All my teen and adult life, if there was one description that people who wanted me to open my eyes to the “real me” gave me it was that I was selfish. I was perenially guilty of putting me first. Post break ups, post fights, the other person involved would say that I didn’t think of how they would feel when I took the decision. Many years of reflection later, I concede that to some measure this has been true. I have usually, been truest, only to myself. If I felt my heart wasn’t staying in something consistently or I wasn’t feeling something with the depth of which I felt it needed to be felt, be it a project with a friend, or a relationship with a significant other, or a subject I had chosen, I did end up walking out. My excuse was always the same. How can I make anything work when I am not in it, when I am not happy? Perhaps it wasn’t the fairest decision t make since it almost always did involve other peoples feelings, but I remained staunchly insistent that if I am not giving it my all, then its not worth it to either person- in moments of drama I might have even believed that I was being almost fair to be so brutally honest about it. Trust me, I have received flak enough for a lifetime for it- (no major scars though thankfully).
Very recently, someone from my past, one who I value a lot despite all the emotional trauma we dragged each other through, told me, he thought I had the most integrity for someone of our ages back then. I was floored. Seriously? I asked. I thought you absolutely hated my guts. “Well yes I did,” he replied grinning, “but now that I have grown up, I can see that what you did what right. You cannot do things for others when you aren’t in it yourself. I actually IS very unfair to them. And your stance was right. You should always watch out for yourself before anyone else.”
Said in the cold daylight of msn, these words, even though meant as some kind of affirmation and acknoledgement of yester errors on his part, sounded so calculated, mean- even cruel in their assessment of me. They made me sound like the kind of person who only thought of her own feelings and not that of the situation as it stood, the people and feelings involved. I sat there for a moment, wondering how to reply. Have I changed? Would I do things differently now? If something, or someone, didn’t receive the full force of its deserved spirit, passion, attention and involement from me, would I still stick around just because it would be the right thing to do for commitments sake? And I realized that I wouldn’t. My commitment remains most of all, to myself to be true and honest in what I do with whom I do it- and yes that somwhat conscience-heavy path is definitely paved with a lot more judgement from others, and emotional pulls and pushes and analysis of details, but it is definitely the path I am most me on. Take it or leave it, I guess.