16.2.10

True Tales Tuesdays

{ In Our Nature }

re edit

Recently I have been reflecting a lot on how my personality has changed, adapted, morphed over the years. When I was little I was excruciatingly shy. I remember being 6 years old and hiding behind my mom's legs when my best friend came over to play. Even with the most familiar people, I was nervous.
I've told you before about my shy nature, but I have decided to do a weekly little story time. So this week, let me tell you a little bit about where my personality is at now, and how it has been shaped through out my life, and most specifically, in recent years.
When I was 8 years old, I moved from England to the U.S. And being the shy and contemplative little girl that I was, the move was really hard. I didn't call America my home until the end of high school. I believed my personality was more suited to a British way of living rather than living in pursuit of the "American Dream." Yes, I was independent, and of course I have always appreciated freedom, but I didn't feel like my quiet brooding nature was encouraged or even acceptable here. I felt very alone.

Coming to college in the northwest definitely helped me open up and forced me to seek out comfort, what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be friends with, and gave me a chance to feel genuinely accepted in my nature. I made myself be brave, be tough and not let major difficult and traumatic experiences get me down. I made a choice my freshman year to be determined, to choose to pursue what I want and need even when I am afraid and feel no support. In doing so I did find friends who I related to on so many important levels, philosophically, spiritually, emotionally, on an intellectual level, politically. Being someone who is both liberal and progressive socially and politically, and feels a deep spiritual side of life that moves me to believe in God, I have had a hard time throughout my life finding friends who see eye to eye with me on both important levels.
But here, in Seattle, I did find friends who connected with me on all those levels and more. I deeply valued my friends and their independent, progressive and compassionate spirits. I still do, but through 4 or so years together, some of us already having graduated from undergrad, and a few still finishing up their last year, we have changed, grown more firm in some areas and loosened up in others. We are all growing into ourselves more, and that is beautiful. But also rocky as we journey into new phases of our lives.
We are headed in different directions, all of us. Some will end up in other states within a year or two, and some will end up in other countries. The group of friends all together can't last forever. That unit of understanding and acceptance will not always be there to run to or lean on. In having finally opened up and become more vulnerable in the past few years, it is scary to know that for the rest of my life, I will have to go through this hard process of opening up to so many more people who will come and go. It is frightening for me to even think of opening up to people who don't see eye to eye with me in certain areas. Though, I know I have to to just keep going, keep trusting that there are other people like me, who believe in and experience similar things as me, things that appear to conflict at times.

This all leads me to explain that I have a very hard time with commitment in any sort of relationship. I didn't realize this until recently. And I thank God a hundred times over that I have an extremely kind boyfriend who is helping me learn to trust and allow kindness to be given to me. The reason why I struggle with the idea of commitment in friendships and more is that, growing up, I had some really traumatic experiences that caused me, for the rest of my life, to be afraid of the intentions of others and hyper cautious of any situation where I could potentially be vulnerable. I avoid risking my heart. I never wear my heart on my sleeve, rather keep it locked up in a box deep inside my chest. I am afraid that if I truly invest in someone that I really respect, that they will just reject me, neglect me or do something awful to make me distrust them. So, I have just kept to myself most of my life. I have found good enough pleasure and happiness in being alone, being reclusive, and settling in my introversion. But really, being alone is not the only thing I need to feel fulfilled.

It wasn't until the death of my friend Patrick a year and 8 months ago that I really recognized that, no matter how much I try to protect myself from good things that can be taken away, good and bad will always be fleeting. Even good and bad people will be fleeting. Life is mysterious and no one person can determine how long their life will be, how long they they will believe what they believe, how long they will stick around. Change happens whether you want it to or not. As much as I try to protect myself from ever getting hurt, from my heart ever getting broken, there will always be things outside of my power that will affect me. And true strength is in allowing one's self to be weak, accept that which is out of one's control, and keep seeking out the love and support of others.

Since Patrick's death, I have felt more like myself as a 6 year old than any of the years in between. With his sudden passing, my voice was quieted, my demeanor was softened, and the essence of me became more apparent. I am a naturally timid person, thankful and never regretful of the past, but worry often about the future. I am happy to be exactly the person I am, shaped by the beautiful and happy, painful and traumatic. But why do I let fear of the future take grasp of me, twisting my timid and compassionate spirit into a cold, defensive and tough exterior?
Fear.

This Lent, I want to give up my defensiveness. I know, it sounds ridiculous and impossible. But I want to do something that will remind me to not overly protect myself. Though it is good to find comfort in oneself, alone inner strength, it is not good to not let others in and value what they have to give. I don't want to push out others because I believe my own pride is enough to fulfill me. Pride, I want to give that up too. This lent I am giving up candy and chocolate. I use them as comfort, something to sweeten my day and make me feel better. Instead, every time I feel my sweet tooth beckoning me to indulge it with sweeties, I am going to choose to instead reach out to loved ones and remind them of why I care about them and love having them in my life. I want to reach out to God and trust that he is my warmth and sweetness to living. I want love to be my truest comfort. I want to be true. It is in our nature.

listen: Jose Gonzales "In Our Nature"

It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.

Put down your sword.
Send home your dogs.
Open up your doors.
Let down your guard.

It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.

Put down your gun.
Ignore the alarm.
Open up your heart.
Let down your guard.

It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.
It's in our nature.

1 comment:

Kyla Roma said...

This is such an amazing way to approach.... everything. And I love your idea of giving up defensiveness lent. I think that if anyone could do it, it would be you.

And I didn't know you're from England! Is that where your family is originally from?