Friday, January 25, 2008
Insecurities . . .
I exchanged e-mails with an old friend yesterday for the first time in a long time.
I have completely lost touch with her for various reasons and we don't "know" each other at all any more. I don't know her at least. We have spent NO time together in two years and we have not spoken in almost as long. I have moved a few times and taken new jobs and have had surgery and lost 200 pounds and we became parents and she and her husband moved and recently found out they would soon be parents and blah, blah, blah.
To an outside observer, all of these changes in one side of a friendship are often enough to permanently effect the dynamic of the friendship but when BOTH sides of the relationship go through that many changes, without constant contact and communication and "work" on the friendship - it is just too much.
But when you are inside the relationship - you don't really see it. You don't really understand that all these changes are huge and that the person you know/knew is not the same any more and you are left sort of scratching your head at how you could have been so close for so long and not even know the other person at all. We didn't do the work.
For me, the interactions I had yesterday with her bring up a lot of the insecurities that fueled me as a heavier man and plague me as a man who is getting smaller physically but still needs to grow emotionally and mentally. My estranged friend knew me in high school and all the way through when I first found out I would become a parent (those many years were largely just me gaining weight, getting more depressed and shirking my general responsibilities to be a good person). I have been on the upswing pretty much the entire time we have been apart from each other, frankly.
Little things were said - that maybe it was just assumed that I would never get married and become a parent (my insecurities pounce . . . WHY? Because I was a fat pariah that was unworthy of the love of another or the responsibility of a parent? Because you are sooooo much better than me to deserve and have these things be expected for you?) or that perhaps the "new" me needs to understand that I still have debts to pay and burdens to carry for the "old" me (again with my little, nasty, petty, childish voice . . . WHY? I have lost 200 pounds, moved 1,500 miles, I have a child and a job and a wife that dictate who I am . . . you don't even KNOW me any more - what do I owe you now for what might have happened then? And what the heck do I owe you anyway? What do you want?).
The reality is that those are my just insecurities taking over. No malice was meant in the statements that were made - no harm intended. To be HONEST - the initiation of the exchange was a note telling me that this old friend reads my blog and was saddened by my old post and that she missed me and that she was proud of me and wished the best for me. But my insecurities took over and turned it all around. I blamed it on knowing "her" and that "she" was not being sincere or honest (reminder - I do not know the 2008 her any more than she knows the 2008 me).
Long story long - I didn't read it as such though. I didn't just take it at face value and move on. Was I right? Was I wrong? Hard to say. The "me" of today - the one that is based on the me of 30+ years that has always been fiercely insecure, has always been a "pleaser" until I could take it no more, has always been overly communicative and that has never been afraid of (and, frankly, reveled in) a good fight.
I never trusted people beyond what was in front of my face and I was a "fool me once, I'll CRUSH you" person.
I am having a hard time shaking that. I am having a hard time accepting criticisms of who I was and how I behaved and the lasting impact that has on people who don't know me any more. People that don't know that I can dismiss your actions in the past as being just that - in the past - without it being an attack (because it always USED to be an attack, right?)!
I have a long way to go. I'm not perfect. I'm still very much struggling with the last 30+ years of my life and I am trying very hard to leave all the baggage that I carried and the depression that fed me to 530 pounds of weight and the feelings of guilt and insecurity and self loathing that made even me question if I deserved my wife or Ava when things got bad.
I am trying to forgive and forget and to clear my mind, heart and soul to be a better friend, husband, father, son, brother, uncle and person to those around me. TRYING being the key to that. No doubt I will continue to struggle with my insecurities and my self doubts and my issues of who I was and that I left people with only that taste of me in their mouth (as I've talked about several times here).
I need to truly let go when I say I've let go and I need to give people a chance to do the same. To come to the table fresh and clean and "new" without our previous biases and insecurities.
Anywho, my journey continues. One day and one step at a time.