So, I have been throwing this around in my head for the past few days. I have been trying to figure out how to write this blog, what to say and how to use my words to make a difference to someone out there. I really try hard to write about things I think may "speak" to someone. I really try and put myself out there in an effort to have someone be able to say "ok, I am not alone...she feels that way too" or "ok, I am not alone, she has thought about that too." I have always felt a real calling to help. I have always felt like sharing experiences, sharing wisdom, sharing challenges is the best way to help. I say it again and again, but life is hard. Whether it is helping one person, or helping 1,000, I have to believe that it is always important to try. I also have to be careful because I am so drained when I help. I take on the challenges and feelings of others. So, blogging has allowed me to try and help while being more removed and passive in the process--in an effort to keep my energy.
So, WTF happened, right?
I recently chopped my hair, I know what a superficial start to a blog. Trust me, there is a point here beyond hair and appearance.
So, I recently chopped my hair. I have had short hair for probably 1/4 (at least) of my life. I started growing it out a few years ago, as I was enjoying the locks! I was also growing it out for the wedding, in an effort to see how long it could really get and to hopefully donate it. Initially I was going to chop it right after we got back from our honeymoon, but then the Sox were on a roll. I decided I would chop it once the season was over, lucky for me, that meant a World Series Win for us and a new hair cut for me!
After I chopped it this past Monday evening, I posted a picture on Facebook. Because I guess I have become that person that posts pictures of personal changes on Facebook. Call it yesterday's report card on the fridge? Sometimes I hate that I am this person, but this is all about acceptance here and loving oneself, so just going with the flow, accepting it and moving on. So, I posted a picture. I am not going to lie and say that compliments aren't appreciated. It is always a bit scary to make a major change to your appearance, so you never know what type of thoughts people will have about the change. The hope is always that any honesty's that would be "hurtful" or could be taken out of context wouldn't be posted, but you never know. There are some people out there who enjoy putting others down, will never understand it, but they do.
So, the comments come rolling in and the likes are a coming and I am feeling good. I thought it looked good, but for some sad reason the Facebook validation helps, as embarrassing as it is to admit. I have to acknowledge that Facebook is a group I go to for comfort these days. Struggling with something and a post of mine may encourage emails, texts and posts of hugs and love and "you can do its." Have a question and someone out there may have an answer, and lose your cat suddenly and you may find a support system you would never have so easily, knowing folks are living far and wide.
One comment, however, caught my eye. I actually had to have Greg read it because I wasn't sure what to make of it and how to take it. Emotional Patty would have normally responded in a martyr type way and putting myself down like Eeyore, oh poor me. I took a good few minutes to really think about what to think and whether or not I was going to respond. Clearly the comment was meant in a nice way, but as someone who never use to feel good about themselves, the poor mes came a knocking.
I eventually responded with what I felt to be a very appropriate reply. I wasn't putting myself down, wasn't putting them down as I knew their intentions were in the right place. I basically turned it into a joke.
It was the first time in a long time that rational Patty was able to come through and I was proud. I am really a sensitive and emotional person. I feel how others are feeling, sometimes before they even realize it. I get on the subway and it is like a wall of other people's struggles and emotions. I pick up on animals, humans and pretty much anything and everything that puts out energy and vibes. It can be really hard not to have it be draining. To not take on the sadness, anxiety and stress of those I am surrounded by. It is much easier for me to react emotionally because it requires no thought. For me, my automatic reaction is emotion. My logical side takes time, thought and pause.
Over the past few months I have had two readings. Most recently I had my chart done. A lot of what I "knew" was confirmed. My being an empath, my being super sensitive to others thoughts and energies, my being very in tuned, intuitive, whatever you want to call it. What I did learn is part of my purpose here and what will help me this go-round. I am working on really closing loose ends, helping others, making a difference and learning to be more logical. The ability to step outside of myself, get over the poor mes, try and continue to focus on the big picture and try hard to push the emotional down to do what I need to do-- as necessary. All a struggle for me. I need to find ways to be creative and find ways and time to be spiritual and reflective--all which blogging about this is trying to work towards.
The comment, however, one of those classic "that wasn't what you were like in high school" type comments really brought up a lot of feelings. Not just about my own experiences, but about everyone who has ever gone through high school and heck even middle school. None of these are easy. Everyone has their own unique experiences. While I did struggle, I was mostly my own worst enemy. I think I felt worse about myself than anyone else could have, so while I was trying to protect myself from others, I wasn't so good at protecting me from me.
I felt like saying "seriously, wtf happened to me since high school you didn't even know me in high school. Am I supposed to feel good about this comment. What do you even mean? Did I have three humps and boils in high school. What happened to me? Was I so awful to look at that my new haircut has brought back memories of some person that clearly this new picture could not be? What happened to me, well, I left high school, left Uxbridge, I went to college, got an awesome cat, moved to New York, went to grad school, got married and grew up. How about you? Thanks for asking."
Again, I know it wasn't meant in this way, I know it was meant as a compliment, but I was really struggling with why it was important to bring up "what I was like in high school." Like that would have any bearing on what I was like now or what I "turned into." It was clearly also all about what I looked like, which made me struggle even more.
I always used this as a defense mechanism. I always figured if I felt badly about myself and always put myself down first, that it wouldn't give others the power over me to make me feel bad, or to tell me something I didn't already think or already know. Control freak, much?
I think what makes me the saddest is that I really thought that high school and even middle school were the end all and be all of my life. I really thought they had some bearing on my life and how I would turn out. Now, clearly I am not trying to take away from my family, friends and my education, as clearly all of that mattered and had a lasting effect on me. What I am referring to is all the other stuff, that stuff that really doesn't matter and looking back, didn't matter. Who liked who, who dated who, who was prom queen, who had acne, who was overweight, who had no boobs, who had big boobs, who was "popular" who was a "jock." In the end, this mattered in the moment. In those moments at Whitin and Uxbridge High. But, after those moments, there were so many other moments who made us all who we are. Not to say we haven't all been negatively affected by teasing, as I have no doubt many of us carry that with us still. I am just saying, it shouldn't have mattered.
Again, I am in no way saying that middle school and high school didn't have any lasting and memorable and wonderful influences and effects on me. What I am saying, is that there was so much stuff that at the end of the day had no relevance on my life today, where I am in this moment and in what direction I went in. As I said in my comment "high school does not equal destiny, go figure."
I wish there was a way to help kids going through hard times really understand and know this. I know when you are having a hard time, this is always the stuff adults say to teens, but it really is true. If you can find a way to put yourself in a bubble and not let anyone crush your will and your spirit. If you can find a way to charge on and not listen to those people putting you down and most importantly, if you can find a way to be your own biggest cheerleader than I really promise you will come out of all of this on the other side. I know the "it will get better" campaign has really been tied to LGBTQ youth, however, I feel like it can be embraced by all youth, anyone being bullied or having a hard time for any reason.
It will get better. Girls are mean and boys are crude. But it will get better. You have a lisp, or you have acne, but it will get better. No one asked you to the dance, or you cried in class, I promise you, it will get better. You get pushed and shoved you get called names, I promise you it will get better. It makes me so sad to know that bullying extends beyond the school walls these days. With social media it is like there is no safe place to go. When I was having a hard day, I would go home and cry in my room. Today, if I was a kid, I may go up to my room to try and feel safe and maybe I am being made fun of or tormented on my Facebook wall, or getting harassing texts and e-mails. Maybe they are spreading lies about me on Twitter. I really am not sure what has become of kids and where the "meanness" comes from.
I know people always say "well I was bullied when I was younger, the kids today just need to get a thicker skin." I don't know that I agree with it. I mean at the time when I was bullied it felt awful, but something about it feels different today. It just feels more mean. I don't know.
Regardless, I would just like to say to everyone out there that once again high school does not = your destiny. Hang in there. Find a close friend, or an adult you can talk to. If no one else will be your friend, I will be your friend. Find one person you can talk to, hold on tight and ride it out. Once you leave high school things like this aren't as prevalent. That isn't to say you won't have mean girl co-workers, or that you won't find people in college that are still immature and picking on folks. I would just ask you to try with all your might to hold onto that spirit of yours and not let the poor me's or Eeyore takes over. I know it is hard, because that is what I did, but in the end it took me a REALLY long time to stop having my automatic pilot on.
When you find these ways to deal with difficult situations and they become your automatic pilot, you continue hurting and putting yourself down again and again and again. It is damaging to your being and to your spirit. You should be your biggest cheerleader and your own best friend. Give yourself a great big hug if you haven't lately. Life is hard. Life continues to be hard, you need to be in your own corner and continue finding ways to love yourself, love your life, focus on the good and charge on. It can be so much easier to go on autopilot, and find the poor me's, but in the end, you matter more!
Let's all promise to share what we learn, to share what we have come to know and to be willing to put ourselves and our experiences out there to help the next person.
Life is hard and high school does not = destiny!
and that's all she wrote,