"Home is the center of life. It's the wellspring of personhood. It's where we say we're ourselves." Matthew Desmond

For much of my life I learned I was supposed to care about others more than I did myself. I think I took it to an extreme. I learned how to prioritize other people, to make them feel good, and to ensure their peace. Most my time was spent thinking about how to cater to others, to communicate to them them that they mattered to me, and to gift all that I could to them. In striving to be selfless I lost my self. I lost myself in other people. I lost me in their hardships, heartbreaks, and horror. It wasn't that I didn't know who I was, but my self-definition had been relational. I was me, but only in proximity to others. I was me by connection. I was always so and so's brother, friend, uncle, boss, advisor, confidant, fixer, protector, advocate, ally, activist, and, and on, and on, ad naseum until I was nauseated. It wasn't even that it is too much  - it was just too much of everyone else, in directly disproportionate ways, and too little of me. What about me. What about me for me? What about who I am in isolation, freestanding, in my own existence? I wanted to center myself - not be self-centered. Does that make sense? Is anyone reading? Do you hear me?

What I have come to know is that people will survive without me, in the best ways possible. Survival mode gives us time to really take stock of all that have at our disposal - I promise is more than we can ever know. Sometimes we need to be in that heightened state of extraordinary strength to understand just how much we have within us. We are more. Oftentimes my presence, and all that I bring - essentially a one person powerhouse with a useful set of abilities, a welcoming presence, and a unique empathic capacity - usurped the autonomy people needed to be their own hero. People didn't need my "saving" - they could, and should save themselves. People didn't know their own strength, resilience, or power because they never needed it with me around to be those things for them. I wasn't doing things "with" people, I was overshadowing their hidden potential. I didn't give people enough credit as to what they were capable of. It wasn't until I made intentional efforts to teach, pass on my skills, and cultivate people's individualizations that I saw how awe-inspiring people could be, both when given the opportunity, and also challenged to be so. I didn't have to carry the weight of the world, my gift was helping people discover that they could not just carry their own weight, but could process through, learn from, and minimize that weight. 

Living for others is not a way to live. Living for others is not enough. Living for others is a minimizes my own significance. I have to live for more than the people I care about. I have to live for myself, for all that I am, and for all that I dream. There is so much to live for. Do I know what that is? Have I taken the time to really think through it? How am I living my life to fullest for me, and me alone? I started with who I am, and who I know myself to be. I added what my abilities, gifts, and talents. I spent time forecasting who I want to be, and how I plan to get there. Just for a while, I thought about me, and no one else. There were moments of loneliness in this deep dive, but more so peace, contentment, and light. 

I found this deep appreciation for myself, for who I strive to be, and how I carry myself. I am immensely grateful for this life I have been gifted, for who I get to be, and for what I have endured to make me this way. I would remiss to say that I get to be because of all the people and experiences I have had, benevolent, and challenging that have made me this way. The thing about centering ourselves is centrality must always be in conjuncture with other boundaries, waypoints, and bodies. Life is relational, but it's just not about external relationships, intrapersonal connectivity matters. Am I connected to myself, to the essence of who I am, to my spirit, to the deepest points of my soul? Am I present with myself in mind, and body? Am I living contemporaneously or vicariously? Am I a vessel or am I captaining the ship?

I am learning how to communicate about me more effectively. I am becoming fluent in the language of me. I am gaining literacy in all that I am so that I can meet my needs, share my expectations, and reserve the best of me for me, while maintaining the relationships that matter to me. It's become a life exercise in being explicit, sharing vulnerably, and holding authenticity as paramount. I am at my best, and my most genuine when I listen to myself, feel what I'm feeling, and share candidly with others. I can avoid so much hardship, confusion, and dysphoria when I say what I need to say, when I need to say, to those I need to say it to. Self-awareness is not enough, a consciousness to act on those intuitions is necessary. I am utilizing new ways of communicating that are so simple but effective to ease the weight of awkwardness, embarrassment, and shame. I get to feel all of what I need to, while still showing up how I would like to for other people. I am firmly at the center of my life, but know that I am concentrically rotating around those in and outside of my orbit. It's all relative, and I'm relative to center. 

Centering Phrases:
  • Thanks for being patient with me, I have time ...
  • Let's find another time
  • I'm not feeling talkative at the moment but want to spend with you ...
  • I want to be present with now but struggling to do so at the moment ...
  • I hear you, and want to validate what you're saying ...


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