For years the books sat on shelves in my parent’s house. Later my collection grew as they became a portion on shelves in my own house, their dusty covers torn and aged from relatives who had kept them safe. It took me until I was in college to really appreciate why they meant so much to people, but now I proudly am the guardian until they are eventually passed on to the next custodian.
“When Faith is Lost, When Honor Dies, The Man is Dead.” – John Greenleaf Whittier
At some point I should have asked my mother to embroider that on some throw pillow to remind me of something very simple. When I stop being who I need to be, get wrapped up in the expectations of others, my life loses all value. Maybe not to the world at large, but if in the course of trying for others I forget to stop and try for myself, I might as well not try at all.
Someone else’s narrative had become mine because I chose not to fight. Well I was fighting the wrong person and for the wrong reason, so lots of things were eventually lost. Sometimes there is no honor in falling on your sword and letting others think the worst of you. Sometimes you just end up hurting because you can’t get that blade from your chest and carrying that anger and hurt seeps into everything else you do in life.
For a very long time I thought of my cancer as being some additional punishment for not being stronger. I convinced myself that if I died as a result, it was earned for prior actions. (additionally I cling to the hope that it might at some point allow me more time with my kid, unless I head for warmer climates?) No one should think that way. It sends you into a spiral that is very hard to pull yourself out of. It takes the efforts of other people that they shouldn’t have to make.
Lately I have let someone help in ways I didn’t expect and still don’t know if I’ve grown enough to accept it. It hurts thinking of letting another person into my world. The simple act of someone offering to take me to the store or just to a movie requires me overthinking that destroys too many things. Someone offering to just sit there, in complete silence confuses me. I’ve lost the ability to just let another person try.
My faith in myself is the question, not them.
I was programmed from a young age to shoulder the weight of everyone’s actions. Some people have used that knowledge for doing good and others have just used it. But that also falls back on me. I’m not a people pleaser but rather someone who will accept the blame even when not in the room. The term I love is “Sin-Eater”, but I picked that up from watching The Blacklist.
There is something I heard in a song this morning-
I’m waking up, from a life left behind. To see what lies ahead, I’m waking up.
Maybe there is a chance that this quote can become something of a new guideline. If I can’t find a way to let hope inside, to open my eyes and let someone see whatever light is left inside of me; then my uncle is right.