a cork board

Stay True….and Stop Trying to Please Others
PMpThu, 03 Nov 2011 16:29:39 +000029Thursday 1, 2010, 4:29 pm
Filed under: poems, the ether, the mirror | Tags: , , , ,

For as long as I can remember I’ve been worried/concerned about what people thought of me. I know it’s not right, but from a very young age I learned to tie people’s reactions with how they treat you, and that (in turn) became a reflection of how I felt about myself. So I started to base how I behaved on how people would treat me. I wouldn’t want to make anyone upset, and I wanted to be liked by everyone so I had learned to behave certain ways and to cater to people’s little whims and idiosyncratic habits and behavior.

It’s a sad thing to see really, the way I would cater to people. It even got to the point where I didn’t know who I really was anymore. I had a handful of personalities that I carried around in my pocket that I would use to please people. Depending on where I was I could be a different person, and that bothered me to a point. Because I would relish being by myself so much because it was the one time I got to truly be myself. I remember reading a poem in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books called Paintbrush that seemed like it spoke to me on so many levels. I really related to it, I felt like I could have written it myself. I finally found it online :

Paint Brush

I keep my paint brush with me
Wherever I may go,
In case I need to cover up
So the real me doesn’t show
I’m so afraid to show you me,
Afraid of what you’ll do–that
You might laugh or say mean things.
I’m afraid I might lose you.

I’l dike to remove all my paint coats
To show you the real, true me,
But I want you to try and understand,
I need you to accept what you see.
So if you’ll be patient and close your eyes.
I’ll strip off all my coats real slow.
Please understand how much it hurts
To let the real me show.

Now my coats are all stripped off.
I feel naked, bare and cold,
And if you still love me with all that you see,
You are my friend, pure as gold.

I need to save my paint brush, though,
And hold it in my hand,
I want to keep it handy
In case somebody doesn’t understand.
So please protect me, my dear friend
And thanks for loving me true,
But please let me keep my paintbrush with me
Until I love me, too.

-Bettie B. Youngs

So there I was, a myriad of personalities wrapped up in a little insecure person afraid to piss anyone off or upset anyone. It hasn’t been until recently that I realized how detrimental this is, not only to me, but to my wife and my son and anyone involved in my life…anyone who loved me. My wife (God love her) would always just encourage me to be myself and not worry about it. After a while, I started to listen. I started to find who I really was a few years back and started to realize that I can’t blame other people for the way they treat me. I simply cannot. Because people can only treat you in the manner in which you allow yourself to be treated. A very good friend of mine helped me see this. I had been so passive about speaking up for myself that one day I just had to pull my shoulders back, stop hunching, and hold my chin a little higher.

I had never wanted to behave like I thought I had a sense of entitlement. I was always taught that I was not better than any one person in the world. My Mom taught me that we are all equal. But I was putting myself beneath people. I still go back and forth with these thoughts, but I have my foundation to build on. It’s okay for me to piss someone off, if I’m standing up myself and what I believe in….if I’m being true to myself. It’s okay to disagree with someone. It’s also okay if you lose a friend for something petty, it means they weren’t a friend to begin with. I can only be myself, through and through. And the more I am, the more I see people fall to the wayside and other people from the past come back. Life is such a journey, and I’m not even halfway there. I’ll keep finding my way and staying on the path that I know will lead me into true independence and happiness. And in the process, I will show my son that he just needs to know himself and be himself.

I’ve just got to be true to myself.


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