I've lived nothing but change and tumult for these last couple months. And not only because I moved from Seattle to Denver and changed jobs over the holidays, and not only because the aftermath of election day launched my commitment to Never Forget 11/9 and get activist. When thinking about typical resolutions (prune through your closet, get rid of junk, eat healthier), I'm actually doing a lot of them already compared to 2016. I think the tumult I had not anticipated was of the internal and relational variety. By stepping out unapologetically into the sunlight, I found that my light reflected made some cover their eyes and turn away. The more I became the person I am and I embrace the person I am meant to be...the more parts of my former life reject me. And I have a choice...do I reach back out and keep those parts of myself at all costs? Or do I let those relationships pass away with the former parts of myself?
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Behold, God's dwelling is with
the human race. He will dwell with them
and they will be his people and
God himself will always be with them.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more
death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.
The one who sat on the throne said,
"Behold, I make all things new."
But on my journey I've discovered that not everyone who you are close to will accept who you become. In fact, many will do the exact opposite. Some will even argue with you about who you are. When telling one friend about the idea behind this blog, they applauded it and said it's genius because I'm not an environmentalist (her #1 hated species). To which I sort of shut down and said, well I actually am. It was awkward and hard. It was the moment my heart understood that one of my best friends would never accept who I really am. I hadn't changed. I had always been an environmentalist. I got my degree in environmental studies and everything, from the college where we met freshman year. It took a few years for her to finish off our friendship, but lo and behold she finally did.
I consider these moments gifts. I know saying this is not going to be understood by many. But I'm going to try anyways. I genuinely appreciate when people reveal themselves for who they really are and how they really feel about me. It's so rare. Too rare. We typically go through so much of this life not having the truth reflected in the relationships around us. The masks we live in are as permanent as they are ornate. And we bend over backwards to make sure there's no glimpse behind the mask, or heaven forbid, that mask should break.
I woke up at the age of 28 to discover the denial I had been steeped in - I finally saw behind the mask of someone who proclaims to and is supposed to love me the most in this world - and I couldn't go back. The bell can't be unrung. It was coupled with my being on the receiving end of so much unhealthiness for a very long time. Like many of us, I told myself it was normal because it was all I knew. Lengthy commentary directed not just at me personally, but at the things I pride myself on the most. My healthy body image was a target. My responsibility was a target. My education and intelligence was a target. And instead of making me buckle, it became fire that engulfed, ripped through and ultimately purified me. It forged my spine to be made of steel. It made me stand up straighter, walk taller, and find my voice. It might've been a whisper at first...a quiet question over whether...could I...say who I really am? And since my voice has become a roar.
So when people who knew me before pull away from the person I've become - no matter whether we share DNA or are incredibly close - it's an indicator of something I value greatly. It's an indicator that they would rather me be the broken, marginal, messed up person I used to be. That version of me was better or easier for them. They would rather me go back to being that person. It's their truest indicator to me that they are of the old order. It tells me that they must pass away. That in order for me to continue my journey, I have to let go because their weight is too heavy. Their weight would keep me from my future.
I read recently that you are the makeup of the five people you spend the most time with. Seems like one of those hokey rules at first, but when I consider how much my vocabulary and style are influenced by my closest friends...it becomes less hokey. I've become a bit of a subscriber.
Living my values and being the change I want to see in the world is going to take sustained energy. Unlike the old order diminishers who drain my energy, there are people who recharge me and people who supercharge me. Who embrace me more the more authentically I live the life I am meant to be living. They are the people I want to surround myself with. So I'm entering 2017 with a new resolve to be mindful of the relationships I chose in life...here's to having only rechargers & superchargers in my top 5 this 2017. Cheers!