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Becoming Real

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I’ve been learning a lot about myself lately. Mostly how I have a tendency to see things as either black or white and how that idea directly conflicts with the fact that a lot of life is lived in the grey.

I have trouble with the grey. I don’t like to make a mess – a mess of things, a mess of myself. The grey is very, very messy, as it turns out, but it’s also where all the best things are. And I didn’t know that until now.

Also, I didn’t know that I still had some pretty wide open wounds inside. I honestly thought that I was completely healed and whole. I even prided myself on my ability to work through all my issues and hurts on my own and come out the other side almost new. But it turns out I’ve been lying to myself, and possibly anyone who knows me.

Sure, most of me has recovered. There are some parts that look pretty normal, just as there are parts with some pretty awesome scars. But there’s an entire section right in the middle that is still torn and bleeding, raw and reactive, and highly protected. I had no previous knowledge of this.

Maturity has always been something I prided myself on. I’ve lived most of my life being called “mature for my age,” so I just came to believe it and accepted it as a part of me. Recently, however, I’ve learned that I’m nowhere near as mature as I thought I was and, while I wouldn’t exactly call myself immature nor have I ever stopped learning and growing, I’ve found myself knocked down a few pegs with quite a few lessons to learn.

I suddenly know a lot more about my flaws. I now know that if you leave me with any bit of uncertainty it’s the same as locking me in a closet with all of my demons – demons I didn’t even know existed until just today. Leaving me in the dark is perhaps the cruelest thing that can be done to me, but no one would know because I would never tell them, had I ever known before today.

This might seem like nothing but a bunch of negative self talk, but in reality I’m thankful for learning all these things about myself and therefore even thankful for the situations that caused me to learn it. It seems as though I’ve finally graduated into becoming a real live messy person, and it reminds me of my mother’s favorite passage from The Velveteen Rabbit.

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Years before she passed she told me that she wanted that read at her funeral, and I obliged. I don’t really know what I thought of it at the time, what message I was getting? Perhaps one just of parenthood or just of love…but today as I am reminded of this passage and “becoming real”, the true message has outshone whatever I had previously thought the message to be.  I thought I knew, before. But now I know.

And I’m real.

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