Finding myself and understanding myself has been quite the journey. Having been sheltered, I took a pass on decision making and doing things for my own. While I was very independent, I was also very lost. I never really took time to get to know myself, who I was, what I really wanted, and where I was headed. Leaving home and going to college is an experience of self discovery, but I opted to discover more than myself. I searched for acceptance everywhere I could. I wanted people to like me without knowing me. Today I have the constant reminder that I need to stop being afraid. I need to just do what it is I want to do and say whatever I want to say. I'm reminded that fear is my worst enemy because it controls me and by controlling me I also allow it to define me. Hence, I deprive myself new friends, new experiences, and the true meaning of getting to know someone. This is my story, every day. Fear is my worst enemy, but I will befriend it. Because living in fear is no life at all and I want to live. I want to live.
Today is a new day. Fears are not left behind. It's not as simple as 1, 2, 3 and poof they're gone. It's more of, I know they're there but I will show them who's in control...
I've been locked up. Though it may not be so uncommon to be behind closed doors since nowadays we all live in front of a computer or some sort of technological device, which allows us to avoid the world around us. I've been living next to it. I can't even find a thrill on a device, other than the occasional puppy video that melts my heart or the journalist who choked on his own spit while reporting live on a national airing network. I've avoided interactions with another human. I've been in a store and opted for the self-check out, something I would have never done in the past. I distrust peoples moves and their insistence on getting to know me. Even the ones who've been constant in my life don't fully know me. An old friend of mine once told me I was always so tough, but yet I'm so fragile. I hated her for it. Today I see she was right. She knew me. I am fragile and always have been. I've been hurt because my kindness has been taken for weakness and I developed a defense mechanism. Something quite normal after being hurt over and over again. But when you're hurt over and over again, there's usually an explanation: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I've fooled myself too many times. I've wanted people to be something they're not.
I've been called judgmental by someone close to me over and over again. At first, I'd get angry. The word judgmental just sounds judgmental. It's hypocritical to call someone judgmental when by simply using the word you engage yourself in judgment. It's not necessarily true, but that was my former thought. I've studied the word itself and being judgmental is having an opinion, critical opinion, but an opinion of someone, something. If I don't know someone and I immediately don't like them, it's not because I know them. It's because I've formed an opinion of my own and arrived to a conclusion. It's only by judgement that I've arrived to that conclusion. A few manerisms or body language will not determine who you really are, but it is enough for someone to have an opinion, to judge. The person who constantly reminds me of my judgmental characteristics also points out my suppressive ways, especially in a crowd. I tend to keep to myself, to hide, to avoid any social exchange. And while sometimes I simply have a difficult time pretending to give a shit, I don't want to deprive myself from the possibility of making new friends or finding people who I wouldn't mind being around often. So yes, I am judgmental but I choose to be no longer. I choose to open up and at least give someone a chance. I've been fooled before, but I can't allow that to define the way I spend my days. I will give myself the opportunity to meet new people, to ask what I want to ask and answer what I want to answer. I will choose to be myself in public as I am behind closed doors. I will be vulnerable. I can be fooled, but only once.
Unlocking the door is the first step. The second one is stepping out into the world. The third and final step is to do what it is I would do if fear were not an obstacle.
If you or someone you know is in a similar situation and would like some questions answered or perhaps would like to share your story, email IC.
Female Culture Storytelling