Thursday, October 2, 2008

Writers Workshop Thusday: Hiding

Do you remember the movie, The Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? Well if you were to over dramatize my life and toss in a couple funny wedding scenes, you'd have me.

There were times in my life I didn't hide who I really was inside from a male. When I was 6 years old and the boy who lived across the street from my Grandmother kissed me behind a rock while we were playing hide and seek was the first. The others came later as revelations.

For most of my life I hid who I was in relationships. For most of that time, I don't even think I realized I was doing it. I just thought that I was learning about that person and sharing their experiences. In high school it was all very innocent. Guys were interested in getting to the next base. Pretty easy to figure out. There was one exception and maybe I'll write about him someday. As high school went on though, I started to get lost in the boys I was dating. This boy liked soccer, ok, I was going to be interested in it. That boy liked the drums, ok, I will start listening to percussion music. Like I mentioned earlier, it started innocently enough.

As I moved on to college, my unease with my chosen major should have been an indicator that I was not really sure who I was or who I wanted to be. I dated, I latched on and threw myself in to what others wanted me to like whether they knew it or not. Does that make sense? With B it was the pharma industry and heavy metal and detailing cars. Whenever I hear something really hard I still get nostalgic for the Mad Monk in Wilmington, NC and a bit of head banging. Don't get me wrong I learned many things that would help me in life the biggest of all being this was the relationship that finally opened my eyes to the hiding.

For the longest time I could not figure out why I was always so worried he was going to break up with me. We were together for 4 years yet I was frantic. Ok, my intuition told me that he probably cheated on me and I DID find out that was true but that is not the point (I just like to point it out). It didn't hit me until I cheated on him with another person what the problem was. I was afraid the B would figure out that I wasn't the person he wanted because...I wasn't sure who I was. I was so hidden, I didn't even know myself. It had gotten so scary and things had gotten so out of hand that I was miserable. I hated me, I hated feeling like I wasn't good enough. I turned to someone else.

Unfortunately, what started out as me being me with someone for the first time since I was six eventually deteriorated into me turning myself inside out again. Only this time, this person was completely and utterly innocent of it. If I had not shown such an enthusiasm for hockey, he would have been ok with it. If I had not been crazy about venison, he would have still wanted me in his life. The problem was, I didn't know what to do other than mold myself into someone else for the other person. Of course that relationship ended as did others that followed it for the same reason and I still didn't realize it.

When P and I got together, it was after I got out of an abusive relationship. I was stripped bare and was still working out how to build myself back up. I was working on it from scratch because well, I wasn't sure where to start. As I built myself up, I guess he saw me, really saw me and liked me then loved me. I love him for that.

I can honestly say that at 35 I have done a 180 from them person I was in my teens and twenties (I know you are supposed to be BUT this is very different). Not all of it is good (just ask my Mom) but it is all ME. I am still figuring it out at 36 but I am making sure that I am not hiding ME from anyone anymore.

21 comments:

Los said...

Sometimes in the short-run, it's easier to hide who you really are, but it never works in the long run.

Heck - who's gonna like a Rolling Stones fan, who loves to watch sports and romantic comedies, and reads books on professional wrestlers?

BS5 Blogger said...

Now that's very open and honest and cathartic, and most people wouldn't go near writing such truths, so bloody good for you S'! P is a lucky chap to have you on board.

I enjoyed your post! Also enjoyed your latest Meme - intrigued by the 'Z'!

Endless happy days to you and I suspect you will now build with rock solid foundations...

McBöbø said...

In a lunchtime dash, so will come back to this later, but knowing what a pin-up Sarah Palin you must be for you, I thought this review from The Guardian newspaper over here might amuse you.

PS: Very wise keeping schtum about the whole Z thing!

asthmagirl said...

What a wonderful essay and an expose' that's likely true for many young women as they try to discover who they are. Defining yourself through a relationship is never a good idea... and good for you for figuring it out!

Jennifer P. said...

Being recently single myself, I can already see this pattern starting up in my life again. Sigh. It's one thing to "give it a try" for someone just to show that you're interested in 'their thing'--but losing yourself in the process is a scary thing!

Thanks for these great insights. I'll hold to my core a little tighter :).

Sam_I_am said...

Very moving! You verbalized a lot of things that I struggled with growing up, too. I still have to occassionally remind myself that I don't have to make someone else like. They'll like me or they won't. It takes a strong person to turn ur life around like you did :-)

Jen said...

you and I are very similar. I went through a similar situation. I am glad that you found the man who loves the real you. It is an amazing thing.

Lex the mom said...

You've made quite a transition. This is a very open post. So honest and very well told.

It does seem to take a long time to figure out who we are. It's sad that it took some serious heartbreak & pain for you to discover yourself. I think you're awesome coming out of it, though. I can see a lot of who you are in this blog. That's why I keep coming back (better late than never, that's me).

kccat said...

Great post. Yes, I too am a completely different person that who I was at 18, 22, and 25. Thank god for that. I guess learning who we really are is all part of life. Enjoy the ride. Looking back can be very eye opening.

Michelle said...

Wow, what a revealing and honest post. Life would be pretty boring if we weren't all a work in progress. At age 41 I have changed a lot from the twenty something girl I used to be! And that is a good thing.

L.R. M-J said...

big hugs Z...if only they knew ;) (I love the Z-girl...even if she did date B--j/k!!)...Mad Monk? How about New Zoo?...our friends' daughter is at our alma mater and I'm on her Facebook page, can you say HIlarious to see her life as a frosh there now? and boy do I feel old...we only get one life, live it--it may be good or bad, but find the good...I'm so happy for you! bisous, L

jenn3 said...

Great post. Very honest. I like that.

I'm single and not dating, but recently I've started thinking about how easy it was, 10 years ago when I was dating, to try to be whoever I thought the guy wanted me to be. I hope I'll never do that again. Even if I have to be brutally honest.

Lindsay said...

I loved your post! Reading it I can say that I'm quite guilty of the same behavior; at least I used to be. I was in one major relationship before my husband (and like you, it was [emotionally] abusive). I became very concerned with what he thought of me, and I changed much of who I was (and what I believed) because of him. The only real positive of the situation is that he was into very eclectic music tastes at one point (before getting really into punk...eck) and it made me a more appreciative musical listener, something that brought my husband and me together. However, it left me feeling hollow and not knowing a lot about who I am.

Luckily I found my husband, who loved me for me and loved all of my sometimes embarrassing nuances (anyone who can tolerate an insane love for rainbows has to be a good guy), and his love of the person that he saw inside has allowed me to flourish and to find out...and embrace...who I really am.

I probably should have put this in a post myself, but I felt a real connection to what you wrote. Thanks, Scargosun!

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Well said!

sj said...

i loved this post! so honest... and i think relatable. i certainly have had those moments of losing myself in others.

you expressed it so perfectly.

Sue said...

Nice job, Jen! We are learning lots about you on these Thursdays!

Sarah Mae said...

So, what kind of eggs do you like? ;)

Suburbia said...

I can totally understand this.

Rhea said...

This was a wonderful post. I think lots of women fall into this trap, of losing ourselves and putting our lives on hold to please the men in our life. And it's our fault!

I did the same in high school. I wish I'd spent more time being me, and not so worried about my boyfriend. I think I'm changing and getting better about it, finally, also.

GREAT post!

Mama's Losin' It said...

Wow. This was really interesting and eye opening. You seem so grounded now and like you're not afraid to stand up for the right thing...at least that's the way you come across to me.

At least you had people in your life to help teach you who you're not...P sounds wonderful!!

Superwoman said...

What a coincidence!!

I like you like this too!

It counts, even if I didn't know you before. =)