The Butterfly Emerges

love

So much has happened in the last two weeks I don’t even know where to start, and I don’t really want to go into the details right now because they’re not important. What’s important is that I can feel a stronger woman emerging as each day passes.

I had a conflict with a new roommate who moved into my house, and it resulted in me finding a better place to live. Next weekend I’ll be moving into a place with a friend of mine, a woman about my age, who owns her own townhouse close to where I work. I feel like such a grown-up (lol)! I’ve been living in a shared house with five other people, all about 10 years younger than I, and recently it turned into what felt like a college dorm.

More importantly, something beautiful happened in this uncomfortable exchange I had with this new roommate. It flipped a switch in me. The little girl afraid to speak her mind or cause any disturbances or conflicts with anyone, that little girl disappeared, and in her place emerged a courageous woman unyielding in her stance. There was no backing down, no giving in. I said what I meant, and I meant what I said. I did not attack her character, I did not allude to other issues, and I did not use physical force. I was on the verge of tears I was so angry, but I did not cry—not that that would’ve been a bad thing. I simply explained my position, meant nothing malicious, didn’t understand her suspicion of my actions, and that I did not know what else to say to her.

I could just feel the butterfly emerging.

I’m not a confrontational person. For me to have confronted this young woman about the weird vibes was a big step for me. For me to express anger is really out of character. However, in one week I’ve done both of these things, twice. I was not mean, but I was honest, and I was clearly angry and upset. And no one died or got injured.

I like to think that I’m a nice person who makes every effort to make others feel comfortable. I like to think that I say what I mean and mean what I say. The only times I don’t is to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or because I’m afraid to piss the person off, and that’s got to stop because that’s dishonest. Because it turns out that happens a lot, and withholding information is the same as lying.

Because here’s the thing. It’s not my job to make others feel comfortable. How they feel is their choice. I’m just being me, and if they take that personally, that is not my problem. It’s one thing to be polite and show good manners, but it’s another to go out of my way to try to make someone else happy at my own expense. I can’t make anyone else happy any more than I can make them sad. How they interpret my actions is their choice.

At one point I questioned myself. Was I crazy? Had I done something wrong? Maybe my actions were hurtful and I simply had not realized it. Maybe there was something wrong with me.

But then I slept on it and talked to my friends about it, and I realized: no.

No, no, no.

I know who I am. I am a woman of integrity and compassion and sincerity. I had showed courtesy to this young woman. The allegations she’d made against me are not something anyone has ever told me before, so why would I, after nearly 41 years on this earth, question who I am due to one person’s observation? One person who, by the way, is not my therapist or a licensed psychologist of any kind, or anyone who has known me for any length of time.

One of the things a mentor once told me was that in order to gain self-esteem, you must take esteemable actions. At the time I didn’t know how that would help me gain self-esteem, because I felt like I was already doing that. For the most part I was—as best as I could be at the time—so I would add to that, take esteemable actions and own it. You know in your heart you’re a good person, that your intentions, words, and actions were honest, and that you had no ill intent towards another person. If you’re doing something that you must hide from someone else, that’s probably not an esteemable action.

Throughout this event, I received an email from my ex-boyfriend letting me know he loves me and misses me. Earlier that day I’d decided to forgive myself for my hurtful words to him. They weren’t intentionally hurtful, and I’m human. I’d also decided to pretend he’d forgiven me, because at the time I felt like it was the only way I was going to get through this break-up. And then I got his email, which sounded a lot like forgiveness to me, though he didn’t explicitly use those words. Regardless, I felt grateful.

I immediately emailed him back to say that I too love and miss him. I didn’t express it, but his email confused me. Did he want to get back together? Did he just want to end on a positive note? The latter seemed more true, and I have started to feel that this relationship is not ideal for me anyway. Everything I’ve gone through to try to get over him has been so painful that I don’t want to have to go through it again, and I feel if we were to get back together, it would only be temporary, because he cannot commit to me.

Here’s what I don’t understand about the lack of commitment. He is actively choosing a life of loneliness over being with someone who would be his partner and love and care for him into old age. If he truly loves me as much as he says, then why is it so hard to commit? He doesn’t want to be with anyone else; he’d rather be single than be with me. In his eyes, having to balance a relationship in addition to work and his kids is too stressful for him, even though his kids don’t live with him. In my mind his life would be easier because if we lived together I’d not only be his companion, but I’d share finances and domestic duties—and, let’s be real, I’d probably be doing most of the domestic duties. Wouldn’t that be less stressful than living in a basement apartment without his own space, without his own kitchen, without a companion and lover? If he lives long enough, there’s a very real possibility he’ll be too old and feeble to care for himself, and his kids would most likely put him in a nursing home, and he’ll end up exactly the way his father is, which is his biggest fear. The only difference is that his father has a girlfriend who visits him every day and makes sure he’s comfortable, while my ex-boyfriend will probably have his kids visit him on occasion.

Maybe all of this projection sounds unreasonable, but this is what I think about as I grow older and watch relatives progress into old age. It’s not for me to worry about, what his future holds, because I have my own life to live. The point is that I am baffled as to why this is his choice, unless he’s lying about his love for me, has met someone else, or believes he’ll meet someone else who’s a better fit for him.

The important thing is that I know I’m a good catch, and that there’s a man out there who wants to commit, who will love me for me, who will want me to speak my mind, and heart, and soul. It’s a shame to me that this particular man cannot see it, but I guess the reality is that he’s not good for me. All along I felt that I was perfect for him, but there was always a nagging suspicion he was not perfect for me. I ignored that little voice because I thought I was being too much of a perfectionist. And I believe this is a situation where God, the Universe, or whatever you want to call a higher power, has done for me what I could not do for myself. I do not have to spend my life in a stressful relationship with a man who has various mental and physical health issues and who doesn’t manage his money or life well. Everyone has problems and every relationship takes work, but this one is not mine to take on.

On to the next phase of my life I go, with gratitude and hope, and a new focus on me. My career path, my future. This is my life, my time here on planet Earth. How do I want to spend it?

timing

Peace and love,

TCH

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