November 18 and learning to be me

Sorry, yesterday was kind of a downer. But if I continued on…you’d still be sitting there reading that post today instead of this one.

Remember yesterday when I said From my quiet time, bible study, random people, and even social media, to what is happening in my actual life, I’m being shaken. Sifted. Set aside? All morning today (I’m writing this on Saturday to be posted on Sunday) I kept stumbling upon more confirmation, more packing into place my thoughts, more insight into what is happening. I realized this week that what I’m really fighting is me. The me that is pulling herself out of the pit of who she was told she was or was supposed to be. The pit of accepting without question what she was told to do. The me that hasn’t spoken up because she didn’t want to “cause a stink,” or possibly lose a friend, or even a job. The me that was labeled an introvert but who is actually an extrovert.  Over the years, a very small few people, I can count them on one hand, saw me. And tried to convince me to allow myself to be me. I am so thankful they planted those seeds, even if it has taken 57 years for me to grow.

Because honestly, I have always kept me reined in and hidden and protected. Now and then the inside me would be allowed out, but mostly, I believed that I was just too much for people and they couldn’t handle the real me. I still say that to my husband of almost 36 years. He has tried to coax the real me out for decades always ending with the love stamp, “you can’t say or do anything or reveal to me anything from your past that would ever make me stop loving you.” And while that is a grandiose blanket statement that I often take as a challenge, I know what he means: he does see the real me. And he can handle all of it. You would think that would be enough for me.

I’ve heard, more times than I can remember, “come on, Susan, it’s not that bad” when I’m trying to express some feelings to friends. When I rarely allow myself to actually speak some feelings I am having, trust me…it’s that bad. The people who don’t even ask if anything is up, because, ya know, I can be a bit of a drama queen. Even now, as I’m typing this I’m thinking, just don’t even share this. They are probably nodding their heads that yes, you really are too much, you do make a big deal out of nothing, and they are exiting out of this post as quickly as they can. Which is cool. Cuz…

Yes, I am a bit of a drama queen (or just, The Queen, as Brett started calling me when he was six years old). Yes, I can make mountains out of molehills in a nanosecond. And yes, I can be a bit too much for some folks. But that is who I am. I tend to do everything big. I hurt big. I laugh big. I yell big. I love big. I criticize big. I apologize big. I encourage big. I push away big and hard. I hug and don’t let go big.

A few months ago, a friend of just a year or so said to me, “you are the first person to allow me to be me.” Which absolutely baffled me. Because I accept you for who you are and don’t try to shut you down? Because I freely tease you when you are being ridiculous and at the same time tell you how loved you are? Because I welcome you opening up your heart and your hurt and your joys and your love? That’s me doing what God has called all of us to do: love.

So this is me being me.

Allow yourself to be you. Let the past shit go. Yeah, it’s hard. Like, super hard. But when you let all that go, the real you is free. A you that doesn’t always (but still sometimes) get irritated by people. A you that lets people in. And do that thing we hear all the time about treating others the way you want to be treated, no matter how they are treating you but don’t be a doormat (I seem to be saying that a lot, lately.) Encourage more. I think I really grew up listening more to criticism than anything else and it not only stuck with me, it made me critical of others. Save that for your husband; that’s his job. I’m kidding…sort of. But really, be the spouse, or mom, or sister, or friend that can take it as well as dish it out. I mean that in a good way, not a nasty supercritical way. And love. Love like it’s your last day or their last day. Russell always teases me about loving our children’s significant others too much too quickly or, in my case, too big. He says that because he doesn’t want me to be hurt. I tell him I would rather love big and get hurt big than to never have loved at all and what if that young man becomes our son-in-law? Which he did. And what if that gorgeous brunette becomes our daughter-in-law? Which she did. Win. Win. Win. Love huge.

What does all of this have to do with 2019 and change? Stick around and find out in the coming days and months. But I’m doing me from here on out. You can handle it.

See ya tomorrow.

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