I Am What I Make of Myself
I never would have thought I'd choose a place like this to start breaking through the decades of layers I've built to shore up my defenses. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Venti S'more Fraps and you can't beat free WIFI. The conversation is engaging as well. There's a low murmur from every direction. People rehashing their everyday troubles, lost in their own little worlds, believing that their problems are somehow unique to their similarly conversing neighbors who, incidentally, are discussing (or, in my case, thinking about) the very same problems.
What is it that makes us believe that our problems are so much different from everyone else's? We get so lost in our own pain and frustration that we become blind to those around us who experience the same issues every day. Our character, made up of a long list of opinions and feelings, is the only difference between us in relation to our struggles. We are so busy trying to tell the world what we think, our feelings, how we would deal with a problem when faced with it. We don't have the patience, or the time to just listen to what is being said.
How often do we truly listen when others give us advice? I can honestly say that I very rarely take other people's opinions or feelings into consideration, unless I'm planning to disagree. I try to believe I'm not a very judgemental person, but here are a couple truths about me. When I see someone twice my weight I instantly think to myself, "please, don't ever let me get that big." Side note; I am a BIG girl, 5'9" and 260 lbs. Hmmm. Not much room for disdain on my part, is there?
Growing up the way I did, there was no shortage of mental, emotional, and physical abuse and neglect. I swore I would never allow myself or anyone else to treat any child of mine so monstrously. Yet, I am a single mother of one incredible little boy and have already managed to say and do things to him that no child should ever have to experience from someone they were born to trust. Things I can never take back. (Funny how I've managed to unerringly make my judgements bite me in my hind end.) Despite my constant parental blunders, my son looks up to me unfailingly. No matter how many times I disappoint him, T.J. continues to trust and believe in me.
I'm terrified of the day when he wakes up and realizes I'm not worthy of his love and trust. Just typing this has me shedding tears of shame, fear, and sadness on my key board. Yet, there is also a kernel of wonder and joy that I have the privilege of experiencing something so pure. Funny, how the worst of us always seem to receive the greatest gifts. There are so many amazing people in the world who live nothing but pain and strife EVERY day; people who know their lives are going to be shorter than they should be, yet still manage to make the world better for everyone around them simply by existing.
The world is full of givers and takers. The givers suffer quietly, with smiles on their faces. The takers find some new thing to be angry about, to envy, to fear. I wonder, are we all born givers warped by our experiences? What is it in our characters that makes us choose how we see and shape the world around us? It seems character creates experience, as much as experience creates character. Infinitely shaping who we are.