Now, here’s a novel idea: how about not just quitting this ridiculous struggle to bend myself into whatever shape I think others will like me in, but actually be a little more discerning as to whether other people’s shapes actually suit ME?
That got lost there for a while, I think. And with the recent witch hunt shenanigans that I refused to have any part in, it dawned on me that there are things I don’t bloody need! I took a little look around me, or rather, around the selection of people I call friends. Old ones and new. I took my time to think of each person in my life and as I focused on them, I paid attention to what happened inside me. Who gave me that feeling of warmth and love, and who left me with that slightly uncomfortable feeling I sometimes think of as dread? And it was pretty interesting. Enlightening, even.
Take for example Cherokee, my best friend since around 1989 when she first strutted into my world wearing harem pants and batman shoes. There it was immediately, the warm, nectary, golden feeling. I trust her, I love her, I admire her and I’d go through hell and high water for her. Take a newer friend, Pocahontas, who I can’t even say I know all that well yet. Yup, a good feeling right there in my core. She feels real to me and there is no ick there whatsoever. Berocca (I call her that because she’s like a vitamin boost – always sensible and balanced), same thing, a fairly new friend but someone who has grown to be important and whom I value very much. Golden. Batgirl (because she’s a superhero) too. And so I went on. For the majority, there was gold and warmth. But for a handful, there was the ick.
The difference was this: the golden crew all had in common that I trust them to speak their mind and I trust their honesty. The ick lot have in common that they will bend into shapes they think will please me. Much like I’ve operated too for such a long time. I don’t fucking like that! Isn’t that the greatest irony EVER?? I don’t like it when people suck up to me, because as much as we try, something always seeps through. The incongruence is impossible to miss, even though it only makes itself known as a weird gut feeling that is too vague to put into words. Gendlin calls it a “felt sense” and Doyle calls it “knowing”. It exists in the body and it’s always right. I really believe that.
What in God’s name is happening to me? Have I really, within the space of just a couple of weeks, rid myself of feeling scared of what other people may think of me AND decided to be a little picky with upon whom I place the precious crown of my friendship? Did I just grow a goddamn backbone?
It’d seem so.
The weirdest thing of all is that once I felt that inner shift just over a week ago, when something heavy just fell away from my shoulders, it required no effort whatsoever to keep my integrity intact. Someone came to me and it felt insincere. I put my boundary down for them, nice and clear but most of all with kindness. There was no need to bark or bite. I simply stated where I stood without having to be aggressive – in fact, I did it gently and lovingly – and it caused no friction or awkwardness whatsoever. And I realised that this is what the golden ones do. And that’s why I trust them. I always feel clear and safe. They don’t act incongruously. They act with integrity and they uphold their truth. So simple, right? And yet it’s only now that I somehow really feel I can do so too.
The ick lot leave me feeling unsettled. Often very subtly – I can’t quite put my finger on why, but something just doesn’t feel right. I just sense something’s off.
I’ve never sucked up to anyone deliberately. Hell, so long as people don’t treat me downright poorly, I feel so grateful and relieved I turn into a contortionist to please them. Even when it isn’t right for me. Even when it means I give more than I have. Hallelujah, what a relief it is to realise all this.
And so now I’ve installed a drawbridge for my castle and I will only lower it for the true souls. No one else will be granted entry. And I shall not request entry to castles I don’t actually want to enter, unlike before when I have gone there because I was invited and didn’t have the vagina to say thanks, but no thanks.
No doubt there is a lot more work ahead, but things have really fallen into place lately.
Best thing of all?
Today I’m not going to drink.