I am not sure where the pressure began. I can say in all honesty, looking all the way back (like most people) I could create a timeline and see where the major changes occurred that led to the standards I have created for myself. In some cases, the standards I have for myself are as usual and as common as normal, everyday life.
In other instances, however, there are standards which I have created for myself that are based from the fears of my past.
There were boundaries created —or better yet, these were barriers set in place, like a line drawn in the sand, which was my statement to be read, loud and clear, and to be heard and aggressively interpreted as, “This will never happen again.”
If I look back, I can see where the unfair standards I had held me to, were in fact, internally abusive in the sense that while, although my barriers and boundaries were set in place to protect me, instead, and systematically, the barriers I built would in fact close me in and not only separate me but also segregate me from a world I so honestly and desperately wanted to be part of.
I think, in all honesty, I had to first and systematically look back at where all this began. Perhaps my barriers began the first time I was laughed at. Maybe this started the time I was picked on in 2nd grade and beat up in the hallway outside of Mrs. Rowan’s classroom.
Maybe this is traced back to the very first time I realized what it means to “Not fit,” or as well; perhaps, I can trace my feelings of contempt back to the times when I learned about the different divisions of the crowd.
This goes back to when I learned about the different divisions of popularity and the governed structure that comes with the social status of being either included or excluded —and let’s be honest here; no one ever wants to be excluded.
I am sure that if any of us look back and check the timeline of social disappointments, we would all find where the pressure begins, —or more accurately, where the barriers were set in place to be read, loud and clear as a statement, which read, “Never again!”
I can think back to my first chance at love —or, if I am being honest and more accurately; I can trace my fears back to the first time I allowed myself to be vulnerable.
I can recall the sense of foolishness that came with my first crush, which, after all, the reason why they call it a “Crush” is because oftentimes, we end up crushed.
This was true in my case. I could not understand what it was about me that caused the betrayal. Instead of understand this had nothing to do with me, I took personalized the actions of a girl that I pretended to love.
And I yes, I say the word pretend because in full disclosure, at the time; I hardly had the understanding of what it meant to love someone. I hardly had the ability to fairly love myself. I held me to the wrong standards based upon fears and my perceptions of truth.
Instead of this really being love, I was more excited at the chance to be in a relationship with a girl. Goring deeper, I was in love with the idea of being in love. I was in love with the status of not being alone.
I had someone, or so I thought. And one night, during an intimate moment, I recall the humiliation of being called another man’s name. we were midway through. But more accurately, we we completely through. At least, we were through for the moment.
This happened not once, but twice. And later, the feeling of humiliation happened again when I found a picture of another man in her things with a letter that was sent by this man, in which, he even went so far as to mention me by my name and how I am not “Enough” to keep her and that “He” was going to come and take “Her” away from “Me.”
In the end, I remember the line in the sand I remember the walls I built. In the end I remember the sound of my war cry, which was enraged and bloodily screamed, “Never again!”
I can think of the friendships I had, which were mainly friendship of convenience. They were based on social parameters and built upon a status of which I was trying to achieve.
In fairness, I never felt comfortable in my skin. In fairness, I was afraid of the barriers being weak, which meant I had to enforce them.
In simple terms: This is what we call our defense mechanisms.
I used to hear the last of my words from a sentence repeat oddly in my mind. Which, to me was so uncomfortable, I would try and compensate this but only dig me in deeper.
I used to wonder if there was a way for me to be comfortable. I wondered if there was a time that I could relax and not feel like a chess piece on a game board, always trying to maintain my ground and always hoping not to lose more pieces of me. I wanted to rest. I wanted the world to stop, but yet, nothing ever did. I was drained but more importantly, I was beaten from within by an unrealistic standard, projected upon the world and based upon my feelings that draped like a blanket statement to everyone and said, “Never again!”
There is no rest in living life this way. The only rest is that the unrest creates distance and the distance creates loneliness, which might be form of protection, but truthfully, living alone and feeling alone, wholeheartedly was nearly the end of me. One day, I decided to strip the standards I held myself to. I decided to give myself a rest. More to the point, one day, I decided to forgive myself for holding me accountable for the things that were not my fault.
Put the bat and stop beating yourself up . . .
Not everything is the same and not everyone is one-sided. It is true; people will do terrible things to each other. People will hurt each other. In fairness, we all do hurtful things at least once in our life. Right or wrong, intentionally or subconsciously —there is inventory behind us all. I have my hand in this too. I am equally guilty of doing hurtful things to protect myself. I had to learn to stop this in order for me to feel free. But the hardest thing I had to let go was my fear. And yes, i’m afraid. I still am. And that’s okay because at least i’m honest. At least I can say this is me without regret now.
In order for me to rest, I had to set myself free.
Sure, trust can be an issue. Trust will be broken. And I’m not saying this doesn’t mean anything; however, I am saying this does not have to mean everything.
I used to hold importance on so many unnecessary b things beyond my control. Now, I just hold me. And going forward, systematically I have never felt this free in all of my life:
Free to live . . .
Free to love . . .
And free to let go of the wreckage of my past . . .