Once upon a time, there was an angry little girl. And for a very long time, she denied she was angry. She didn’t care, she wasn’t bothered, nothing mattered to her. All very untrue statements, but statements she made nonetheless. Then she became an even angrier young woman, because she had stayed angry over things she had no control over, and had refused to even acknowledge that she was angry.
As you’ve probably assumed, angry chick was me. There were things in my life that I blamed myself for that weren’t my fault; things I felt I needed to fix even though fixing it was outside of my ability. And I let my anger over all of that control me. From my anger stemmed the “I’m not good enough” complex, a bad case of the “why me”s, and a sense of invulnerability that was more damaging than actual vulnerability. I didn’t care about school, or other people, I pretended nothing anyone did or said hurt my feelings, because I was too busy pretending I didn’t have any. That’s a lot of anger for a relatively young person to harbor, and more tiring than I can explain.
One summer I decided to take “control” of my life, even though I went about it in the wrong way. But I learned a lot that way. Things I had blamed myself for for years, I finally let go of. First off, I couldn’t change anything about it, so why continue to beat myself black and blue over it, when my energies could be directed somewhere else? The “why me”s were taken care of then, too. Why me? Why you? Because life sucks, that’s why. And it doesn’t matter how wonderful of a person you are, because sometimes, bad things happen to good people, sometimes people die before you think they should, sometimes you find yourself in situations you have no idea how you got into. But life is good, too. Life is a beautiful ride, full of laughter and smiles, miracles, and happiness. Pain, too. But like a very wise woman told me recently, “Pain is good. Pain lets you know you’re alive. Pain lets you know you’re surviving this.”
The “I’m not good enough” complex? That was a longer, still ongoing journey. I think everyone will struggle with wondering whether or not they’re good enough, for anything. Do I think I deserve my husband, wonderful man that he is? No, of course not. He’s much too good for a whiny, needy, sarcastic woman like me. But in spite of all that, I know that we’re made for each other. He is all the best parts of me, and that’s why we work. (Also, because no other woman would ever put up with him like I do, and he knows it.) Everyone will struggle with wondering what someone sees in them, and whether they’re good enough, and my only advice for that: learn to love yourself.
That’s what happened when I learned to let go of all that anger, all that baggage, all those extraneous emotions. I began the journey to loving myself. And it was like seeing myself through Ricky’s eyes, and not wondering if I was good enough for a moment. I saw that I was kind, even through my facetious commentary of life. I saw that my smile reaches my eyes when I am happy, and when I get excited telling a story, I get loud. I saw that I was good at something, which happened to be writing, when I realized he kept all my silly short answers from high school in his wallet and in a box at home. I saw that I am a good person, even if my delivery is sometimes flawed. And all of that has made me so much happier.
I am human, and I have made mistakes, some larger than others. But my mistakes and my past do not define me, as I am, presently. They do not determine the type of person I will be in the future. I am human, and I am kind. I am smart. I am loud, and I live my life. I am sarcastic, to a fault. I am mean sometimes, and I am horribly moody. I like books and dogs more than I like most people, and if you can’t run with me and my near-constant attitude, that’s fine. You don’t have to. Why? Because that’s what happened when I learned to let go. I began to love myself, as I am, and in doing so, I’ve learned that not everyone will like me as I am, and that no longer bothers me. I like me. I like my sarcasm, and I like my loud mouth, and I like my smile that reaches my eyes sometimes. Plus, my husband likes me (I think…I’ll have to check on that, again), and his opinion matters more to me than some random person off the street. So I like me, I’m pretty sure my family mostly likes me, and I’m not angry over everything anymore. My husband is gone, my bed is bigger than I remember, but my dog is happy, I’ve read a few books…and I can finally be alone with myself without being uncomfortable. And that’s the best feeling in the world, all because I learned how to let go.