I see you.
You’re at that place where you’re realizing that the people around you, those people who maybe love you more than anyone else in the world, those people, they are telling you those things about yourself and it isn’t really you.
Maybe it once was. Maybe it was a shadow of you. More likely it was their perception of who you were, their version of you after they took the pieces and assembled them so they fit inside them easily, in their own system. But maybe, to be fair, it’s a completely accurate image of you then. Then.
What they see when they look but don’t really look at you now? That’s not you. What they say when their mouths are moving up and down and back and forth like cows chewing cud, sometimes well-intentioned, sometimes not, that’s not really about you, either. It’s all about them and their needs. I can see how you got that confused. It’s so easy to do.
So, look at them. Really look and see how they’ve constructed their version of you just right on top of the real you. See how they feel safe in their faulty perceptions and old news and rod-straight unwillingness or unable-ness to change. See how they keep pulling up old days, old behaviors, old habits, old words, old worlds and trying to make them fit on you now, to stretch them across your bones even when they are too tight, too small, the wrong shade of green.
Look at their hooded eyes and incapability and really feel their frustration with them. You don’t seem quite the same. Are you? Of course you are. Because they need you to be. They need you to be exactly who they think you are so their lives can keep rotating around the sun without interruption and at least one thing in their lives can ring true. Otherwise, maybe their lives don’t make sense anymore. Otherwise, maybe they would have to change.
Once you see them, really see them, with their faulty perceptions and narrow glasses looking at you wrongly, and you’re feeling your full sense of righteous indignation that is duly yours, send them love and disconnect. Then drop the indignation, righteous or no, because it heals nothing.
“I love you. Disconnect.” Remove that cord that creeps like a vine, or maybe a root, from them to your gut and continues to suck your energy and very life-force from the marrow of your bones. Pull it out and throw it down or even hand it back with a simple, “No thank you,” if you want to be polite. But take it out of you where it doesn’t belong anymore, if it ever did, and heal that spot with love to yourself, from yourself, because this is just the beginning.
They will be sad. They will be angry. They will try with all their might to make sure you understand just how much you are still the same, the same, the same as you ever were. They will do this when they don’t even know why they are doing it. They will do it when they try not to. They will do it, these people who love you the most in all the world, because you’ve gone and done something extraordinarily difficult and upset the universe and all they know and all they understand and now they are afraid. And that’s alright. That is theirs to deal with and work on and it is not you. Still, that is not you.
Look at them, really see them, and send them compassion for their pain and love for their hurt and then refuse to cross over healthy boundaries to make them feel better during their confusing pain because it will hurt you and they will see you as broken and the same as you ever were. It will make them feel better when you break down and soothe them by acting like the old you and falling into old habits. It will make them feel better because all will be right in their universe again, see? You are just the same. And then they can comfort you. Yes, there, there. It’s ok. (I knew you would never change.)
And you’ll be holding that drink or smoking that cigarette or exhausted from an angry fight or crying in the corner or sporting a new bruise or out with someone unsafe or eating an entire bag of chips or cutting your arm or thinking about using or dropping out of school or shoplifting something you never needed even when you needed things because doing that thing, that very act, puts you back in the place of broken where it fits what they think they see.
And in that moment when they see you and it feels right to them and wrong to you, but right to you, too, because that gnawing ache of Different is soothed, you’ll remember I told you this might happen and that it’s ok. It’s a process. And next time when the vortex comes to suck you up, you’ll maybe make a different choice. Maybe not that time, but maybe the next time after that, because you will start to see you, too, like I see you.
And when that happens, if that happens, know I love you. This is hard, this thing you’re doing. You’re Becoming even when those around you, who you count on for support, who you gave your heart to with nothing held back, wish you would stop.
Remember they are afraid, but you be fearless. Let them move forward on their own journey at their own pace and Embrace your Self with all your might. Let your heart sing your new song, which is really your old song that got covered with layer after layer of hurt years ago. But it sounds new because it is so happy and you are so happy in there. I’ll tell you now, that’s called joy, so you know its name in case you forgot. Sing louder when you are lonely. I am smart. I am beautiful. I am free. I am joy. I am enough.
Keep track of that broken record that plays in the back of your mind, the one that replays all the old hits like, “People never really change,” and “Who do you think you are, anyway?” and everyone’s favorite, “You tried your best, just leave well enough alone,” and when you hear those old familiar phrases, take a step back and say, Oh, hello. I see you. You are not me.
It’s no longer about patience or explaining for hours with your jaw until it’s aching and your teeth want to fall out. It’s no longer about long-suffering. It’s no longer about keeping the peace. Now it’s about owning your power and seeing, then projecting who you really are. The more you sing your heart song, the more you pull your strength from the floor and gather it around you like a cloak, the more completely you reveal your true nature underneath all their misconceptions, the more you refuse to see yourself as broken, then you are whole and they will eventually have no choice but to see you that way as well, if they truly love you. You will reflect your song so loud and strong and true that they cannot help but hear it and see it.
And if they don’t truly love you, if their perceptions of you simply cannot budge, if they can’t hear your song, I’m sorry for them, but only for a short time. Because we don’t have time for that or for them. You and I? We’re too busy Becoming.