Every now and then, I play therapist with Chris. About a month ago, I demanded more than requested, “Tell me five things you like about yourself.”
It was a task I knew he wasn’t really comfortable with and didn’t know how to begin. And I knew that even as I helped him point all his wonderful qualities, that nothing I said that moment would truly stick. Because I’ve learned this, that if you can’t find qualities that you like about yourself, you will never be happy. No matter how much weight you lose, what clothes you wear or how much make up you cake on your face, if you don’t have qualities that you like about yourself, you will miss life. You will miss the sun shine on a beautiful day as your holed up in your room watching TV. You will miss opportunities to get out and bond with people. And when you’re in the company of others, you won’t truly enjoy yourself. Because what happens is that when you don’t like yourself, you both physically and emotionally wall yourself away.
I know this because I was that person, and sometimes I still am. Everytime I go home on the weekends to my mother’s house, I feel as if I’ve become Rip Van Winkle. Walking inside, I feel the calm air settle over me like pixie dust. My shoulders begin to sag and I lethargically make my way upstairs to my bedroom. I only emerge from my fortress of solitude when I’m rested but never fully rested. Sleep still lurks on the corner of my eyes and doesn’t escape until I’m about two blocks away from home, on my way to work. I can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything while I’m home. Boxes sit half packed all over my room, for my move with Devyn & Jack and a ton of little details that need to be taken care of are still left undone. I yank the curtains closed to block out the sunshine that’s trying to taunt me to come outside and curl up under the blankets all day. Even when I am over at Chris’s, I have realized that I have holed myself up. It might not happen as often or to the same drastic extent, but there have been days when I have had a long list of errands to do on a rare beautiful sunny day in Portland, and I find myself curled up on Chris’s couch playing Oblivion while Chris sleep’s the day away, simply because I didn’t feel like it.
Days like that happen because of the way I feel about myself. While days like that are happening less frequently, they still happen. I still hole myself away. I miss out on the sunshine I rather be playing in. But instead of wallowing in regret, I just remind myself that their is a tomorrow for another try. And as many tries as it takes to get it right. Maybe I am like a fly that doesn’t give up, banging into the light bulb over and over again. I may still miss out on opportunities, but because I believe in myself and because I like myself, I never doubt my capabilities of ever succeeding. And I’ve learned to just enjoy myself when I’m with others, instead of worrying about fitting in.
Like my mother is always snidely reminding me, I’m not a doctor and I didn’t go to medical school, but I do listen to my intuition. And I like to think that my intuition is sometimes as good as a doctor’s analyse. Just cheaper. I like to think that most of the time, I can read people’s emotions pretty well. Usually, because I just look at people. But just because I can usually read a person, doesn’t mean I know how to act about it. I can look at my mom, a few other friends, even a few coworkers and just know their sad. I know they’re hurting. I know that specifically, that they don’t like themselves. Most of the time I think anyone who just looks at another’s body language and uses their intuition would be able to tell too. Because it’s the little details people over look. Most of the time people are caught up in their own narcissistic problems to really care. But I do. But just because I care doesn’t mean I pry… most of the time.
If a person seems upset, distracted or bored, my first reaction is to play the clown. My first reaction is to try to find a way to put a smile on their face. My second reaction is to watch and listen. I usually have a thousand of questions to ask but I don’t, because I don’t want to come across as nosy. Instead, I think the best question to ask is just, “Are you okay?” And I leave the offer open to talk to the recipient. Sometimes, like with Chris, I am a little bit more persistent and annoying because I know he won’t come easily come and ask for help. But while I deeply want to know and I want to help, I can’t genuinely force someone to tell me what’s wrong. What I can do, is leave the offer on the table to talk. And I can hope the person I’m asking will take up the opportunity. Because a conversation is not just a dialogue. It’s not about one person being heard above more than the other. A conversation is about expressing, “I hear you.”
I’m not the girl you come to for advice, because I’m not good at giving someone answers on how to fix their problems. I’m great at listening. I’m great at understanding. But just because I understand, doesn’t mean I have the right words that a person wants to hear. It doesn’t seem to stop me from wanting to try to help. It doesn’t stop me from trying to unload a little bit of their burden unto my own. But in the end, am I a help or a hinderance? For as much as I keep wanting to inspire other’s to finding their own personal happiness, to have a little slice of my pie, I know that I can’t make anyone happy who doesn’t want to let them self be happy! I can’t make anyone to just instantly have the inspiration it takes from deep within to just let go. To let go and not care anymore about their insecurities, to dig up the strength to push yourself everyday and live in each moment. I can’t force someone to just let themself be happy.
We all have different insecurities. We all have different reasons why we hole ourselves up away from society and think it’s more fun to watch other people live theirs. We all have different regrets and different pasts. We all have different reasons to be sad. Someone I was very fond of once asked me a long time ago, why I always smile. And the answer is simple. Because I want to be happy.