A friend said something to me the other evening over a couple of drinks…she said “Brenda, it doesn’t really MATTER what I think”. I denied that it absolutely did matter, but the more I thought about it, my mind truly opened up. It didn’t matter what she, or anyone THOUGHT. Are they me? Do they make my decisions? Do they know my likes/dislikes down to the core? No. They are not me.
Most of my life I have strived to please people: I am the ultimate people pleaser. I do not think anyone would deny this about me-that’s why I’m always asking people for their opinions on certain situations, gauging their lives against mine, and weighing their reactions to my lifestyle choices. It is a bad, bad habit and one that has me looking over my shoulder waiting for criticism that may never come; constantly worrying about the judgements of others about my life.
One of the weirdest things to hear through this journey of widowhood was that my own Mom had no clue what I was going through, and could not really understand, nor did I want her to. She has always been so relatable, so encouraging, my entire family has been-but this one, they cannot touch. It is something few dare to imagine, and one that I would not wish anyone to imagine. One day it will come, but until then, it is not something I would want anyone to worry about. The action of death itself is tough enough, without worrying about it ahead of the act.
Widowhood has set me apart from most of society. I often talk about feeling ‘unrelatable’ to my friends and family, but in reality, they probably feel unrelatable to me as well. I cannot imagine what I would say to my best friend, my sister, my mother if they lost their spouses. Well, I can, but I do not want to experience the hurt FOR them. It’s a horrible ache-one that cannot be solved with words, tears, or hugs. While they help and ease, we are helpless to comfort. The ultimate comfort comes from time, from release, from faith.
This is a journey all my own. One in which judgement and opinions matter not; of course, they never should have mattered! I strive to live outside the box, to push the limits, to be something different. I have often achieved that, but not without insane thinking about the consequences of my actions, how others will react to that decision, and how it will effect everyone: everyone but me. Certainly I have made many pro con lists in my past, thought about how my life would change, but moreso, I have thought about others, putting others’ opinions and judgements ahead of my own. How does this make me unique and individualistic? It doesn’t, in fact, it steals that away.
How much have I lived for someone else’s approval?
Too much. I think doing what you want is not reckless, but freeing. I can only imagine the beauty and creations and inspirations in this small world would be tripled if people would do what they wanted without the opinion and judgement of others. How many ideas were shot down, and we let that be so? How many times did I give up on something because other’s disapproved because they did not have my knowledge, or dream, or desire?
In this life, in the world of unrelatable situations, I stand alone quite often. Free from the judgement and opinion of others, but rather, just surrounded with the comfort and concern of my family and friends. That is how I want to choose to look at my life and my future. No longer determining my dreams and destinations by the opinions of others, but allowing people around me to inspire and help me achieve those dreams, but ultimately being a decisive dream chaser. Chasing the thoughts in my head that are mine own, those that are God given, heart and soul inspired, and bred to bring about greatness.
I’d like to do what I want.