I have always thought myself to be a person who lives life with heart and eyes open – accepting the world for what it is over living in a sense of denial or finding myself unable to see what is so despite it being right there, in big bold letters, shining brightly in neon. And sometimes, it is that obvious. The actions of another demonstrate what is so more than not. The actions shout the reality while the words spoken are what I have chosen to believe.
Maya Angelou stated “When a man shows you who he is, believe him.”
That seems fairly simple. Why would I elect not to believe him? Why would I want to pretend he is anything that he isn’t? Why would I not accept him for the person he is?
And yet, I spent a relationship doing just that.
I heard the words.
I observed consistent actions.
And I chose not to see the man for who he was. I chose not to see what was so.
The reality of that is painful as it is not me who has been effected by my denial but a child. That same child that I love with all my heart. That love that I thought I was demonstrating to her and this man in denying the reality that I was seeing.
He showed me who he was time and time again… and I chose to look the other way. I elected to accept that to a degree and let myself hope and believe that it would change. After all, how could it not?
The reality – it wasn’t going to change and isn’t going to change.
My eyes are open now to this man to this situation and to myself.
My heart sheds tears as it considers my lack of sight – my desire to give something that I could not give and my unwillingness to accept that it would not be given nor could I do anything to change it.
And I stayed.
I thought I was doing the best thing possible. No one was being hurt. No abuse or anything like that. Just a man wanting the mother and not his child.
I waited and hoped and stayed and believed that it was okay.
“When a man shows you who he is, believe him.” (Maya Angelou)
These words were spoken on Oprah last week (while I was at work) as she talked to couples in which the man lived two different lives – one publically and one hidden from his wife and family. I didn’t see the show, but I have heard about it. Angelou’s words hit me hard.
I didn’t try to change the man; but I hoped that he would change; I hoped that he would see the amazingness of our daughter. I facilitated a relationship he didn’t want nor did he pursue.
At some point, I realize now, I started losing myself. Heart torn into pieces, life compartmentalized, I tried to create something that couldn’t and didn’t exist. I worked to give my daughter what I loved with my dad never stopping to realize that she is not me, her dad is not my dad, and neither of them wanted that relationship.
I not only didn’t see what was so… I refused to see the man who stood before me – his actions shouting the reality I wanted to change.
My experience is with a man, but this isn’t just about men but women too. People are capable of changing themselves – they are often not changed by another regardless of the intent. People also show us who they are; it is our choice to see what is so or to deny it.
Living with eyes open and heart engaged – this is how I choose to live. I am choosing not to see something or someone through my desires or expectations – but to stop, look, and listen to the person that is being shown. I take responsibility for my choices, learn from the experiences, and know that as my life moves forward, my heart is that much more free to love and accept others while trusting in my ability to see and accept what is so.
This post was not the post I intended to write today, but it is the post that I had to write today (as vague as it is) after reading Where Did She Go at Serendipity Smiles (Link to be attached later) and What is so in Relationships at Wilma’s Blog on Women Like Me.