It’s easy to focus on our mistakes- to reflect with 20/20 hindsight and berate ourselves for what went wrong. Bring you’re awareness to a mistake that you made over the past year. Unveil one positive lesson from that mistake. How can you actively use this lesson moving forward?
I don’t think I made any colossal mistakes; at least ones that resulted in serious consequences. I don’t think it was what I did that was bad, but what I thought about doing. My mistake for this year was a combination of two things, interwoven together to create this huge knot that has taken awhile to untangle. Thankfully the process has not been catastrophic, yet it has also been very difficult to talk about. I haven’t talked about it, let alone thought about it until now.
The first half was that I hardly ever discussed my struggles with anybody, especially my parents. They, as well as some of my friends, knew that I was having trouble with certain social situations, such as going out on the weekends and being included with specific groups of people. They knew that some of those people (especially girls) didn’t understand what I had to live with physically, and my desire to not use it as a crutch in college. But there was so much more to it, emotionally; and at the time, I did not know how to express it. I still don’t know how to describe it, except that my expectations weren’t turning out to what I want them to be. I thought college would be the end of feeling left out and a host of negative experiences that I had when I was younger. But the truth is, I was still dealing with that kind of crap and I absolutely hated it. Not the actual crap itself, but the fact that it was still happening
I was scared and stubborn, so most of the time I tried to put on a brave face. I tried to act like I knew how to handle it, and most of the time I think I did it well. However, there were moments where I almost felt like I was stuck in a dark room with not very much of a way out; I couldn’t see, and therefore I didn’t know where I was going or what to do about it.
Before I continue, I want to say that I don’t think I was in the best place for the majority of 2011, at least compared to where I am right now. . A lot of wonderful things happened and I felt like I did grow and mature, in a way. However, I was in that “experimentation” phase that many eighteen and nineteen year-olds go through once they leave home. They want to try new things and have different kinds of experiences without worrying about whether it is “right” or “wrong.” Although it began in 2010, it continued well on into this year. It wasn’t that I wanted to “find myself” so to speak. Rather, I was extremely curious about what it was like to drink and party. I didn’t do it every night or weekend, but by the end of second semester I had a collection of stories to tell.
Which leads me into the other component; on top of practically hiding from those that I genuinely cared about, I had a couple of people in my life that tended to hurt me more than they did help me; and I probably should have at least distanced myself from them when I realized it. But I thought of my reasons as rational; some of them were having their own issues and I believed that I could be there for them and help them through it. The other two were guys that I was mildly attracted to, and I wanted to see if either of those attractions led anywhere. Overall, I didn’t want to be throwing stones when I myself had no right to be picking up any in the first place.
So for awhile, I convinced myself that I was happy. From January to this past August, I made it appear that everything was running smoothly.. Yet, in between all of it, there were indications that not all was well.
For instance, the guys were not all they were cracked up to be; they were both in my life during different time periods, but for the same reason: I was attracted to them, but didn’t know if there was actually anything there.
It did go downhill, eventually. The first one took awhile because we were constantly going back and forth about whether or not we should be in each other’s lives; it was always yes, then no. I finally walked away because I couldn’t taking wondering whether or not he actually cared.
The next guy…well, we talked, but never really got to hang out together. He was always inviting me out but then ditching me in one way or the other. I can’t say very much about that particular situation, since I never did find out why. It might have been beneficial to bring it up, so that I could at least speak up for myself. After awhile, I realized that’s just who he was and that talking about it wasn’t going to do any good.
And I suppose I should be thankful that neither of them are a part of my life, considering what could have easily happened. I don’t want to get into the details, but I will say that none of it would have turned out for the better.
In regards to the other two, I’m presently in the midst of dealing with that. It has become too painful to be close to them, but I’m having a hard time letting go because of the history that we have together. I realize that everyone has their flaws and makes their share of bad choices; but it has gotten to where I feel like I can’t do a whole lot of good by being involved; not to mention that it has caused me to stress out and hurt way more than I should be. It does seem a little selfish, but as I’ve said before, what’s the point of trying to take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself first?
When I look back on those last couple of months, I see things that could have easily become disasters but actually turned out to be blessings in disguise. Don’t get me wrong, I have wonderful memories and do not regret those relationships as a whole. Yet as I think about it now, I understand that a lot of it was me trying to find happiness in all the wrong ways. More so, I was running away from my personal issues and just wanting to ultimately forget about them through those friends.
I have learned a lot of positive lessons from all of it; As I move in to 2012, I know that I need to develop thicker skin and be more willing to let go. Instead of looking for distractions, I discuss my thoughts openly with those that I feel comfortable with.
In hindsight, this whole whatever you want to call it shouldn’t be a big deal. As I see it, it was a big deal because it was out of character for me. I thought about doing things that with a clear mind, would have not even considered. As vague as that sounds, there are details that I just don’t want to share right now.
The important thing is that I feel like I am now in a place where I’ve gotten to know myself and I recognize what is and isn’t right for me. You have to know your limits and how much you can take, both physically and emotionally. Otherwise, you might find yourself hitting bottom, and in a way that doesn’t allow you to get back up.