I won’t be muzzled. I won’t be leashed and held to heel. Having spent the better part of my 20s and 30s thinking that I wasn’t a “nice” girl, having to swallow my anger so much that I blew up like a blimp, so that every time I experience the feeling of anger, I cannot even hold on to it, instead I dissolve into tears. I no longer want to slowly kill myself with food and unfelt emotion. I’m tired of watching life pass me, thinking how glorious and shiny everyone else’s life is as they achieve goals, try new things that frighten them, put themselves out on the line, while I sit in the corner and hope you don’t notice me.
It’s simple, but it’s a difficult concept to grasp. I know. If you don’t like me (and that’s OK), feel free to change the channel. If you don’t like the words I write, don’t read them. Believe me, they’re not about you, or trying to hurt you. They are simply me, trying to understand, me.
I no longer have to be a people-pleaser and throw myself into despair knowing that you don’t like me. I can’t grovel on the ground or hide under a quilt while you assert your dominance and superiority over me. I’m tired of putting my energy into trying to make you like me, rather than spend that energy on those who really do. Those who, time after time, have been there for me. Have opened their hearts, their homes, their lives, to me and mine; have never told me that I’m disgusting and that I should be ashamed of myself.
This immense globe that is my home, I want to see as much of it as I can, with the person that means the most to me, my husband. If that means that I’m flying away from the nest, be happy for me. Wish me success and happiness and love as I traverse it, and don’t be sad or resentful that I’m away from you. My journey may not necessarily be your journey, or more likely, the journey that you wanted for me. But it is distinctly and utterly mine. I do not regret a millisecond of it. All of it has made me who I am today, and you know what? It’s pretty amazing. And, maybe, the choices I made have made it difficult to stay in touch, to know me, but instead of looking at that as a defect, why not look at it as an asset? An old Chinese proverb says that sorrow shared is sorrow halved; happiness shared is happiness doubled.
So, I’m different than you. I believe different things. I do different things. They aren’t Canadian differences or Scottish differences, or American differences… they’re just differences. Does that make me less of a human in your eyes? Or less worthy of your love and your respect (if there ever was any there to begin with)? Because I have not lived my life how you lived your life, or believed what you believed, there is no room for me in your consciousness? I can’t live on crumbs any longer. I am not satisfied to get what you give me and call it manna from heaven. I can’t be. The world is beautiful, and huge, and ugly, and scary, and beautiful again, and I want to taste it all before I die. And I will die, just as everything on this planet dies. What can I do in between now and then? I can love. I can live. I can accept myself exactly how I am and where I am right now. And then, if I want to change it, I can. But I cannot change without first seeing myself as I really am.
Why must you seek to rein me in, like I am some thunderous wild Appaloosa who just needs a tighter bit to champ at in her mouth and the spurs dug in a little deeper to her sides?
Do you think I do what I do for spite? To hurt you? Do you really think it’s about you?
That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
A junior high teacher wrote as a comment on a paper I had turned in, “Why settle for the Moon, when you can reach the stars?” I’ll tell you why: because the Moon is closer, and all the people I know are there, and it’s safe, and known, and most of all… it’s not as lonely as being in the stars is.
But there comes a time when you know you must leave your Moon home and head off to your rightful place among those points of light. The journey’s beginning is easier that second time, because the pull of the Moon is nowhere near as strong as the pull of the Earth.