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Friday, June 20, 2008

"...To me alone there came a thought of grief: A timely utterance gave that thought relief, And I again am strong."

More changing. Inside.

It's inevitable, I suppose. People aren't built to remain in the same state. Even if nothing changes in their day-to-day activities, their bodies change daily, constantly. So if change is so natural, why do we resist it?

I believe it's because we wish to keep moments. We try to prolong or relive the parts of our lives that have made us feel happy or complete. The funny thing is, even our memories are not stable. My memory of a moment will be different from that of a person who shared that same moment--and three years into the future I will probably remember differently from the way I remember now. We can't really keep anything.

This is probably one reason why LDS people love the idea of the sealing ordinance. It sort of "keeps" people. Even when they're dead. It's one way we can resist change legitimately (and I'm not trying to make something people hold sacred into a commonality--I'm just thinking aloud, so please don't get upset at me).

It seems odd, though, that we also cling to things that hurt us--resisting even a positive change. Somehow we get something from the negative, destructive elements of our lives. We want to stay in whatever state we are in. Perhaps because change is unknown, and takes effort, and is scary--and there's no guarantee that if we do change we'll be better off.

I have no answers. I still resist change even as I embrace it.

But as I allow the changes inside to take place I'm coming to some conclusions which, no doubt, are obvious to everyone but me. That's okay. We all learn at our own pace. And in the years I was ignoring the truths that I now am recognizing, I became a really great Scrabble player...and pianist...and other things...

But this is what I'm discovering now:
1. The things that have hurt me are simply moments in time. They will not happen again.
2. The hurt that comes into my life now happens because I have allowed myself to be vulnerable--and perhaps I chose unwisely--or perhaps the person with whom I was vulnerable didn't recognize that what he/she said or did would be hurtful. Regardless, allowing myself to have vulnerability in relationships that are non-contractual takes a great amount of strength and courage. The fact that I have done so says that I have guts--I'll learn wisdom later.
3. The things that have hurt me in my past are important. Much of what happened profoundly impacted the ways that I interact with people. Many of my gut feelings about love and friendships and trust are incorrect. I am not stupid. I can learn from my positive interactions as well as my negative ones.
4. I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to allow casual touch to happen without reacting in some way--even if the way I react is only noticeable by me. But I'm getting better at it. A few months ago I hugged a friend and allowed my hands to slide down his arms. I caught myself before I actually clasped his hands. He looked startled--not that I had stopped, but that I had made the motion in the first place. He knows how I feel about skin touching skin. I was startled, as well. How unlike me. But maybe it's not. Maybe, inside, there is a person who will enjoy touching the hand of someone I love--even if it's just a handshake.
5. For three years I have cultivated friendships--some, very close--and I've been constantly afraid. I've been afraid that I'll be left behind and forgotten, or that I'll use people up, or that I'll be needy, or that one day the friends will look practically at the situation and say, "Why am I friends with her?" I'm afraid, because I have no prior long-term friend experience, that I won't measure up, and I'll fail Friendship 101. Most of all, I've been afraid I'll be hurt. But today, I'm not afraid anymore, and that feels weird. I'm not afraid because:
a) I'm too busy being grateful for the beautiful moments I've had with these friends.
b) I'm too busy loving them to worry about whether or not they love me back.
c) Although I might change how I've approached many things in our friendships, I wouldn't change the people, or the events, or the feelings that have helped me learn more about people.
d) I think, maybe, I'm learning to trust. And I'm recognizing that I'm not trusting that no one will ever hurt me, I'm trusting that when an obstacle of any kind happens, we'll stay the course and work things out, we'll forgive when necessary and keep loving even when it's difficult. I know I will--I'm trusting that they will, as well.
e) I'm learning to celebrate without having a backup plan. I'm learning that people who love each other sometimes have to leave, but they usually come back. I'm learning that what I give is as valuable as what I receive. I'm learning that some people actually don't care if I'm the smartest or the nicest or the most perfect--they just like being with me. And I don't have to entertain the ones who love me the most. Sometimes we can just be together quietly and that's okay, too.
f) I think the most important thing I've learned is that the part of me that yearns for someone to hold and love her is not something to be despised, but rather something that should be acknowledged. As a little girl, I did not receive what I needed to become emotionally secure and healthy. That doesn't have to scar me for life, and it's okay if I still feel those needs and search for legitimate ways to fill them. It's time to stop being embarrassed by my need for love.


  1. "It seems odd, though, that we also cling to things that hurt us--resisting even a positive change."

    I catch myself doing it out of fear that letting go of a hurt invalidates it.

    Your list on #5 is great.

  2. I completely understand that feeling--especially if the ways we've been hurt have negative consequences that continue beyond the initial experience. But I suppose what I've finally understood is that growing beyond the hurt does not invalidate it--it simply hands the responsibility back to the one who caused the pain initially. I don't have to carry that responsibility anymore. And I'm finding that as I allow myself to gracefully acknowledge that, yes, I was hurt when I gave no cause, but I am also living my life as well as I can in spite of that, others will champion my cause and encourage me to continue--not stagnate in bitterness.

    I suppose I also believe that clinging to things that have hurt me gives them honor, in some way, as if the act itself should be acknowledged as something life shattering and dramatic. But what I really want is for people to see the whole me--what made my past--how I dealt with it in both healthy and unhealthy ways--and how I now live my life. And I wish for them to respect/honor me--not the things that happened to me. The hurtful acts should not be buried, but they have already been given their due--I no longer wish to share the limelight with them.

  3. This is one of the many reasons I like talking to you--you always have wise, well-thought-out things to say. Growing beyond the hurt is a wonderful way to describe it.