“I think I’ll have a snack,” I said to myself.
I opened the fridge and pulled out the lemon meringue pie. The thought of eating this tart, lemony goodness made my mouth water. I could not wait to cut a slice. So, I didn’t.
I sat down and ate the whole thing!
We agreed to meet for drinks on a hot summer evening. On his way home from work, I could expect him to be dressed for construction work. As I walked from my car, I didn’t have far to look. He was sitting on the stairs. Smoking a cigarette he watched me cross the parking lot. He smiled. I smiled back.
We went inside and sat on the patio sipping our drinks. We made small talk while we sized each other up. I wasn’t sure about him but I felt a pull and wanted to know more. Once I started to relax I noticed his sense of humour and charming personality. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye. I felt myself being drawn in.
As we got to know each other over the next few weeks the attraction became stronger. I could feel myself being sucked into his life. I started to panic. Would I be able to extricate myself if I needed to? But, the more time we spent together the less panicky I felt.
We were polar opposites in so many ways I was certain we wouldn’t last. He was fascinating and unlike anyone I had ever met before. I wanted to know more. The closer we became the stronger the pull. Like a magnet, resistance was futile.
Sometimes life seems like an illusion. We move through life caught up in our own troubles to pay much attention to the world around us. Nobody wants to see your pain. Some people mask their pain so well that only the most observant onlooker can see the truth.
This reminds me of a friend I made in grade 9. I thought she was the funniest person I had ever met. She was a big fan of Saturday Night Live so her jokes usually revolved around the characters on the show. She was a walking stand-up comedian. Hysterical.
The first time she met my family she was subdued but still funny. She had everyone in my family laughing.
After she went home I asked my dad what he thought of her and this was his response.
“I think she’s like a clown. Smiling on the outside and crying on inside.”
I was shocked by my dad’s assessment because I’d never in the time I’d spent with her seen anything to suggest she might be unhappy. The next time I saw her I told her what my dad said. She gave me a thin smile and I could see she was touched by my dad’s comment. She didn’t say anything she just walked away.
It wasn’t her that I knew it was her illusion.
Committing to anything is difficult for me. After almost 20 years of dealing with depression and anxiety, I’ve learned a great deal about myself and what level of commitment I can make.
Too many times I’ve committed to a social function only to call and cancel. The dread, although irrational, was very real to me. I was unable to cope. Caught in a vicious cycle of committing and cancelling my self-esteem suffered.
I’ve lost friends because I can’t commit. An unfortunate side-effect of depression and anxiety. But I am fortunate to have a large group of supportive friends and family who understand. They are quick to forgive me when I cancel.
Now that I’m older and wiser I’m slow to make social commitments. I know what I’m comfortable attending and what I’m not. And I no longer feel guilty for saying no.
The secret, I find, is to know my limits and work within them. This is a good thing and I something I can truly commit to.
A clean piece of paper. Endless possibilities. New beginnings.