Don’t misunderstand me. I lived and I’ve had some amazing experiences throughout my life, but amongst all of the every day living, I lost me because I was so busy being that someone else for everyone else but myself. I was the co-worker, the employee, the manager, the neighbour, the mother, the wife, the friend, the daughter, the cousin, the everything-else-you-want-to-add-to the-long-list-of-things-to-be. And I was so busy “being” something for everyone, that I forgot about me. I didn’t make time to be something for me. I had my hobbies and things I liked to do, but that always took a back seat to everything and everyone else. I worked in “my time”, around everyone and everything else, but more often than not, there was no time left in a day, to have “my time”. And during those few precious moments that I made that little bit of time for me, I would be reminded about how there were other things that I needed to do and how I therefore shouldn’t “waste my time”.
This wasn’t my inner voice talking and it wasn’t my guilt talking either. This was an actual external voice – my ex to be specific, telling me and nagging me about anything and everything, until I stopped what I was doing and attended to whatever he was nagging about. I couldn’t even watch a movie at home, without being interrupted or having to do something else at the same time. (Of course, this would result in me having to watch the same movie at least 10 times before I actually saw all of it and could piece together the story!) I don’t even recall having any rest time when I was sick and found myself in hospital. I can even remember being nagged to do “something else” when I was trying to breastfeed! It NEVER stopped unless I was multi-tasking. Only then did the nagging stop. Only then did he seem somewhat satisfied.
It became so constant that it became my life. Being forever busy. Doing a hundred different things at once, at rapid speed, so that I could move onto the next. Worrying about what was waiting for me to do whilst I was doing something else, and almost waiting for the yelling I’d get if I didn’t do something to the time frame that he asked of me. But I don’t blame him. I don’t blame my ex for his constant badgering. I don’t blame him for his high expectations or the amount of things that he’d get me to do. I don’t blame him for his reactions when things didn’t get done to the way he wanted it done. I don’t blame him for the yelling or his temper tantrums. Now, I’m not saying that he didn’t play a part in this and that he’s not responsible in any way – I’m just saying that it wasn’t all his fault. It’s mine. Why? Because I allowed it.
I allowed it by not saying no. I allowed it by staying silent. I allowed it by doing everything to “keep the peace”. And in the end, I allowed it out of fear of the consequences of what standing up for myself would mean. I allowed the possible reactions of others, to stop me from being true to myself.
I’ve learnt that whilst you can’t control the people around you or situations, you can control yourself. You can control how you respond. You can control how you react. You can control what you do or don’t do. You can control and manage your boundaries, and that’s important.
Allowing things to happen (or not happen) is setting expectations and standards. It’s telling others what they can and can’t do to you. It’s letting others know how to treat you. It’s also letting other know how much respect you have for yourself. It’s taken me quite a while and the journey has been pretty rough, but the lesson has been learned and I finally found my boundaries… and in finding my boundaries, I found me.
I’ve found what I do and don’t find acceptable. I’ve found where I draw the line, in all my relationships. I’ve found what makes me laugh and what makes me cry. I’ve found what I really like to do and how I enjoy spending my time. I’ve found what makes my heart soar and what makes my heart race. I’ve found what limits I enjoy pushing and what rules I’ll abide by. I’ve found who I really am now, after all these years, and I’ve found that I really don’t care what anyone else thinks, because in the end, it doesn’t matter. I’m happy with who I am and that’s what matters, because when all is said and done, it’s myself that I have to face in the dead of the night. It’s myself that I have to live with. It’s myself that I have to love, and I do.
Never again will I be in a relationship, any kind of relationship, where I’m not true to myself. Never again will I compromise who I am. Never again will I just submit. Never again will I lose myself. Never again will I not be me.