A low self-love in the parent desires that his child should repeat his character and fortune.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
There is, I used to think, the me that I like best, the me who only comes through when I'm in a good mood, when I feel cute, when I've had enough sleep or enough to eat, when I feel a sense of all is well in the world and in myself. The me who can go to a party where she doesn't know a single soul and, because I am being the me I like best, others gravitate towards. She is sweet, funny and light hearted. She likes herself and she, you sense, likes you too just the way you are.
The flip side of this is the other me. The me I don't like so much because I haven't slept in two days, because my hair has decided to do its own thing, because I feel disappointed or worried or scared. This me tends to hide behind her sketchbook or her shyer, quieter facade because she is afraid you will judge or hurt her. This me must be coaxed out of her shell as if she were a wild animal. She longs to join the party but because she doesn't like herself, you instinctively worry she may not like you either.
It is an exhausting, sometimes maddening, push me pull you path between these two extreme me's. Because being the best version of me is always on condition of something else being this way or that. And so I waste a lot of energy trying to ensure that the conditions I encounter are supportive of the me I like best.
But, maybe because I've made myself suffer enough, maybe because the time was ripe, maybe because I sense deep down that the only way forward is to get off this roundabout path, it's dawned on me recently that the me I like best is not the me who appears only when conditions are favorable. That this me is simply me. The real me.
So...I visited my father a few days ago, not because I wanted to but because I was doing a favor for my brother which meant going to my dad's place to get a few items out of my brother's room---which is usually locked because my dad, using a logic all his own, likes to throw his children's possessions away when they aren't looking.
And when my dad, after finding I had locked the room behind me, began to scream about some guest he was having over, one of his coworkers who needed a place to stay for a few nights, so I had better fucking open that door or else---I naturally didn't believe him. Instead I pointed out that he was showing this (fictional, I thought) coworker more consideration than he was showing me, his own child. And he basically said, well you fucking deserve to be spoken to this way, you...
I tried to cut him short with a, "Don't talk to me like that!" Slam! But he followed me out the door continuing to say fuck you and other nice things until I drove out of sight.
I'm not laying blame here. I've long since forgiven my father for, well, being who he is. And I drove away more amused than anything else. Oh, asshole dad! There you go again! What I'm saying is that he, in large part, is how I learned to view myself in this either or way. If I am nice enough, if I do this or that, if this or that happens, then I am my number one fan and like to assume that everyone else wants to join the club. If I don't, if I can't, if conditions are not right then da fences go up again.
When I told this latest dad incident to life long friend, Lita, she said my response should have been, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Dad. That's all I hear when you talk to me that way."
"Ooo, wish I'd thought of that!" I said. "Next time."
Yeah! Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, asshole dad.
And if I should find myself fretting because I have fallen back into the either or habit, I will tell myself, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Cheryl. That's all it is. Because you are love. You are lovable. You love.
I am love.
I am lovable.