Art by Iain MacArthur
When something rotten happens to you, or you are snared in a net made of manipulation, hatred, or negativity, and you finally escape…who are you?
Are you buried beneath years of neglect, lies, and defeat?
Your life circumstances mold you. Obviously. So, are you really YOU? Or are you hidden under all of the things that have shaped you?
Are you YOU because of the things YOU have done? The things YOU create? The things YOU put out in the world? Or have you been influenced by others for far too long? Have they shaped you more than you have shaped yourself?
It’s really terrifying to realize that other people have a lot to do with what makes us “who we are.” If those things are negative, at least.
Let me give you an example.
When I was a child, I was ultra-sensitive, sweet, passive, and introspective. I am still those things (though I am a lot less passive!). But having those attributes made me an easy target, and I was bullied, a lot. For a long time.
A lot of people have had it WAY worse than I did, but those years still tarnished me. Eventually something in me shifted, and I embraced myself as an oddity and became fierce. This sudden change likely startled people and they finally left me alone. Effective. My brain took note of this without me actually thinking about it much.
Instead of having a middle ground, though, I basically became the opposite of who I’d been before that. Years of cultivating that “bitch” in myself to survive my surroundings really suppressed the sweet, happy girl inside.
Let me add in that I am glad I have some of these more vicious qualities, but it took me a VERY long time to calm back into a mixture of the two; back to how I’d been as a child, yet with the ABILITY to be a banshee. It took me about the same amount of time to restore this light part of me as it did to cultivate the newer, darker part.
Then, as an adult, I was with someone really damaging. It was a slow process, one I didn’t even realize was taking place – their dark vortex sucked me in – eventually I was so deep in that I was gasping to surface, and did some crazy things to bail myself out.
After four years of slow regression, I am only now beginning to surface from the negative influence I was around so much. It’s been a year. I am still working on rebecoming who I resurfaced as before.
So the point of this story is to show you that who you surround yourself with is going to determine so, so much of your life. Do you even KNOW who you are? Who were you as a child? What happened to you? How do you WANT to be?
You can undo the damage caused by others (even if it’s really awful, I think it’s possible). This is also not about “being a victim” as this sort of thing happens to everyone. You really are the culmination of the people you spend the most time with, and how you spend your time – change things. This is YOUR power. You choose who you are around (unless you’re very young, of course), so I implore you – get away, go deep, and really discover who is underneath all that other shit.
Question who you listen to. (Psst: here’s a hint – it should be YOURSELF and you should be LOVING.)