More than a few decades ago, I was a very different person. I mishandled a number of personal and professional relationships.

Because a deep belief in my own unworth, I saw slights in sometimes the most innocent of gestures.

I mistrusted friendships because my sole thought was that I was unlikable and hurt was the inevitable outcome.

As a result I became unlikable and ended up hurting others. Joe and I had some blistering fights, at my core I knew I wasn’t his equal and I used my anger to try and level the playing field. How he stuck through that time I will never know.

It was not a sudden overwhelming realization that did it. It was a slow coming to awareness that the person I was wasn’t the person I wanted to be. This led to further self loathing.
But then, I decided that I had the power to change, that I had all the tools I needed to begin down the road towards becoming more like the person I wanted to be. I wanted to be worthy of Joe’s love and affection.
I wanted to be clear minded in my dealings with others – I didn’t want the noise of my past, what I had done and what had been done to me, to be part of how I began and maintained relationships.
I wanted to be able to think without suspicion, I wanted to be open to hearing words from others without the noise of a thousand taunts interfering, I wanted to evaluate without looking through the colour of bruise.

Yes I have been bullied and teased all my life.

Yes I have been hurt, purposely, over and over again.

Yes.

But no.

No, I didn’t have to have a future scared by the acid of the past.

No, I could become a person made by my own hands not the hands of others before.

I am still not the person I want to become. But I can see him, I can feel him and I can hear his voice on occasion.

That brings me, not joy, but peace.

Even very recently I had to do what I’ve been doing as part of this journey.

I had to stop. Think. Evaluate. Look at the path I was on. Ask hard questions about why I was doing what I was doing.
Pull back from the brink by blowing away emotions clouding my mind.
And I had to understand the behaviour of others does not give me an excuse to react without kindness or thought of consequence.

I have been working on building my physical strength but the work of building my character muscles is exhausting.

I am 64 and still chasing the person I want to be.

I wonder if I’ll ever shake his hand.