For a long time, I thought that the problem was other people.
They were unhappy. They were demanding. So, so demanding. They had unrealistic expectations and desires and were intolerant. Being with those other people was no fun. They wanted SO MUCH! I could feel the judgement and the harsh stares. Hear the critical words, and even more importantly, the words that went unsaid. I constantly felt left out, ignored, the wallflower on the sidelines who wanted, so badly, to be included.
I tried to fit in. Oh, how I tried. I tried on personality after personality, as if they were thrift store jeans, discarding them as quickly as I'd adopted them. Each time I became someone new, to try to fit in to the mold, to become who they'd want to be around, to make them happy. If I didn't agree with what the crowd did, oh well. Even in my marriage and family relationships - I tried to be the person that I *thought* each relationship needed. The harder I worked at being who everyone else wanted, the further I got from being who I was supposed to be.
But that's ok, I rationalized. Everyone else seems fine with the status quo.
Until one day I realized, quite simply, that the problem was me. I was unhappy.
And I decided to work on that.
How do I Make Together Better? By making ME better. I took some time and really got to know me. Who I am, who I want to be. What makes me laugh, what makes me cry, and what makes me so unbelievably happy that there are no words. I stopped doing the things that other people thought I needed to do to be a complete and whole human being - and I did those things that I know fulfill me.The activites and pleasures that make me happy, that scream "Carmen" from the rooftops.
I took up boxing. I earned my black belt in Muay Thai. I started cooking and baking from scratch.
Sometimes I take myself out to lunch. Alone. Sometimes I go to bed at 9. Alone.
I make sure to take time to read every day. I started going to the beach without my kids. I remember to get a pedicure regularly, and I started to devote time to my physical appearance.
I want to like what I see in the mirror. It makes me feel good.
And I began, once again, to dance. Having spent my formative years dancing, it has always been a part of me. But mothers don't dance, especially mothers of large families and mothers of a certain age and mothers of teenagers DEFINITELY don't dance. And religious people - one of the many robes I'd tried - certainly they don't dance.
Dancing makes me happy. Dancing makes me complete. I no longer care if you think I should dance - because it's as vital to me as the air I breathe.
You've changed! I've heard time and again from people I used to follow, used to idolize, used to form my life around. What's gotten in to you?
Me. I've gotten into Me.
By getting to know me, by learning what makes me happy, by spending time and attention to make me the very best me that I can be - I'm making us better. All the parts of us. I'm no longer busy trying to make you happy, but by making myself happy - I'm making together better. Giving you the best of me makes us better.
All of us.
We are all worth it.
Thanks to Brica for giving me the opportunity to write something that has been rattling around for quite a while. Please check Brica out on Facebook and The Twitter. I probably would never have written this if it wasn't for the Type A contest - I've never been, and won't be able to afford it, so I was excited to see this opportunity.