There are things in our life that are true. And there are things in our life that are true with caveats. There are things in our life that we can’t escape from and there are things in our life that we run to until we collapse in a heap of heaving breaths. Like most things in life truth is neither easy nor all that straight forward. While we may believe that we know and understand truths, many of them are transient and only last until the next truth comes along. While we actively avoid teaching our children that truth can be fluid and often troubling, it is a lesson that we must all learn.
For most of us, truth is something our minds have decided to put in a category that can’t be questioned. Truth becomes something we rely on and hold to when the reality of our perception changes. Truth is what our therapists are looking for, what our mentors hope that we pass along, what scientists spend hours determining. Truth is supposed to be that one thing that can not change. Truth is supposed to be that one thing that makes sense in a world that we all know rarely makes sense. Truth in our science, in our math, in our music, should be clear and bright; and often it is nothing but. But the truth that resides in our soul and in our subconscious isn’t easy; that pesky little perception changes it to suit our needs. And truth that changes is much more difficult to understand.
I recently have started making changes in my life. Mostly because the truths that I was facing, either when I was looking at myself or when I was looking at others, were more often then not dark and a morass of complications that were causing me to live in the shallow waters of the community pool. I, for the first time, realized that in my years I have spent so much time worrying and taking care of others that I was finally losing the pieces of myself I needed to survive. I was more concerned with doing what I thought, and often what I was taught, was right then doing the things that actually were right for me. I have spent my whole life trying desperately to be the perfect person each individual I met needed. I have had as many personalities and deep changes to become someone need that I have forgotten what it is that I need.
I am a “pleaser”. I am the girl at the party who is cleaning up for the host because I am scared of the people around me; they make me enormously uncomfortable. I am the girl at the dinner table trying to keep the conversation going even if that means I have to exaggerate the stories or tell fibs to keep everyone happy. I am the girl whose home is always welcome to those who need to vent; and I am the girl who sits on the sidelines so the world can have its own moment on the podium receiving their gold medal. I have never needed attention unless it is in the service of another and I have never needed others as much as those around me believe that I do. I have spent my adult life not being true to who I am but being true to the people who orbit around me.
It is a hard truth to learn about oneself; that I can’t find my own self in the sea of dependents and needy relations that I often feel I have to surround myself with. I am not a person who easily says no; even when I will walk away, lay my head on my pillow, and cry softly so no one can hear. I am a person that has to be the better person to the determent of my husband and often my children. I am a person who tries to be selfish and then feels such shame that the depression I suffer takes over in a bid to let me lay down. And that probably is the biggest truth; my depression is one of the greatest things I can hold up and finally find peace within. It is dark there and few people can see me. It is silent there even when the music is playing for the rest of the world. The depression gives me a place to rest, to sleep, and gives me a reason to be selfish.
With learning about truth one has to accept that change comes with it. When you learn that you are missing the gene to find an acceptable way to be selfish, you learn that what you are isn’t what you need to be. When you learn that you allow others to take advantage of you, you learn that you are not what any doctor would call healthy. When you learn that you are a person who needs depression in order to survive, you learn that the truth of who you are isn’t as strong as you once thought you could be. When you learn that you aren’t what you see in the mirror, when you aren’t what your husband thinks you are, you learn the devastating truth: you are what others have made you.
The truth is a part of me is not ready to truly explore the hidden depths of who I have become. The truth is a part of me is not ready to scream in frustration to all those who have hurt me. The truth is a part of me may never be able to forgive the world for who I have become but at the same time never be able to change the person I don’t want to be.
I like truths. I like knowing solid bits of information that can not ultimately run away from me. I like believing the world is exactly what my stories paint it to be. I like believing that being the kind, gracious and oftentimes punching bag of the world is the thing I am supposed to be. I am even okay with the truth that I will never be the person I once dreamed I could be; it just seems easier that way. But for whatever reason, the image in the bathroom mirror is starting to suspect a different truth. And where that will take me, how that will change my world, is unfortunately the responsibility of the one person who doesn’t question truth: me.