I thought you were the best person I knew even when your words stabbed my heart like the cold. It was the power that I had given you at a time when I didn’t know any better that you still wielded, even now when I did, simply because I don’t know how to take it back.
You’ve built me up with your kindness only to be torn down by your anger. All my life I have wished for some sort of clarity because I struggled to define the role you played in my life. Were you on my side or against it by default? Maybe I knew all along but I didn’t want to accept it because if I did you would lose me, and sometimes I was all you had. I tried to protect you from that hurt by silently taking in every word as you dissected my life, every little action and reaction, till you were convinced that you had me figured out but every shot that I didn’t take at you just made me look weaker in your eyes.
You broke my spirit just so you could have a better grip on my heart and tied up my emotions like hands behind my back so that you could tell me what I was and was not allowed to feel.
There isn’t a moment I can put a finger on to call it a turning point, but the dust is finally settling and our relationship is reaching its equilibrium. Maybe it’s because I am older now and I don’t need you the way I used to. A part of me still craves your approval but a growing part of me just doesn’t care anymore. I have tried to be the person you wanted me to be, at the cost of being myself. While accepting the fact that nothing I do will ever be good enough for you gives me the strength to walk away, realizing that I shouldn’t have had to do it in the first place makes me regret all the time I have already wasted.
I think I am finally learning that no matter what the circumstances are, I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity as an individual; and if not acceptance, at least an understanding of the fact that I am my own person, with my own thoughts and dreams and quirks and idiosyncrasies and a unique way of seeing the world. They may be completely different from the views that you hold to be the foundation of your life and your priorities and your successes, but they are not necessarily wrong.
I can’t tell you what choices to make but I can sure as hell tell you what your choices are.
The Earth is a changed planet. Technology evolved us, invaded our lives and then it enslaved us.
We developed the simple barter system into much more complex and nuanced systems of acquiring things. We traveled further and further away from our homes until we discovered other cultures that we didn’t understand, and we called them barbarians so that we could try to tame each other.
Then we discovered technology, a new kind of fire that we could not control. It began with a wheel, steam engine and a light bulb that gave way to sky scrapers and rocket ships, the internet. Science continues to fuel our ongoing conversation with the Universe and little by little she is revealing her most closely guarded secrets to us, but what have we learned so far?
We continue to find ways that cause a divide by a language or a name or a weaker sex or a darker skin color. These are issues that should feel out of place in this century. Genetics will tell you that race is not a real thing. It derives from our places of origin, not as a construct of the Universe. Anatomy will tell us that men and women are different but we are not different enough to qualify as a different species. So how is it that women are sometimes excluded from the definition of ‘humans’ to whom basic human rights are owed? We are all made the same, with skin and bones and blood and veins. How is it that the only thing that matters isn’t kindness and love and brotherhood?
We can hold a world of knowledge in the palm of our hand, a world that we can barely understand; only this time we are the barbarians that need to be tamed by it.
If I could imagine a different world, I would re-imagine this one, with inhabitants that have a greater capacity to understand one another in a way that reflects our own understanding of the Universe. A species that can travel to the moon and back can surely figure out how to treat each other with common decency.
Our minds continuously refuse to be contained by both its intelligence and stupidity.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Interplanet Janet.”
I didn’t get to choose my existence. You didn’t ask me if I wanted to be alive, if I wanted to experience life with all its moments of triumph and euphoria or shattering defeat. I didn’t get to select my personality or my characteristics like ingredients from a catalog or pick them out like they were series of labeled bottles displayed on a shelf. Nobody asked me if I wanted my mother’s eyes or my father’s temper.
Here I am, a brand new combination of features and quirks and likes and dislikes.
If I got to choose, I would have tried to make myself more likable to you. I might have picked a face that didn’t remind you of your ‘biggest mistake.’ I might have chosen to like the same things you like and want the same things you want. If I got to choose I would have recast every cell in my body to make you want me but this was not something I could have changed with change from within.
I know now, that what I am to you has nothing to do with me. My shortcomings are a reflection of your own insecurities. Your inability to trust or love with all your heart makes me look naive, your inability to allow yourself to dream once in a while makes my choices seem irrational and idiotic. They have swirled inside you like a poisonous dark cloud that spread long before my existence.
You should have given me a chance though… A chance to feel like I was worthy of love even if you were not the one who would. A chance to feel like my feelings mattered even if they didn’t matter to you. I shouldn’t have to walk on this earth feeling discarded and unwanted because of what I see when I look at myself through your eyes.
I am done beating myself up over things that could never be. I am done trying to solve a maze when you keep building new walls. My purpose on this earth cannot be limited simply to trying to please you. You think of yourself as the artist who will turn my life into a work of art but how do you plan on pulling that off when you can only see the world in shades of grey and gloom?
I don’t know what you want from me and I am done trying to deliver it. Trying to please you is like trying to recreate your favorite dish without a recipe while wearing a blindfold. I am given no clues as to what you expect, except when I am wrong. It’s an impossible maddening quest that I think I can walk away from now, without being called a quitter. It’s not quitting if I’ve tried for as long as you know I have. I think I lasted longer than most people would.