That’s Just How You Are

Do you know how long ago it’s been since I got that message? But I remember where I was, I remember why I got it, and I remember every single tear that ran down my face. I remember the erratic call I sent to the person who sent it, and the date I cancelled because of it. I ended up calling my father from the Border’s in my area, talking about getting drunk and becoming a depressed lush at the local watering hole.

I also remember my father lecturing me. Telling me to listen to myself, get myself together, and to find a better way to wade through that. He told me not to give other people the power to tear me apart like that. I sat at a table in the store, waiting for him to pick me up. I felt locked in place. I had on this tacky pair of pinstripe pants, a white blouse, and my hair was in curly microbraids. I owned a crappy chocolate brand Motorola phone that had all kinds of bells and whistles with unlimited texting. But alas–I was young, dumb, and heartbroken. That steamy summer day felt like the end of the world.

Don’t ask why it came to me in my head. These are all things I wish I could forget, especially that stupid message. The person who sent the message had an idea of who I was, but never got to know the real me. As short as the message was, it cut like a knife because this was a new side to them. From tenderness in the dark, to silence in July, to a literal “piss off” in 140 letters or less, as I pretended I was some hard chick tellin’ some dude to come get his crap. He didn’t want it, and he did not want me. Once I woke up in that moment, I thought I was so cool throwing all that stuff out in the garbage 3 weeks later.

Still, that response boiled my potato!

Who was I to them?

An oversexed, perverted, short-attention span-having annoyance? A whackjob with a flaky job and school record? An emotional weirdo who didn’t have a cap on herself? A filthy, filthy woman with no morals? But….didn’t they decide to sleep with me? Okay, okay, stop. It was just an interesting choice of words. Who was I after 2 little limp years? Why did that response bother me so much? How did it burn itself into my brain, if their opinion was not fact?

I think some years later, I dug deep myself with a line about a trapped, 2 bit life. Not my greatest moment, but proof that I could clap back just as rough with just as much spice. It all meant nothing, because neither person really ever knew the other one, and everyone was judging everyone else.

So, all the smoke has cleared, and the conversation has been long gone. The train station is still there, I still own the pants. I broke the phone years ago by dropping it in water on accident. The braids are long gone, but I live in the same room. The past has become some kind of writing exercise for my brain, and for this Buddhism to help me understand what I could not in the past. What he said may have hurt, but it was not the truth. It was not half the person I was back then, and it’s not a fraction of who I am right now. In a snap decision because feelings were rough and words were spiky, that was the first thing that came into their head. And because I was still very raw over what happened so fast, I had a lot of emotions stewing in one big cast iron pot. The fire was white-hot, and I ended up cancelling my own frickin’ date.

I never did see that guy again. Probably for the best, but um….still. Cancelled. Date.

This also reminded me never to drop anything for my past ever again. Especially one that ripped me apart. I keep reminding myself of this, because I KNOW MYSELF. This is a part of who I am–a very compassionate, sentimental, mothering person. You will see my softness quickly, even in my anger (sometimes). For anyone who has made my heart–or any other parts–quiver, it’s like bopping a stuffed animal on the head–easy, quick. This is a flaw that is easily accessed and used, but recently has been walled up by a cynical shell. There is no comment bold enough to take it down. Not this round, kiddo.

Of course I didn’t see it back then. Seeing it now, and going on this mental journey of tossing out baggage is so interesting, but refreshing. this was only what…eight years ago? I can barely remember. That’s exactly where it should be.

Who am I? The most imperfect person. Who am I? Someone very in touch with her erotic nature. Who am I? Believe it or not, a human being to be respected. Not someone to be tossed around, or to have her house number haphazardly sent out to “open people” without consulting me first. Who am I? Someone with feelings and a heart. Someone worth a trip to the moon and back, but I’m not so high on the danged horse that humility ain’t my name-o. Who am I? Somebody few try to get to know. There are a chosen few who’ve invested the time, no matter what. There are a chosen few who’ve seen the darkness, and held up a lantern. A chosen few who’ve basked in the sun and smelled every single flower in the field. For them, I am most thankful. This is why remembering doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s all just writing.

Meanwhile, my Poli Sci study guide calls.

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