Sometimes the things we need to hear are very simple. Or so they seem simple.
What we secretly beckon from the mouths of others will always remain a mystery. Weather it be praise from a boss, sweet nothings from our spouse, or words of encouragement from friends and family, the trouble is, it has to be their words. I like to remind myself of this truth often. The things you think would be easy to say, may very well be a challenge for some.
It will never be sincere if you have to persuade it from their lips. Inside you are dying for these words. We put the whole weight of our being on these words we would die to hear. We convince ourselves that we will die if we don’t hear them from a certain party’s lips. Or is it that we have made ourselves believe these words? We believe we are brave, beautiful, sincere, generous, loyal, a hard worker, a good person, dependable, ect. The list goes on and on in our sub-conscience. We waiver between the fog of who we believe we are and the haze of how others truthfully see us.
Why can we allow how others communicate make us doubt all the lists of things we believe we are? Is it because we don’t hear the words we want to hear come gargling up their throat? The kind, soothing reassurances don’t melt off their tongues. The sweet serenade does not pour from their lips. So, therefore, we doubt. We doubt our worth. We doubt our being. We doubt that dreaded picture we have painted in our minds of that person who we believe we are. All because of words. Not our words, but words from people who don’t have a clue that we need anything from them. Words that don’t belong to us. Words for which we have no claim.
It’s not what you think. It’s never what you think. I don’t pretend to know everything. I don’t want to pretend to know anything. I make mistakes. I am fine with it. I will say it again, I make mistakes. If there is anything I can’t stand, it’s negative energy. I feel it pulsating through me. I feel it working into my veins and joints. It’s seeping into the smallest nooks of my being. I want to push it out. I want to dig deep into my bones. I want to suck the poisonous venom from my skin. I feel the weight of the universe on my back. It’s coming up in my throat. It’s strangling me from within. I will not give into this darkness. I will not let it win. The days of laying low while the storm brews beneath me are over. I will not yield to the feelings that are stacked against me. I will claw from the deepest parts of this grungy grave. I will dig the whites of my cuticles into that last ounce of daylight I see peaking from above. I will pull it to me with the force of a thousand shackled slaves on one of those ships adrift in the sea. You can’t win. You can’t beat me. I will show you that my life is worth the fight. I will show you that your hooded, shady ways are no match for me. Take a seat. Take a back seat. My new attitude has arrived. You are nothing.
As it blows, I hear the roof on our old building outside flap up and down. It makes a clacking sound. The dog howls and the leaves outside the window scatter. I close my eyes and the gusts push old memories into corners. I wait for them to settle like the leaves. I wait for them to cover me like a blanket. Then, the dreams come along with sleep. They meet me down in the depths of my soul. They drudge up old feelings, old heartbreaks and that grumpy, wrinkle-faced man named Regret.
I will spend the next hour or so laying here, thinking about all the wrong things I have done in my life. I will reach back to that dusty shelf in the dark and pull a memory one at a time. I will carefully dissect it. I will consider everything I could have done differently and then I will clean the dust off the shelf before carefully placing it back. My heart will be in my throat and it will be hard to swallow. I will carefully select another dusty piece of my history and begin to examine it. Before I know what has happened, an hour has passed and the light is beginning to brim around the shades of the room.
With the new day, I feel renewal. I feel like I have the chance to write the story of who I am. I will convince myself that I can’t do anything about the past. I will push onward in my day. But, before I do any of that, I will sneak into my son’s room and listen to him breath in his sleep. I will watch him smile. I will watch him purse his lips and readjust his position. He has no regrets. He has no concept of regret. We were all there once. We had dreams about things with no underlying feelings. I close my eyes while I stand over him. I try to imagine what that must feel like. Then, I remember that life is beautiful. Life is hard and life is full of lessons. Regret is a lesson. I exhale and open my eyes. As I do this, a faint smile comes over my lips. Regret can suck it.
Have you ever driven around the square in a small Texas town at 10 o’clock at night? It’s so quiet and desolate. I stopped and rolled the window down. There was no sound except the clean hum of the overnight lights. I sat there for a minute and wondered what a difference six hours can make. During the daylight, this place is hopping with cars and people. I would be lucky to find a parking space. I looked back at my son sleeping in his car seat. Will he sit in this same place in 17 years and think these same thoughts? Will he look around this small town and think of all the things the world has out there to offer him? Will he dream of getting out of here and making a life for himself in a far away place? Just then, he makes a small squeak in his sleep and turns his head away from the shine of the street light. I smile a little and point the car toward the house.
Three years ago when I moved here, I gave up soda, or as it’s known where I come from, pop. Last year, when I found out we were pregnant, I gave up alcohol and caffeine. At the beginning of this last week, I gave up bread. If you would have asked me three years ago if I could have given up any of those things, I would have said no. I have thought about this a good deal lately. I believe you can train your body to go without anything, within reason. Love is not one of those things. You can’t sit down for a meal and tell the waiter, “please just leave the love off the table, I don’t want to be tempted.”
I tried painting some sample colors on my walls this week. I catch myself looking at the small spots I have painted every time I pass by the walls. Who am I? Am I the person who has a “barn-red” dining room? Do you look at me in the grocery store and think, “I bet that woman has a turquoise wall in her house”? For some reason, these thoughts make me uncomfortable. I’m not in love with either color I have painted on my walls. I sent the pictures to a few people. My mother said the red was bright for me. I think that implies that I wouldn’t normally chose such a color. My husband liked the red, but he said the turquoise was “very blue.” I think that means he wasn’t feeling it. I haven’t gone back and bought the rest of the paint yet. I have been walking around all week, telling myself that I am not sold on either color. What if I buy 12 more sample colors and paint a small piece on the same walls? Will I ever feel like I am the person who has (insert color name) walls?
What does the color of my walls even matter? Yes, I am the one who has to look at them every day, but can’t I just train my brain to become accustomed to the new colors like I trained my brain that soda is bad?