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Self awareness is a funny thing sometimes. One can spend a long time, sometimes years, searching for and finding oneself and what makes their self tick. Yet the more self aware we seem to become the less we seem to remember that others might not be in tune with just how self aware we think we are or really care. The more self aware we become the more we run the risk of fooling ourselves into believing that we really know all that we think we do when in fact we probably don’t know half as much as we like to think we do. Self awareness is something of a paradox.
I spent a lot of time trying to take the time to learn about myself and who I am and to learn to rely on my own self and no one else. By nature of my own life experiences I was forced to or in some cases forced myself to survive without the help of others assistance whether financially, emotionally or otherwise. I really believed I was doing the right thing by convincing myself that self reliance was the way to go in life. Simply put, I fooled myself into believing my own bullshit and I bought it. I became what I thought was so self reliant that I forgot how to really become emotionally attached to other people. I denied myself the ability to feel that necessary human need, emotional and physical contact. I like to talk about how so and so is a lonely person or that loneliness can kill and yet somehow I never even recognized that I myself was as lonely as one can be and still be breathing. Again, by nature of my life’s experiences I have learned how to live in the shadow of loneliness never getting close enough to anyone for you to hurt me. Like shadow on glass, there and gone.
Recently I had an old friend compliment me on how he admired my ability to be so transparent in my writings. But one can be transparent and still be hiding behind that transparency. I am not transparent by choice, no, I am transparent out of necessity to survive so I don’t have to keep all the crap bottled up inside. I have been in the dark room with the gun in my hand and it’s not a pretty place to be. I have felt the dark place in my heart and soul and it is a painful place to live in. You in an audience have in a sense become my therapist and the best part is you listen and don’t talk and then I don’t have anyone to answer to at our next session. I simply sign in, write and sign off. See, I realize that if I stay transparent in my words and in a sense put myself out there then you may not think about stopping to ask me who I really am or how I really feel. It’s kind of like hiding in plain sight. I think I’m so good at fooling you that I have fooled myself and succeeded in keeping not only others at an arms length but keeping my own self at an arms length as well.
What, you ask prompted this topic, these thoughts and this rant about my writing and transparency? Simple, some asked me who I really was today and how it was that I truly felt. I had no idea how to verbalize an answer, quite possibly because I had no answer. Then a few hours later a once potential romantic partner said that though I was ‘really a great guy though’ I was noncommittal and emotionally unavailable. Maybe because my special talent at remaining aloof has kept me from carrying through on my previous commitment to get together with that person. Possibly because a part of me recognized that that person is a good person and someone I could potentially get close to and care about? Like others before. Yet the fact that she said that didn’t hurt so much as t made me feel alive. It made me feel alive because for whatever reason this time I recognized what she was saying because I had heard it before but until today had never listened. It got me thinking that it has been a slow and rocky road to truly believing that I do deserve good things and good people in my life. It also got me thinking that there really are no coincidences in life and the fact that these instances happened back to back likely means something more than I probably care to look at so once again you, my audience has become my counsel. It may not have even been as much about that particular person as it was about the idea that once again there was someone out there that I could get close to on any level that once again it scared me enough to run by avoidance.
As a young kid I learned to rely on myself and as a teen I did the same. Prison taught me to trust no one and helped me hone the fine art of keeping people at bay. Sobriety and a new lease on life gave me the courage to change but I didn’t let it help me to trust and let others in again, maybe for the first time in my life. Simply uttering the words, I was in prison, not once but twice, is a major accomplishment in that I avoided it for a long time and preferred to keep it in my past life. But my past life is my present life and those experiences have contributed greatly to who it is I am, the good and the not so good. My father as recently as last night asked me to share things about my life that although he was aware of didn’t know the details to. I realized that in his old age I owe him that much. To finally open up, not hide by avoidance and allow him to know his son.
I have no answers other than I am afraid to get close to someone even though I truly wish to do just that. Inside I wish for nothing more than that. Maybe it never happens for some or maybe we just won’t let it. Sure there are a few people I am close to in this world and those few know who I am and are well aware of my character defects but love me anyways. They also know that aside of them and they are very few, that I don’t yet know how to trust but I mask it as the self reliance and self awareness I think I possess. Yet it’s not enough for just them to know it anymore. No, it’s now a necessity for me to know it and realize it and do something about it, otherwise I will end up just like Mick the old boxing coach I always joke about from the Rocky movies who says, ‘lemme alone I’m just an old man eatin’ a can a stewed tomatas’. That joke can become a reality. How do I know that it can? I know it can because I have seen it happen to too many others I have known.
(To be cont.)