“Come as you are, as you were,
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy.
Take your time, hurry up
The choice is yours, don’t be late.”
Ahh…the lyrics that shapped my early teenaged years. Good ole Nirvana. I can distinctly remember 13 year old me talking about how I could relate to the lyrics because I had grown so much over the years (yes, that was written while rolling my eyes). Boy do I wish I could go back and smack 13 year old me up side the head.
Certain things have been happening in my life that have really made me look at who I am and who’ve I’ve become. I spout off about the stories of who I used to be and the things I used to do but I rarely talk about who I am and I’ve come up with a theory on why. Basically, the person I used to be is familiar and I know what to expect when I behave in those ways but this new, more honest version of me is scary as hell.
The person I used to be smoked weed, got drunk, screwed around, lied, was manipulative, usually had an alterior motive but that is who I used to be. I didn’t really give a shit about anyone but myself. If I spoke up about something, it’s because I stood to gain soemthing. If I wanted to get high, get drunk, and/or have sex I’d just call up whoever would be willing and go to ‘er, the consequences never really mattered.
That’s all changed. I like to pin point my own extra marital affair as the piviotal point of change but I think it’s been happening for a long time before that, maybe I just started paying attention after that last encounter. Recently, I was faced with a decision to lie or tell the truth. Lying would have been so much easier, in the short term anyway. I could have preserved one relationship and stalled the strain on another but in the moment when I had the choice, I chose to tell the truth. I’ve asked myself why so many times in the past while because that’s not what I’d normally do. I’m glad I’ve had the wherewithall to question the why because I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my answers.
First, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to realize and celebrate the fact that my values and moral compass have shifted. I no longer identify with being a “cheater” or “cheap” or “easy” or “a homewrecker”. That’s just not who I am anymore. I’ve made peace with that part of me and it feels fantastic. I find myself getting defensive when someone says “once a cheater, always a cheater” because that’s not true, I am no longer a cheater nor will I ever be again.
I also don’t identify with being a liar. I am not completely innocent when it comes to lying and I can’t say I won’t tell a lie in the future but what I can tell you is that it doesn’t feel good when I do it. I feel the weight of guilt, frustration, worry and general distaste. In that moment of being able to chose, and knowing what the consequences of my choice were, I finally chose what was best for me. For my psyche. I may never repair those relationships and that’s a consequence of the situation but at least I know that I was honest and I’m not hiding anything. I’m not keeping secrets or protecting lies. I am free of that and that freedom is delicious.
Finally, I’ve been taking a good long look at why I’m drinking and why I have started smoking pot again *gasp* and really, the question there is why am I chasing that dragon? Why am I feeling the need to live a life that’s not a sober one and again, I think it’s to get away from facing up to what I already know. Things are different now. Pot is not my deal and when I think about hiding it from my kids and being paranoid that I’m going to get “caught”, it is clear to me that my conscience already knows what my brain has been slow in realizing. It’s just not for me. Drinking makes me sick and I do and say stupid things when I’m drunk. It’s also not for me. I have to be ready to let that go. I have to learn to be comfortable and confident in my sober skin and that’s what I’m going to learn to do. I want a healthy life and not one that is foggy and half-remembered.
Finally, I have been examining the relationships I have in my life and I’ve started to question why I’ve prioritized some unhealhty, one-sided relationships over ones that I felt comfortable in. I have distanced myself from so many of my friends over the last few years and I am ashamed of that. I have a lot of fence mending to do and hopefully those fences are strong enough to be mended. I have been chasing people who couldn’t give a damn if I was in their lives or not, bending over backward, trying to be everything to everyone and I have forgotten that to a handful of people I am enough for them without even having to try.
I am so blessed to have found the person that I love completely. I am so blessed to have healthy, interested, good people as children. I am blessed to have fences that need mending. I am blessed that I realized it before it was too late.