So it’s truth time today! If I had one wish it would be not to have to rely on another human being for anything – ever.
I want you to pause and think about that statement, because it says a lot – and I mean A LOT – about me and most of it isn’t very good. I’ve had trust issues for as long as I can remember. I always figured I would get hurt whenever anyone got too close so I built up walls and hung on to the times when people disappointed or betrayed me to prove my point – ignoring all the times when people went out of their way to help me.
A by-product of this was starting to believe that I knew everything about everything since the dawn of time. It didn’t matter if I hadn’t heard of whatever someone was talking about, whatever I thought was true was the truth and if someone disagreed with me then they were wrong.
It wasn’t until I started college – at 27 – that I began to realize that I didn’t know jack shit about anything, including myself. That was a real eye opener there. It’s hard to go through life pretending you don’t need anyone else when you figure out you don’t even know the one person you do trust.
To say I was a raving lunatic for a while would be putting it mildly. I became even more defensive and I recall one professor who loved to provoke me and actually being proud of screaming at him in class one day. He was cool, though, because once I got past that, at least enough to be teachable, he told me something that changed my life.
He said, “You can draw.”
It probably doesn’t seem like much to you or anyone else, but it was so contradictory to what I thought about myself that is was like someone had thrown cold water on me. I began to wonder and question all of my other similarly negative beliefs about myself – you know, like I didn’t need anyone else – and realized they weren’t necessarily true or bad or wrong or made me weak if I didn’t believe them.
I started small. I started trusting my husband, R.J. We’d been together for about 8 or 9 years by then and were doing okay. We were building something that both of us knew could last, but I also knew it was extremely fragile. I also knew that I was the one that could blow it down with a few choice words and if I didn’t start to trust him that would happen sooner rather than later.
So that’s been my personal project for over a decade now – learning to trust that others know what I don’t care to learn. Because it’s not a matter of IQ. It’s a matter of time. No one has the time or inclination to learn everything there is to know. I learn something new almost everyday, but most of the time it’s an accident. It’s not something I purposely set out to learn because I’m too busy doing other stuff.
But there are times when I relapse – and hard. I’ll give you a ‘for instance’.
R.J. was in our backyard last week clearing some brush and trees and whatnot. He’s been telling me for years that it’s full of poison ivy. I’ve never believed him, ever. I used to argue with him about it, but recently I would just nod and think to myself ‘he’s crazy, I’ll look it up and prove him wrong’ every time he brought it up.
Of course I never looked it up because in truth R.J. thinks everything with three leaves is poison ivy. So I just went on believing he’s wrong, but never bothered to actually learn if he was or not. That’s when it hit me.
I would still rather not trust that someone else has knowledge that I don’t have than actually learn the truth. I guess on some level that’s a good thing since I don’t take everything I hear and see at face value, but I’ve found that it makes me a harsh, judgmental person.
I don’t want to be that way.
And I guess that’s my point. That deeply rooted beliefs and opinions don’t just disappear. I know I’ve made progress, but I still have a ton of work to do. I never want to be the type of person that falls for everything, but I have to believe there’s a middle ground – somewhere I can trust those closest to me enough to be okay with relying on them and yet not get hurt by people who lie as a matter of course.
Here’s to the middle ground!
Oh, and I should also point out that R.J. found is proof about the poison ivy – it’s in the rash that’s on both forearms and his stomach! I guess I’ll have to let that one go! 🙂