Of course I already knew what I was going to write about, but before I start... I want to pay humble homage to those of you who commented on that Facebook post. Some of the comments I was not surprised about, but others I was in absolute awe of. They were all fabulous. You have amazing strength and heart. All of you. Thank you. Really. I'm honored that you shared yourselves with me.
For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, have you really given thought to the moment(s) in your life that have changed you forever?
It's something I'm totally hung up on.
There's never just one moment, because the moments change.
Life changes. I look back through my life, and I see the "me" that I was through different decades. I don't even know her anymore.
What defined me? What changed me?
I can immediately say for certain, that my husband helped to shape the woman I've become over the past almost 15 years.
My childhood and early adulthood made me the very strong, independent woman that I am. I was someone who had endured more loss than anyone should have, and someone who wasn't very trusting as a result. I totally expected people to check out on me - one way or another, so I learned to do things for myself and didn't get too attached to anyone. That attitude isn't fabulous when you're trying to have a relationship. It has a way of blocking you from moving forward.
Eventually I learned trust.
More times than I can count, my husband has said to me,
"Relax - why do you think you need to do everything?"
It's a good reminder that it's OK. I CAN rely on him.
Breaking down my wall and allowing him to take care of me was not an easy thing. It was something that I really had to work at to change.
Just when I started to believe that people don't check out on you, my brother committed suicide.
That loss tore me down and completely changed me, robbing me of everything I finally began to trust. It's made me hard in ways that I can't explain. I'm not over it. I don't know if I'll ever be completely over it. Most people can't see it, because I hide behind a smile. Only the people really close to me can see it. Only the people really close to me have all of me.
I really needed my husband's strength and support to get through my brother's death.
His suicide brought my wall back up and made me more distant and on guard than I had ever been.
I, once again, keep people at arms length. I no longer give people an opportunity to get close enough to hurt me. I'll make casual acquaintances, but that's it. I have a few close friends, whom I know I can trust. For certain - You hurt me, you screw me? I'm out. I'll forgive once, maybe twice - depending on the offense, but if given a big enough red flag - you can see the flames shooting out the back of my heels as I run away. Done, over. As if you'd never known me.
It may not be the best way to handle things, but it's what works for me.
I get to check out first.
I know it's hard to imagine that part of me, here through the web-o-sphere. Here it's easy. I can love you all. I want to take care of you all and make sure you're all happy and lovely and safe. That part, I'm super good at. Just don't try to take care of me. I'm good. I've got this.
I was changed again when my friend Ed died.
This time I felt mortality smack me in the face. I mean, I was the sick one. Yeah, I knew he already had one heart attack and yeah, I knew he wasn't the healthiest guy on the planet - but ya know... your friends? They aren't supposed to check out. Yes, I know - it wasn't his choice.
It was almost as if mortality were saying to me... "Hey listen chick... just because you got over your little health issues doesn't mean you're going to live forever. Heads up! Oh, and appreciate what you've got."
For a while, I went on the "life's too short" for whatever the situation happened to be going on at the time. I still feel that way in most situations, but you can't both have your wall up and forgive and forget all the hurts around you. I took stock of what was important and tried to make things better in some situations - when they weren't better at all. Then I began to think about what's worth fighting for. What's an illusion? What's real, and what's not? Is this situation really worth the effort, or should I just chalk it up to illusion?
Living life to its fullest doesn't mean accepting toxic relationships just because you've had them for a long period of time. It's about being happy about the relationships that you are in. Realizing what works in your life and what doesn't.
I've changed. Many times.
For certain, those changes have opened my eyes to things I've chosen to not look at until I had no choice but to see.
Sometimes you need to see. Like it or not. Sometimes you need the really awful things to change you, so that you can move toward the really great things ahead.
At times I wish I didn't have to experience certain things that I have. Those moments - but I embrace them for what they are - my past.
So what moments in your life have changed you?
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