How I am me

Nat wrote a lovely blog post today about exactly how she has come to be herself, about the person who has supported, loved, encouraged and moulded her into the amazing woman she is today, namely her fella, Steve. Now, I’ll be completely honest at this point and state unequivocally that reading the post provoked unprecendented waves of envy and self-pity to wash over me. But it also set the ol’ grey cells a-buzzing and gave me the nudge to write about something I’ve been pondering for a while now.

There are plenty of people who play an enormous role in my life, permanent fixtures I can count on as a constant. There are people who make me feel really amazing about myself, loved, respected, admired. These are the people I think the world of, and who make me feel better about myself just because, through being so wonderful and still wanting to spend time with me, they validate me as worthy of their affection. To these people I am enormously grateful. There are other people who, through no fault of their own, make me feel small, insignificant, a bit of a disappointment. To these people I’m grateful too – in a world where I’m lucky to be surrounded by an excess of wonderful types, they keep me grounded.

And then there are countless others, some of whom have become part of my life and others of whom have passed through fleetingly, who have had the most incredible effect without knowing it. These are people I have leaned on without their knowledge, learned life lessons as a result of – people I have essentially (and often inadvertently) used as a crutch to get me over certain obstacles and through certain complications. I often wonder whether I should tell them what they did for me, how their just being there in the role I cast them in has had an indelible (and positive) effect on my whole being, how important their role was in my recovery: how they quite literally “changed” my life.

These “others” include people who commented on my more emotional blog posts whom I have never met, people whose blogs I read but never commented on, people whose smile or good manners dropped the only beam of light into an otherwise bleak day. I suppose the most obvious examples would be a young man on a bus who gave up his seat for an old lady in the first few weeks I was back in Stafford in December 2007, or, more widely speaking, the smattering of gentlemen who first stirred any kind of warm feelings within me after months of truly believing, without an ounce of dramatic over-statement, that I would neither love, lust nor trust again.

Crutches and landmarks aside, I regularly think about the huge influence others have on who I am (one of the few joys of the commute is the time it leaves you to ponder things like this…). I’m a bit flaky in many ways, easily moulded by those around me, emphasising different elements of my personality to help fit in with my peers. I am lucky enough to have pretty eclectic tastes, and as such can highlight those that fit in with the relevant demographic at any given moment. It is a lack of self-confidence that has taught me to shape-shift in this way, and any psychologist could tell you that this here bloggy-wog is a tool I employ in helping to overcome feelings of inadequacy, fears that in my entirety I still might not be enough. I employ a rule of honesty when posting that comes from the belief that whatever I’m feeling, however embarrassing or cringe-worthy, someone out there has likely felt it too. Therefore, on here at least, there’s no point in hiding.

To leave this post on a high note, there are about a dozen people in my life with whom I can be entirely open, with whom I don’t feel I have to edit myself at all. I hope most of you know who you are. One of these people, however, it is fair to say I hardly know. For the first time in a long time this is someone I don’t feel any need to hide myself from, to protect myself from, to consider, for a moment, whether the wholly honest answers to their questions might not be what they want to hear. With this person I have an overwhelming sense that there’s no point in dressing myself up as someone else – I feel laid bare under their gaze, yet confident that, warts and all, they like what they see. Sitting in the pub recently, faced with an entirely innocuous question, the fleeting moment of “what is the right answer” which I would always take a moment to weigh, was brushed fearlessly aside in favour of a frank and enthusiastic truth. Whether the answer was right or wrong didn’t matter because in that moment I felt right in myself. And whether this is a fleeting acquaintance or something more permanent is irrelevant too: either way it was a landmark moment. As landmark moments tend to do, it has changed my life.

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11 thoughts on “How I am me

  1. A really lovely, honest read and a brilliant breakdown of how a personal support group works, with its layers of positive and negative, all of which help to nourish and also ground us. And how true that people we hardly know can force their way to the front of the small crew of people that you can really be yourself with.

  2. What a lovely, lovely post. Thought provoking, honest, and emotional but not schmaltzy!

    It got me thinking about what makes me, “Me”. I think it’s too easy to say your other half made you who you are, but that seems totally wrong to me – my husband fell in love with me for the person I am and still remain – so how could he have made me who I am now?

    I have to say, such a good portion goes to my parents. I’m very close to them, they’re so important to me, and I have no idea how I would be if I didn’t see or speak to them regularly. There was a time where this may have changed, but time has passed and we are in such a good place.

    My friends. They have rebuilt me. Any time I have felt low, worthless, broken and miserable, they have been there. They are my extended family. Some of them are like my arms and legs, they are such an intrinsic part of who I am.

    And while I don’t believe Hubby made me who I am, he makes me better than I was. He has restored my broken faith in people, he has given me unconditional love where I thought it didn’t exist, and he has given me confidence in us and myself where I believed there could be none. I do credit him with bringing me back to myself, he found what had always been there. I have to credit him with so much patience – I am not an easy person to live or be with at times – but I feel so lucky to have such an honest, good, wonderful person in my life to make me better than I was before.

    Ok, that probably was quite schmaltzy!

  3. ok, heart wrenched a little now! Beautifully well put – I am so proud of you my darling, you don’t even know the half of it. You are a true inspiration to us all! And, if you hadn’t noticed already, you yourself create something of an impact on others! If it were not for you my lovely, nothing in my world would be what it is! Thank you for that first cup of tea!

    And just remember, when those bleak moments inevitably shadow over you, at least one other of your female friends is bound to be feeling something similar at that exact moment in time. It doesn’t make it any easier but it means you are not alone in that thought, never.

    Love you always,

    Nxxx

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  6. What a great post, Cie. And what a fantastic landmark moment to have – to be entirely yourself with someone is a wonderful, empowering thing.

  7. I’m going to weigh in too here, I read Nat’s lovely blog and then yours, and was very moved by them both. Through the ups and downs I’ve been having recently I’ve spent lots of time thinking about who I am, and why I am the way I am. Carys is right when she says a good portion of the credit goes to parents, mine have always given me the freedom to make mistakes as well as to get things right and, although I am often cautious I think my ability to open up and make new friends comes from them. My friends too are vitally important. More than ever I feel I have a core group of people that I can just be Róisín with, and I count you as one of them, despite our short acquaintance.

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  9. You make me laugh, you make me cry; you are my lovely daughter!
    This post is one of your best and I am really delighted to know you are now feeling comfortable and confident with yourself; that’s exactly how you should feel.
    I am so proud of you for being you! xxx

  10. What am amazing post. It takes a pretty incredible person to know themselves and their support networks so well, I think.

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