Here I am, a little later and slower than yesterday. Some days are harder/easier, slower/faster than others. It’s taken me this while to show up for myself. Saving the best for the last as the saying goes. But that’s just a saying, not necessarily the truth. Every bit of life’s journey is the best. I realize the truths when I’m here, tapping out my stories. It’s like the times I have coffee with my mother and Tuesdays with Morrie. Stories have the magic of revealing the things we couldn’t see before. It’s in the telling that the lightbulb gets lit.
There are so many stories. Some are easy and some are hard to tell. I could fill a whole book about my neighbours who have come and gone over the years. I’m sure we all could. The thing with neighbours is that when they come and go, it’s often with sad stories. That is how it has been on the street where I live. Somewhere out there, there’s a song about this, I am sure.
This morning I found a copy of a letter I had taken great pains with to a neighbour. I had forgotten the ugly details of our relationship. Reading the letter reminded me it was bad enough that I thought of selling my house and moving. It was that toxic. Most people didn’t really believe my stories. They thought it was me. Some have told me that they were glad that they didn’t live next to me. I took all those things hard and personally and felt very bad about myself.
What I am learning about myself in telling this story is that I had no confidence in my own judgements. I believed what others tell me who/what I am. I see now that I listened and believed too much of their stories. I listened and took in too much of my neighbours’ woes, sadness, blame. Our fences did not put up any boundaries. Their troubles and sadness were not mine but they became mine.
We can gain wisdom in telling our stories. Sometimes it is only in retrospect that we see how silly we are. I was pretty silly, let me tell you! I am but a small Asian woman. I am not all that powerful. I am not God. Yet I have felt responsible for so many people, things, circumstances. It is only now I recognize I must stop doing this. It is funny how a letter can be such a lightbulb moment.
Thank you Ruth for inspiring me to write the letter. I see by it that I was/am a thoughtful and considerate person. I was not responsible for you.