JUST be yourself. Just BE yourself. Just be YOURSELF.
I thought I'd play with emphasis in order to determine which part of that sentence I personally find the most difficult to handle. The conclusion? All of it. Ugh!
I mean, what sucks for me is that I seem to be able to be myself...UNTIL it matters...or UNTIL someone cares...or UNTIL I start thinking about it...like once I think about it...I can't...I can't be myself because when I think about it, I think/figure that myself isn't enough...isn't good enough...so, I try to be someone else...I strive to be the person I think I SHOULD be...the person I think they WANT me to be or NEED me to be...I seem to think that while I was enough to become someone's friend, I could never be enough to keep that friend. I seem to think that my friends need and want me to be someone else, something more...than just myself. It sucks 'cause in that process, I squeeze God out of the picture. I mean, I don't let Him use me as He sees fit. I don't live knowing that I am His and that HE has plans for me, that He has blessed me to be a blessing...I try to do it myself...I try to be awesome and amazing and beautiful and loving and all that...on my own. I end up living out of my head, instead of from my heart...I think about the things I SHOULD do...to show people I care, to show that I love them, to help them...I don't let myself just do what comes naturally...I second guess and filter and create my own idea of what I should do, generally very different from what is actually needed, probably very different from what God intended or would have me do.
That's why the "be" trips me up. I don't know how to "be". I live in my head so much that I feel the need to always DO something. I SHOULD be DOING _________ so they'll know I care...so they won't have to...so they'll feel special or loved or whatever...it loses the authenticity when I think it through and seek to do. Because it's not authentic, it's not "I thought of you"...it's pre-meditated....I SHOULD give them a hug when I see them...I SHOULD help them with that...I SHOULD bring them a ________...it's like I feel the need to keep up appearances like I do with my mom sometimes. I give her what she wants. I do things so she doesn't have to, so she can go cry or whatever, I take care of stuff for her, I give her a hug because I know that's what she wants...because it's what a "normal" family would do. I fake it...because it seems like when I try to live from my heart and do what I feel moved to do, she doesn't get it...she doesn't understand...she wants the niceties that can be rehearsed and taught...and that's what I give her...and unfortunately, I've come to think that that's what I have to do for the people I'm closest to. I'm myself around people I barely know because I don't care what they think. I mean, if they like me, cool...if they don't, fine, we won't talk again...no big thing. So, when I find out someone is my friend and that they care about me, I worry. I worry that they'll need something from me...that they expect niceties, and I need to figure out what to give them...It's dumb because I panic because I care. I start to care about them and love them, and I don't want to eff it up. I figure I will, but I don't want to. So, I second guess myself and filter myself to try to give them only the parts of me that they want...only the best parts...only the nice parts...which I suppose ends up making me seem cold and aloof...they don't have access to the real anymore, not like they did. They get the woman I think I SHOULD be, not the one that they became friends with, the one they want to see and talk with. I cheat them out of that. They get to know me as someone who is herself and comfortable and honest and open and everything...and then we become friends and I'm the opposite. Because I'm afraid...that I'm not DOING enough if I'm just myself. Like I said...I don't understand...I don't know...how to BE. I'm not comfortable with who I am...I'm not comfortable at rest...I don't rest...I don't know how to rest...I've read that beauty is inviting...a woman at rest invites those around her to be at rest...the most beautiful women are those that are at rest, inviting, comfortable...I'm not...I'm a striving woman...because I've learned that I'm never good enough, it's never good enough, no one will ever be satisfied...I have to keep trying...and I try and I try and I do and I do...and I get lost in the trying and the doing...I lose MYSELF. I think I am the things that I do for people...I think that I am the things that I'm trying to be...I don't understand that I already was someone...before I started trying to be someone.
The question that has always pissed me off the most is "Who are you?" Who am I? Once upon a time, when I thought that counseling could help, I talked with a woman who asked me who I was. She asked me to respond without referencing my family or the activities I'm involved in. I had nothing to say. I realize I don't have to have the whole answer of who I am and what my purpose in this world is...but to not know...to have nothing to say? That's sad. I didn't even give her a "I am...a brunette." Nothing. Adjectives? What? Adjectives would imply that it was an attribute...I generally live in verbs...I am writing a blog...I am learning to be a nurse...I am going to be a nurse...in my world, "to be" is just used to conjugate verbs...it is not a verb in itself. I don't know what "is" or "be" really means, I guess. Have you ever watched me try to just sit...I can do it...I've done it at the lake...and maybe a handful of other instances...but it's generally awkward for me to just be. It's awkward to watch me sit still because I have to shift positions all the time or fidget or bounce my leg or ask awkward questions because it freaks me out to not be DOING SOMETHING...even if it's talking...I SHOULD AT LEAST be talking...about something...It's ironic because in my world, quality time with someone is extremely valuable. I so badly want to BE with my friends...just to chill...I don't always want to DO something with them...I just want to BE with them. I don't know how to do that, though. It freaks me out because it makes me vulnerable. They'll see me...they'll see me not studying, not cleaning, not making something, not planning something, not discussing...just me being there...just me. I'm afraid to do that, even though that's what I really want. I want to be enough just by myself...to not have to do things to be valuable...to not have to be a body in motion...to be a place of rest...that I could offer myself...like me...not offer the things I can do...the things I can try to do...to just offer myself...no walls or masks or lies or filters or inane tasks...
The other day, I watched Across the Universe. There was a bit of dialogue that stood out to me:
"Do, do, do, do, do. Why isn't the issue here who I am?"
"Because what you do defines who you are."
"Actually, Uncle Teddy, who you are defines what you do."
Do you understand how that shook me to the core? Who I am? Who I am defines what I do? Who I am motivates me to be involved in the things I'm involved in? To pursue the things I pursue? Who I am is related to my passions and my desires and my gifts? I still don't understand how that could be...it makes sense. But I'm still mighty confused.
It's like...if I could learn to be myself, the doing would come naturally...it'd flow from who I am...who I was created to be...how God wishes to use me...it wouldn't be me trying to do things so that I can become someone...it'd be me being me...It makes me think of the whole "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." Because I feel like God's trying to tell me that I already am someone...someone of value...someone with something to offer...and I don't have to try...because I already am...I don't have to do anything to be that person...I just have to accept that it's the truth...and to humble myself before Him, letting Him be in me...and I in Him...resting...resting in Him...
That's why the "just" is so hard for me. It makes it sound so easy. But it seems like it'll be so hard for me...because I feel like I've been wired to DO...and I'd have to fight habit and history in order to be...I feel like I don't know how...like I'd have to learn how to be.
I was thinking the other day...er...last night...about how much I hurt the people I love and care about by not being myself, by filtering and second guessing and striving. It hurts me to think on it because I filter and second guess and strive out of fear that I will hurt them. I'm working against myself...I'm cutting myself off...It pisses me off because I should know better...I feel like I'm having an epiphany that I should have had forever ago...like it's too little too late...can't teach an old Takara new tricks...
I've been doing a lot of praying last night and today. Crazy part is I even included myself in those prayers. I suppose it's obvious the reasons I've been praying. I've been praying for guidance. I've been praying to be broken and rebuilt. I've been praying to be myself...to live from my heart, not my head. I've been praying to discover who I am. I've been praying to have my vision adjusted, so I can see myself. I've felt like I've been living in a house without mirrors. I sometimes see a distorted glimpse of myself...in a spoon or a window or a bowl of water. But I don't trust those...I'm praying to get the chance to see myself reflected in God's eyes and the eyes of my friends...I'm praying to see what they see. I'm praying for a mirror. I'm praying for a better perspective...I'm praying that I might be able to "look at my life through Heaven's Eyes", if that's even possible and not too cliched. I'm praying for patience and peace through all of this...I'm praying for my friends, too, though. I'm praying for them to be patient and forgiving...I see so much of Christ's love in each of my relationships. I pray that those relationships will be blessed with grace and peace and forgiveness as well. I pray I'm not too slow, not too behind the curve...I want to change. I want to be me...I want to accept who I am and be comfortable it...and then offer myself to those that I love. I want to show everyone how much I love them...and how much I care for them...I want my actions and words to flow from me, and the Creator that made me who I am.