It’s Not Unusual to See Me Smile

So much weight has lifted off my shoulders that for the first time I can clearly remember, I feel happy all the time, and deliciously, ridiculously, wickedly funny. I have to believe I’m funny, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to put content on the web. I wouldn’t be able to invite you into my corner of the world if I didn’t believe I was good at it. The positive side has to outweigh the negative in order to care about sharing it. I rest on the faith that there are people who get me, and they vastly outnumber the people that don’t.

There’s been a lot of times in my life where I’ve mistaken the part for the whole and given up because I thought it had to be perfect or nothing at all. There wasn’t a lot of grey area. It’s been the source of my depression, and I didn’t know what it was until now. I didn’t have any grey area because my ability to trust myself had been shattered into a million pieces. Learning that process has been exhilarating, and continually shifts my mind from student to teacher. It unlocks part of my brain that I didn’t know was there, and it affects everything. I’m making much more solid decisions in every area of my life because I trust that I can handle others’ reactions- good or bad – without taking my love from them or being unable to receive it.

It’s the journey of man, isn’t it? Learning not to react like a cave man when your den is threatened? Feeling closer to animal instincts because when you don’t live that way, you are missing a voice? You’re missing the party that’s going on above you, and worst of all, you don’t even know it. Years later, you’ll never confess to being the person that you were back then, because you can hardly believe it yourself. You can hardly believe that someone like you has to remember something like that. It happens to all of us, “that” being the x variable you go to when asked about something embarrassing. You have to learn the point at which participating in other people’s lives is less important than not having to face triggers to begin with.

Once you release your hot-button issues into the ether and see that the criticism you give yourself is so much more cold than the reception coming from your peers, you stop believing that you are holding down chaos… and start believing you have something to contribute that is more beautiful than the pain you have to force yourself to share. You stop obsessing over how to hide that you’ve been hurt, and you notice when people remind you of your losses because loss triggers unwanted grief.

It’s exhausting. It takes a long time to find headphones for your mind. Something to speed up the reaction time to life because you’re not constantly looking at the play-by-play of coming up with a lie on the spot and judging whether it’s plausible or not by the reactions you get.

You have to be willing to feel caught and angry and guilty, and who honestly has the time? You do everything to avoid taking it for yourself, because you’ll remember it a lot longer than anyone wants to spend on the subject, including you. You have to decide when to archive, and be disciplined about it, because just like physically cleaning the garage, it needs more time the longer you go without a mental trip to Goodwill. If something is important enough to pop back up, you know where it is. Eventually, you get too tired to schlep through the garage and you’d rather carry a laundry bag than a U-haul.

You have to recognize the people in your life who know where your pain is, because if they get any satisfaction out of seeing your negative reactions, they’re not going to tell you about it. They’ll play the game until the king is dead. People bully us all the time, and the violence is returned when we react with claws extended to emotionally predict when we’re going to be hurt. Especially when shrinking back in fear is a learned behavior over many years, it takes more time to realize that the people you love are also the people that hurt you and when you’ve had enough. You have to see what it looks like when the people you’ve hurt realize they’ve hurt you, because time has a way of softening your relationship with your flaws when you can just rest in the fact that eventually, you’ll come to accept that you have the ability to stop trying to protect those people. Life is limiting the damage you cause to a manageable ratio, while at the same time ignoring others’ ability to hurt you without striking you dumb in fear. Life is learning to trust that the people who carry your heart carry it willingly, because when they don’t, your life is measured in your response time.

You have to see the beauty that comes from telling a story in your own perspective, something that says “I am not a mistake because I did y.” If there’s a meaning to life, it’s finding a balance to good and bad that has more greyscale than 8-bit. Learn to recognize when your behavior triggers others into negative behavior. Spend as much time thinking about how you cause reactions, because you’re taught to believe that the people you loved when you were small are still the people who get your attention now. The more you shut them out, the less they’ll care when you slip out of your network. Once you’re out, it takes a gargantuan effort to get back in.

Life is a struggle until you learn to handle the spotlight as the crowd grows. I’ll consider it handled now that I can average people’s opinions of me. How much something bothers me depends on how many people I’m willing to tell.

We are all in varying stages of acceptance of ourselves- depending on the lengths people will go to in order to hide from communication.

The people that mean the most to me are the people that would never criticize me without being open to criticism themselves, because it gets harder and harder to accept that there is such a thing as conditional love and you don’t get to decide who has it.

Author: theantileslie

I'm 42. I am single, probably because geeks don't get laid. But I do enjoy that my age is now the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

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