices.
You may spend a lot of time thinking that you weren’t good enough – but that’s not true. You are good enough. You are enough. You are so enough. You. Are. Enough.
Sometimes you will feel driven to achieve your goals, and at other times you can rest and just be. That’s how you know what’s important – most of the things you are passionate about now will stay with you for life. They will be your means of expressing your creativity, expressing essential beliefs that are intrinsic to you. (Did I tell you? You are SO enough!)
And by the way, you are beautiful – if you could please learn that now rather that later in life, you would save yourself a whole lot of time and angst. You are good enough. You are a unique being, a precious jewel, and you are beautiful. Did you hear that? You. Are. Beautiful. So precious. So unique. So exquisite in your own way. So worthy of being cherished and adored. And if those close to you don’t cherish you – then move on. Because you are enough. You are more than enough. You deserve not just to be loved but to be truly cherished.
And I will cherish the little girl you were and the young lady you are now. But if you could learn to cherish you, how much richer your life might be. I love you and I am proud of you and if we could do this all again – this is what I’d want you to know. Because I believe in you and that is SO important. And you are valuable, and precious and beautiful, and YOU ARE ENOUGH, and I love you.
It’s been an interesting week. We were finally allowed back into our workplace after the earthquake last week. The building had been assessed by two independent engineers as being structurally safe. However the motion of the earthquakes had resulted in several burst water pipes which flooded several floors and caused significant water damage on top of the earthquake chaos. Workmen and cleaners had been in to do an initial clean up and repair damaged ceiling tiles and lighting, computers and printers etc. The carpet had been dried and most of the lights and computer equipment were restored but this week involved working without air conditioning (not that much of a big deal – just a bit warm at times) and amid the smell of ‘wet dog’ which is actually damaged carpet that I expect will be replaced at some point. It was good to get back to work and try to find a sense of our new normality.
As many of you will know, I battle with low self esteem and work in a government department that in pockets is quite distinctly unfriendly. I pretty much keep to myself but being me, I also take whatever opportunities arise to engage with people because that’s who I am. At one point this week I walked past a senior manager and we made eye contact so I said hello on my way past. He ignored me (as he usually does). Had we not made eye contact I wouldn’t have spoken but as he looked directly at me I felt it was appropriate to be polite so I spoke. He ignored me! He heard and saw me but chose to look past me and not even acknowledge my existence! As I went about my work I thought some ungracious thoughts and remained a little miffed for the next hour of so.
Later that morning I was talking to my boss on the phone. She works at a different site and I seldom see her but we communicate via phone and text. She is the best boss – so lovely, encouraging and supportive – I know what you’re thinking at this point ‘just like a boss should be’ – and you’d be right! I told her about my encounter and responded with “That’s so rude! Why do people behave like that?” “You’re asking me?” I said. She responded “Yeah, well don’t take it personally. You never know what’s been going on behind the scenes for him – maybe he’s got his own concerns and is just on another planet today and wasn’t really aware of your presence.” “Maybe” I said and we changed the subject. I put it behind me and moved on.
Yesterday I read the quote below:
At first I thought of myself and how I want to say this to the world.
And then I thought of him – the man that was rude to me. And it was a good reminder, like my boss had said, who knows what’s going on in someone else’s life. It’s time to be gracious and give him the benefit of the doubt. I might steer clear and give him a wider berth next week but he’s been through earthquakes and floods too. He may have things happening in his life I have no knowledge of, and while he is responsible for his choices and reactions, he deserves the same lack of judgement I wish for myself.
I think it’s time for an introspection update – it probably won’t be pretty but needs to be an honest look inside.
I sent a text to someone this morning to ask how he was doing, and as I did I realised my own issues are just beneath the surface and I try not to focus on them. But maybe it’s more healthy and certainly more honest just to come out and say:
- I have times when my self esteem is really low …. and I don’t really know why.
- I feel like I’m a bit of a hermit these days (see Abandoned Mine) – and I don’t know if that’s a lie I’m telling myself or if it’s how I really am.
- I feel quite disconnected from my family and some of my friends; some days I wonder if they even like me.
- When I wrote Abandoned Mine I didn’t want to explore what the dangers were that lay beneath the surface; or why my life used to feel like a hive of activity but now feels like an abandoned mine; what is it I’m shutting myself off from?
- I’m currently feeling a little bit lost and I’m not sure why. I could blame the turbulence of this past week (a massive earthquake, multitude aftershocks, not being able to go to work in the building I usually work in because of water damage due to burst pipes, heavy rain and flooding, constantly feeling tired etc) but I don’t know if that’s just an excuse.
- I want to go back to bed and lie there and weep. Given it’s a quiet Saturday morning I could do just that.
- I feel disappointed in myself for my lack of activity this past few weeks – I don’t want to do things. I don’t want to exercise. I want to live in a lovely clean and tidy environment but don’t have the motivation to do much in the way of housework. But then, does it really matter?
- Maybe I just feel a bit sad and a little bit lost.
- I do feel a bit sad and a little bit lost.
And it feels like a relief to be honest. And I know I won’t always feel this way. And I could go and do other things to distract myself – but it feels good to face the truth.
At least I’m weeping honest tears.