I woke up at around 3ish in the morning and had a hard time going back to sleep. Someone recently verbally attacked me on Facebook and her words still hurt. I was also upset because I had bad dreams and I’ve had so many of those lately, I REALLY didn’t want to go back to sleep because I knew that if I did, I would most likely have more bad dreams. I just didn’t want to deal with that.
So I got out of bed. After turning the news on the TV and doing other morning-routine stuff, I got on the Internet. I felt I needed to explain something and I explained it. It was an apology, of sorts. I THINK I might have inadvertently offended some people and I didn’t want people thinking I was discriminating because I don’t discriminate. Believe me, I have had my own fair share of discrimination – as a girl, as a burn survivor, as someone who is overweight and someone who is deaf. I’ve been there. And I know discrimination hurts. So I don’t discriminate, at all. But I think I might have and was not aware of it and I wanted to apologize and pretty much let everyone know that had not been my intention at all. Also, I may share stuff and not realize it is so negative. I don’t try to be negative. In fact, the last thing I said in my post was, “There is too much negativity in this world and I don’t want to add to it.”
This gave me pause. If there is ANYONE with good reason to lash out at the world, hate EVERYONE and be negative and critical, it is me. I have been through So Much. I grew up in a family rife with negativity, abuse, lies, manipulation, thievery and pain. I have also had bad things happen to me with other people. Ya know? Like lots of other people have had. And, oh yeah! I write books that nobody wants to buy! I have just been through a lot and, to be honest, it’s amazing I don’t take all that bad stuff and let it turn me into a monster. I know I DO have my bad days when my blood is boiling and I want to rip everybody’s head off, but, for the most part, I am not a horrible, evil person. I did not let my past define my present.
Now I did stick to those old habits for a while there, especially when I first moved to Oregon. I was still dealing with criticism and negativity from family members and also I was scared to be somewhere where I didn’t know anyone. I was especially scared and super-cautious, even paranoid, when faced with the prospect of being on my own with my daughter. So, yeah, I did stay with the old me for a while there.
But I got to a point where I finally realized, you know what? I don’t have to be that person anymore. Unlike some people in my family – a parent, siblings – I got rid of that person that I was when growing up in that family. I realized I didn’t have to be that way anymore. I didn’t have to hide information. I didn’t have to lie to anyone. I didn’t have to use my fists to defend myself from a violent attack or be able to physically fight back in some way if I had to. I didn’t have to avoid certain people who I KNEW would hurt me or put on some kind of defense when talking to negative people.
I finally realized that I didn’t have to do that anymore, because I wasn’t around those people anymore. They were far away from me. They could not hurt me anymore. I was free and I didn’t have to stick to my old ways anymore.
I am glad I finally got to a point in life where I realized this, because it gave me a chance to embrace the life I had now and enjoy the GOOD people that were in my life now. They are still in my life now. These days, I don’t have any room for negative, violent or shady people. I will not allow them in my life and if I realize someone is shady, then I sever ties with them. I AM willing to give someone another chance, and of course I recognize that people make mistakes, but if they prove me wrong in trusting them again or if they go back to being the person they once were, I will no longer be so trusting or be so giving. Our relationship will be damaged. It will exist but not the same way it was before. And if it happens a SECOND time, I will write them out of my life for good. I won’t talk to them. I won’t have a relationship with them. I won’t associate with them in any way. They will be gone.
I have had to put up walls to protect myself from bad people because of the bad people that I was raised with. That is just the way that I am and it's the way my past taught me to be. This is why I do not trust strangers so easily. This is why I do not throw myself at just anyone when I meet them. I need time to trust. And I guess they need time to understand the kind of person that I am, too...
So I think that me being careful with people is actually the best thing I got out of my bad past. It did not turn me into a monster, it just made me cautious with people. It made me stronger, yes, and maybe a little wiser, but ultimately I am careful with people. With everyone. I can’t allow negative people in my life. And I WON’T allow negative or violent people in my life. I’ve been on the giving AND receiving end of violence and will never go back to that again. And I just don't want anymore negativity from people. I think I have had my fair share of it.
So out of the shadows of my past emerged a stronger person. I am stronger from everything that I have been through. And I have learned lessons from everything too. There were bad people in my past, but there won’t be any bad people in my present. Or my future. I won’t allow them. I embrace a better life now with better people who I know I can trust. We have a strong bond and I am grateful at this “second chance” in life where I have more control over how it can be a better one.
Zen of Ebook Formatting by Guido Henkel
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