Growing up I was always fed the same lines. Be respectful to your elders. Do unto others as you would have done to you. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Always keep your words soft and sweet, for you never know which ones you'll have to eat. What goes around, comes around. Be true to yourself.
It was always the last one that got me.
For I discovered as the years went by, that in order to practice the former, I had to ignore the latter. It never failed. In all my dealings with people, I kept those guidelines in mind, ever hopeful, ever optimistic. Generally disappointed. As a child I thought everyone knew these rules, and therefore everyone played by them. On the playground I learned I was wrong. Children can be cruel sometimes, and I soon learned that 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.' I thought that and I said that, but it wasn't what I felt.
Because it's all about acceptance.
That's all we want, isn't it? To be accepted, as we are, for who we are. As long as we don't harm anyone, what difference does it make? Nobody's perfect. All my life I have fought to hang on to the beliefs by which I was raised, those 'golden rules.' I still do. Yet time and time again I found myself wondering if my parents were wrong in what they taught me. They didn't teach me to stand up for myself, I had to learn that outside the home, the hard way. They raised me to be submissive, to be a 'good' girl; life raised me to be assertive...at times to be a bitch. My experiences caused such an inner turmoil I often felt like an unbelted passenger on a wild roller coaster ride, hanging on to the seat...the sides...anything...for dear life. And I love roller coasters. But not this kind. It's that slamming back and forth, against the sides, the sudden feeling of flying helplessly through the air and crashing back down on the seat. Left me feeling battered and bruised. Confused. Not fun.
I've been told I'm too sensitive. Too sensitive. I can walk into a room and immediately sense the mood, the feelings of the people in the room. Sometimes I absorb those feelings, when I should be protecting myself against them. On those occasions when I absorb the feelings, and they are negative, I am aloof and standoffish toward those individuals. Interaction with negative people will lead to a negative moment. In an act of self-preservation, I avoid them. If they are in a bad mood, I have no desire whatsoever to be in their space. Why should I subject myself to that? But sometimes you can't avoid them, because like it or not, someone will put themself right in your space, with one goal in mind. To catch you off guard and throw you off balance. There are people who honestly delight in such activities, I think it makes them feel better. Try as I may, I can not wrap or align myself around that line of thinking or behavior. It's like a foreign language and I don't understand it. I don't want to.
Those times I stood up for myself generally backfired on me. Whether my motive was misunderstood, or emotions were just too high at that time, I found myself on the losing end of a bad situation. I felt alone, out- numbered, out-witted, out-cast, with no recourse in my favor. Sooner or later, the truth will be known, but for now I will concede. Remember the 'golden rules.' I hate those moments, because in an effort to be true to myself, something went amiss, and I ended up be-traying myself. I always tell myself this is just another test. Another test of my character; if I do it right, I will be a better person in the long run.
This I know to be true. Life is about learning. But sometimes I wonder which learning curve I'm on and whether or not I'm in the right class.
Am I still a student...or maybe I became a student teacher...