Be Yourself

Have you ever tried to fit in with a certain group because you didn’t want to feel alone or uncool? What changes did you make within yourself to make you think that you would be accepted better than if you were just yourself? I’ve done this in the past. I’m not proud of it. The problem with trying to fit in with others without being yourself is that everything becomes a lie that you have to contend with. When you present that false image of yourself, you lose a part of your identity. It’s okay to grow and explore. But if you enter relationships with false pretenses, you are bound for a life of heartache and disaster.

I’m going to tell you all a story that happened to me. I’ve mentioned that I was married previously. What I’ve never told you all is that during that relationship, there were a lot of lies told by both of us that set a recipe for destruction. When we were dating, he made me feel as if he was committed to me and only me. I didn’t learn until much later that he was a gigolo in disguise. One day he came to the school I was attending when we had gotten engaged. He wanted to surprise me before class. He and his then best friend showed up, and he put a key in my hand. At the time he found it in the parking lot but he had no inkling where the key had come from or even who it belonged to. When he caught up to me, he led me to believe that this would be the key to our new home. After he got my hopes up, he crushed me by saying “Psych”. I should have known at that moment not to marry him. We both tried to impress each other with various things but the truth was instead of being ourselves, we entered into a union under the wrong pretenses. Not long after that incident, he came to see me at my job. He had led me to believe that he had set aside money for us to purchase a home with. That night, he explained that he put the money in a trust fund for his niece and I was never to bring it up again. He couldn’t bring himself to tell me that he never had the money in the first place. Instead, I didn’t find out the truth until after the divorce. I lied to him about different things too. I lied about where I was at times. I wasn’t fooling around but I felt suffocated. I had catered to him on just about every level and I lost a sense of who I was.

We had been married for a while and things really started going downhill. Everything his side of the family did was golden while mine never got respect. My family went out of their way to make him feel accepted and yet, it was never enough. I would make excuses to them but the reality was I started to comprehend that he didn’t respect me or my family enough. I was always raised to believe that when two people marry, that it’s no longer his family or your family. It’s supposed to be family. The irony of all of it was that there were days that I honestly began to feel like an abused spouse without physical abuse. The emotional scars that were inflicted by his actions are still with me to this day. Trust doesn’t come easily for me. Towards the end of our relationship, I fell for someone else. I didn’t act on those emotions because I was still married. Even after the divorce, I didn’t want to pursue a relationship because I was so broken inside and I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I was no longer married. Yet, I felt bound because I had been with my husband for so long that I didn’t know how to move forward. He found a replacement who looked like me and had a child with her. I found out on Facebook that he was expecting a child. He never had the courtesy to tell me until I confronted him. I had respected him enough to tell him when big things happened but he didn’t extend the same courtesy. I felt betrayed, hurt, and conflicted. My feelings for the other man were all over the place. I was drawn to him unlike anyone I had ever been drawn to but my emotions were messy. I had lost a child, a spouse, my father had been fighting for his life with a heart attack, I was in my mid thirties and I was so scared and confused that I honestly didn’t know what to do. It took me a very long time to process my emotions. I had to learn to accept my own part in the destruction of my marriage. I didn’t want to fight. I succumbed too often to what my husband wanted and in turn, I didn’t know how to stand on my own two feet. That was all on me.

Instead of combating the lies that had been told, I brushed them under the rug. I’ve never been one that likes confrontation. However, the older that I’ve gotten, I’ve learned that sometimes you have to confront things or else it will eat away at you. There’s been times at work that I’ve lied and I am not proud of that either. Over the last few years, I have learned that lies don’t get you anywhere except hurt and left out. It’s not a good feeling and if you think you are impressing anyone with lies, you are mistaken. I saw my ex husband in Walmart recently. He’d lost weight but he didn’t look happy. He looked like he was just going through the motions. I had no desire to speak to him. We’re two different people now. We no longer run in the same circles. We’ve both changed dramatically. I’ve also learned that he’s still telling people what he thinks they want to hear. I’ve had enough of that life. I choose to be honest with myself and others because at least I can look in the mirror and know I’m doing the right thing for me.

I’ve changed a lot over these last few years. I’ve hurt others by my actions and been hurt. I didn’t recognize my faults when I needed to acknowledge them and learned that we can’t change the past but we can protect the future by learning from what we did wrong. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes all the time but I know that I am capable of doing anything that I set my mind to. So what if I’m not a size 6? Who cares if I’m not the most beautiful thing on the planet? Looks are not everything. It’s what’s inside that we carry on the outer parts of our bodies. Believe it or not, how we feel about ourselves is reflected in the universe. So, with all that being said, I’m very proud of who I am becoming. I’m no longer the shell of a person I used to be. I don’t want to settle for anything or anyone in the future. I want to be challenged, appreciated, admired, respected, and understand that I’m worth a partner who is honest, kind, compassionate, and willing to grow and learn with me. If that person exists, great, then maybe the universe will send them my way but if they don’t, it’s okay. I don’t need a person to complete me. I can do that all by myself because for the first time in a very long time, I’m being myself. The bruised, unabridged, version of myself. I can be raw, unfiltered, menacing at times, jovial, controversial, and respectful. I can also be kind, loving, forgiving and trusting. What I can not allow myself to do, is to be a fake version of myself. I’ve often heard the phrase of putting my fake face on. Well, to a point that works. But somewhere along the way, we have to be real with ourselves and those around us. Even sugar gets hard when it’s left too long. Don’t lose yourself and who you are. Be proud of what makes you different and don’t let anyone take away the things that make you special.

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