Sometimes it takes a functional romantic relationship for folks to figure out all the stuff they've dealt with in previous dysfunctional relationships, romantic or otherwise. And by "folks," I mean me. And by "stuff," I mean a whole lotta shi-- er, crap.
Such is my current situation with The Guy. A few weeks ago, we were in the middle of a conversation when he said, "Things are fine with us, but they would be better if you didn't try so hard to keep things from me." Or something like that. I don't quite remember what he said because I was too busy being offended to actually process his exact words.
But then I did process his words. And I realized that I might could probably have a few issues that I need to deal with.
Thing is, I've conditioned myself to cover the crappy parts of my life up and make them look all pretty and neat. Heck, I should have gotten three degrees in that! It was a skill that I learned very early on — from like, the second grade when one of my classmates asked me, "How come you don't live with your real momma?" Umm… I responded with a pretty white lie. *Shrugs.*
Throughout the rest of my schooling, I learned how to cover things up and hide them from my friends. I learned how to wear a smile and look like everything's okay even though I was hurting on the inside. I learned how to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself and just "suck it up" and deal with it. I wore my burdens so lightly that they just became apart of me — almost like make-up. Or breathing. I learned how to fake it, and hey, practice makes permanent, so I totally conditioned myself to hide the real me from others.
Blame it on embarrassment. Blame it on shame. Blame it on fear of judgement. Whatever it was, I was very protective of my life's circumstances and very private with my business. But that's the thing about acting from a place of fear and not from a place of love — other people didn't get to know and experience the real me. And that's pretty tragic.
These days, I'm learning that there is some greater reason I had to go through all of those things. Sharing my story and sharing my testimony not only helps other people in their situations, but it helps me as well. It helps me know that I'm more than my situation and more than my past. It helps me to realize that I should be proud of the real me, and proud to share myself stories with others.
And that's the thing about functional relationships —romantic or otherwise — they challenge us in ways we never thought possible and push us to be our best selves. I'm growing. And the growing pains are more than a little uncomfortable, but in a good way.
I can thank The Guy for that.