My 7-Year-Old Self

My life is pretty near as great as it can be at this moment. I have shelter and food, a little girl, a supportive and loving and generous and off-center husband that I'm in love with, great friends, great family, am surrounded by opportunities to make my life even better, and finally, time to enjoy it all. These things have mostly always been, I just didn't see them as more important than the misery I was putting myself through.

I came to understand last week that I haven't been this sustainably happy since I was seven. Six months ago, I would have blamed events in my life for the amount of anger in my life. Mostly not people, but the events as I believed it was less caustic to those around me. Since then, I have seen that the anger was not even at the events for bringing out the anger in me, but truly at myself for reasons that I didn't know existed. The anger has grown in me since forever and got so bad that I forgot how to have fun. This tipping point made me almost unbearable to myself and was frequently directed outward.

A good friend of mine once gave me this card. I cried and asked, "Is this how you see me?" The response was of the positive. I connected so much with the feeling of this picture, the wild abandon of joy. There was only that moment and I ached with longing for that moment. I cherished the thought that someone could actually see that in me when I felt that I was losing it.


Everybody has a list of events that has made them more cynical, more sheltered, more untrustworthy of the world. I am letting mine go. There is no joy to be gained in protecting oneself. There is only joy in being vulnerable. I want to be there.

Being a good friend has always been very important to me. It turns out that as my anger grew, so did my ability to be a friend. I am examining every bit of data I have on friendship and still have no idea how to be a good friend as I once did so naturally.


My rules for being considered a friend of mine consist of two:
I MUST LIKE YOU.
I MUST TRUST YOU.

These two rules have a bazillion subset rules on what I like and what I trust, but these two rules are it. No time limits, no extra shoulds, just the connection between two people. Unfortunately, not everyone that I wanted to be friends with always wanted to be friends with me. Then, I had the realization that if I didn't like me, how could anyone else? If I didn't trust me, how could anyone else? I believe I was about 20 or 22 when this dawned on me. I took some time then to learn how to like myself and my life got better for a time.

I lost being able to like and trust me sometime since then and I can't even tell you when. So, if I wasn't a friend to myself, how could I possibly be a friend to anyone else? Everything I see in you is a reflection of me - the good, the bad, and the beautiful.

Thanks to Katrine for not knowing me at all and treating me more like a friend than I have in years. (I can't wait to hug you.) Thanks to cenobyte for showing me that vulnerability doesn't hurt as much as I thought it did. Thanks to Ril Badil for being so indulgent of me in our friendship (and teaching me that I only need one space between sentences on the internet). Thanks to all the friends from the past and current and future who remain or don't because you have all been wonderful, fantastic additions to my life.

And for the first time in my life, no validation required.

*****

If you are interested, BrenĂ© Brown is inspirational in her research around Shame and Vulnerability. These are two TEDtalks given in 2011 and 2012. The second references the first.

2011:


2012:

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I'm quirky, confident and happy. My friends say I'm generous, warm, reliable, and dependable. My mom, dad, and angel say I'm beautiful. I'm not perfect, but that makes me human.
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    Games We Play

    • Rune Factory Frontier (Wii)
    • Galactrix (DSi)
    • Arkham Asylum (BG)
    • Puerto Rico (BG)
    • Liar's Dice (BG)
    • Smallworld (BG)
    • Agricola (BG)
    • Blue Moon (BG)

    Happenings

    • House renovations
    • D&D with Kaz
    • Playing Eclipse with TWS
    • Preparations for Alien Invasion

    Books On the Go

    • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
    • What to Expect When You're Expecting by Murkoff
    • From the Neck Up by Denise Dreher

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