I know I am not alone when I say that I grew up feeling inferior, unseen and misunderstood. As a result, I have spent my life striving for perfection in order to feel accepted by those I have surrounded myself with. I am still the girl who repeated third grade because I didn’t care to grasp the concept of numbers or the correct letters that make up words. But as an adult I am gifted with finances in a way most people I know are not. My skill for stringing together thoughts on paper has become something surprising even to me.
I am not the same. I remain unchanged.
I am easy to offend but the empath in me is generous and defensive of the purity of your heart, which has burnt me more times than I care to admit. I have come to understand why I react in the ways that I do, which allows me to accept someone else’s shitty behaviour. I know the source goes beyond the messenger, and I know how hard it is to control those unchecked inner impulses, so I forgive quickly.
Maybe it’s the pandemic or the experience of having endured this familiar struggle a nauseating number of times, that has me finally with the confidence to wiggle myself toward freedom. I am realizing that it’s not likely the current situation—whatever that may be—that has me wounded in relationship, it’s the emergence of the original offence buried for decades, beneath the mossy soil of my youthful innocence.
I am allowing the ruins to surface because they are evidence of a fascinating story underneath my foundation, but I am cautious about yanking at the roots that might bring the whole structure down. Rather I am sitting with each newly exposed brick and examining the mortar for its integrity before moving on to the next. It’s arduous but I am realizing that this mysterious structure hasn’t crumbled for a reason. We have all been built on soil we did not choose, with shoddy materials that are outdated and probably toxic. This early exposure has inoculated our adult selves against the most harmful realities of life and relationship—but we have yet to recognize the strength over the habit of being helpless. As I uncover the original draft of my unique design, I am beginning to see which lines I have reinforced with ink, and which ones lay faintly beneath in non-repro blue.* The pull of the inked path is strong but I have exhausted the old.
With a brand new ink in hand, I have begun to explore what’s been sketched out in blue. It’s exhilarating and sometimes I don’t recognize myself as I head in this unfamiliar direction. I just made a giant leap in my professional life that has gone mostly uncelebrated by the people belonging to the original ink—which is completely unfair of me to say because I’ve always behaved as though I don’t need anyone. This could not have been further from the truth. So as I redraw the sketch of the person I didn’t have the guts to be earlier, it’s important for you to know that while I remain unchanged, I am not the same. I think this is true of you as well.
*non-repro blue, used in design, is a particular shade of blue that cannot be detected by print cameras. It allows artists and editors to work out a design right on a final draft without worry of it being recorded. Only what is traced in ink shows up on the final printed version.