Wednesday, November 2, 2011
How am I not myself?
As I discussed in an earlier blog, I spoke as if I was suffocating my inner self. He was begging and pleading to be let out. Me repressing him and building those walls around him was hurting me more than I thought and I had to help him take down those walls within myself.
I was complacent for so long that it just became second nature to continue to pretend to be someone else; to continue to wear the mask. It was easier to pretend to be who I wasn’t just to make my family and friends happy, but it tore me up inside. I was always depressed. I felt lonely and complete emptiness even though I had all the support I needed from them.
So how and when did I realize it wasn’t worth it? How did I build up the courage to help the real me tear down the prison I had kept him in for so long? I was lost. I thought I had no one to go to. Even though my real friends were all around me rooting for me to find true happiness. I just didn’t know how to reach out to them. I was on one side of a chasm and they were on the other and there was no bridge. No visible way to cross to the other side.
I almost gave up. I almost continued to wear the mask and then one day I watched the movie I ♥ Huckabees. It opened my eyes. It explained so many questions I had about me and how to change. I connected with Jude Law’s character like he was me. He did things to keep people happy. He told stories to keep people happy. He did what he thought others wanted him to do rather than being himself. Then close to the end of the movie the line “How am I not myself?” was repeated over and over again. It was showing him he was wearing a mask. He was holding his own inner self hostage, just as I was. It hit me harder than anything else I have ever felt before. I knew I had to change things if I wanted to be happy; if I wanted to fill the void I constantly felt; to rid myself of the emptiness I felt in my life every day.
So I took steps. I started slowly. I moved to a new student ward and then never went; that way I wouldn’t be harassed by a bishop that already knew me. At first I felt guilty. I couldn’t believe I was doing this. I had gone to church for so long it felt awkward, as if I was cheating, but then I heard me from the inside tell me this was right. The small window in his prison that was opened allowed him to breathe. He wasn’t completely bottled up anymore. He could finally communicate with me. He gave me encouragement. He loved the feel of the fresh air on his face. The putrescence of the hole he was in was slowly going away and he would never let me put him in there alone again.
With each step forward another brick was removed. More fresh air was let in. He gained strength. I gained strength. Each week my emptiness was slowly disappearing. My depression was going away, but that is when my family and “friends” noticed my changes. They thought I was harming myself, that I was doing irreparable damage to my soul. So they tried to “fix and save” me. For a time I went back here and there. I went back because I was scared of losing the connections I had with them. So again the bricks went up. I was slowly building the prison again. I was torturing the me inside again, but this time he fought back. He wouldn’t allow me to suffocate him again. He knew what was best for me, but what was I supposed to do? I had little, if any support. Where could I turn? Who would help me?
I felt alone again. I almost went back. And then I met the one person who gave me more support than I could have ever asked for. He was there for me. He saw me through my darkest times. He listened to me. He helped me be strong. He gave me the support I needed. He helped me build the bridge to the other side of the chasm. He was there when I needed to cry to let out the rage I felt inside. He saved me and did more for me than he will ever know. His name is Josh. I consider him my “other” (a term from the movie I ♥ Huckabees). He was there through it all. He helped me dismantle.
I owe a lot of my happiness and completeness to him. He helped me see there was another way, that I did not have to destroy myself to make others happy. I could be myself and I did not have to wear the mask anymore. I no longer had to carry on the facade. I was able to fight back. With every step I took backward I was able to take two steps forward. He pushed me forward when I was about to give up. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it was worth it. The biggest obstacles always come with the greatest and most fulfilling rewards. My rewards were my happiness, my completeness, and the world’s greatest friend.
And so started my journey to be myself. I gained confidence. I was able to stand up to my “friends” and family. I eventually let them know my real stance on faith and church and god. I had more strength than ever. I still battle them to this day. I lost some fights and lost many “friends,” but I never lost the war. I still have to defend my happiness to them, but my inner self is completely free. He no longer hides behind the walls I built around him. There are no longer two Jons. He is me and we are now one.
I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t feel more complete. Every day is fulfilling. Every day I am reminded how being me is what gets me up in the morning. I am no longer getting up to make other people happy. I am getting up to make ME happy.
Thank you Josh...