"I built my life around you".
I have spent years of my childhood and young adult life building a life around proving someone wrong. Standing up for myself, standing up for what I can do, walking through fear, and saying "I can" to myself (even when I knew I was in over my head). It was lonely, it was scary, it was overwhelming, and it consumed my every thought.
But, it also served me very well. It got me through, it told me I really can do hard things. It allowed me to walk and keep walking through fear and it defined real bravery for me. It showed me what strength really means and it taught me that I can. It reminded me I will never be confident, I will always and forever be afraid of everything, but I still can and will do things.
I always had you in the back of my mind, I was always trying to prove to you how wrong you were about me, and although I will never shake this feeling, I also know I have to stop trying. The one thing I never wanted was for you to have control over me, my decisions, my life and instead, what I willfully gave you is full control. Because every move was to either hurt you or prove you wrong. And even though it has been almost 20 years of no longer wanting to hurt you, I still set out to prove all I had accomplished without you. I still clung to wanting you to finally see how strong I am, what I can do, what I have built, not because of you, but in spite of. You will never feel that way, I know you won't. You too are trying to protect yourself and your bubble and you need to feel as though I have always needed you and every decision I made on my own led me down the wrong path, not to the life I built.
You have gotten older, you are who you are, who you have always been, and you are trying. Not to change, but trying to be in this world. Not to accept it, not to embrace it, not to let things roll off your back but to be in it. That all by itself is a major accomplishment for you right now. Me, I'm getting older too and I am headed in a different direction this year. One that reminds me that it is time to put this part of me to rest. And although I can tell myself that I have already done that a long time ago, what I really did was say goodbye to the anger and blame, what I still carried was proving myself.
Because like I said, proving myself to you has served me well. I have felt a determination and grit and truth be told, if I put that down to rest, what else will I let go of and who will I become? I have been afraid to let this last part of us go. As I have watched you age, I realized this is not a game we play together, I am in it alone. You do not realize I am even playing, you are just living. And maybe, just maybe, you too are playing a solo game of she needs me. I do not need to know this, I do not need information on how the game has worked or hindered you. I just need to stop showing up for my part.
I am me because of so much that I have gotten from you. My hard work, determination, grit, sleepless nights, working fingers to the bone, and loving loudly, loving deeply, showing up for those you love, all come from what you taught me. I am also me from what I learned for me. Like to love kindly, to not have those around me be afraid of me, to be open and let them know we are a team and I always have your back, those are things I do better. There are so many things I thank you for, many others I have reminded myself that like all of us, you did the best you could with what you had.
So, not out of spite, anger or resentment, but with love...I am trying to build a different life now. One that is not built around you. One that starts with the foundation which has a mixture of all you have done well mixed in with all I want to do better. This will not be a snap of the fingers, there is always still stuff, I will of course linger too long in the past. I will of course think of a situation that will bring me all back, I will of course be reminded of the anger I held, of the burden I felt I carried, of the times it was just me. But it is time for me to embrace all change, and this is a big part of it. It is time for me to end this hold. I do not need to prove myself to you, I know who I am, what I have, what I still need, and I won't lose sight of that. I am willing to let the resentment go and allow you to think there was a need there, because, in some reality, there was. And more importantly I love you and want what is best for you. That is the meaning of love. I wish nothing but the best of what this world can give you and what you deserve after all you too have sacrificed.
I am thankful for my life that could have gone in so many different directions. I am thankful for who I found and who I hold close. I am thankful for my foundation that told me I should expect better out of people. I am thankful for our relationship and my understanding of what has transpired. I am thankful that I get to wake up and be with the people I love most. I am thankful for how hard I work and the plans I make. I am thankful that I have goals and I am even thankful that I am still scared because I can relate so well to those that feel too frightened to move. I am thankful for all I have accomplished and even of my years of trying to prove you wrong, even my years full of anger, they have all brought me to a different place. They have all contributed to the final product. I walked through a lot and I found love and joy. I found what I was always looking for, family as I define it.
"Well, I've been 'fraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm gettin' older, too
I'm gettin' older, too"