Ms. Lessing makes it sound simple. It isn’t. I’ve heard ” be yourself” all my life but I’m not sure I know what it means. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” I don’t think that’s my problem. I’ve never met anyone I thought I wanted to be. I knew someone once who tried hard to be someone else. We were friends for a while but I had to let her go because she never seemed authentic to me. In her defense, she had a great deal of childhood baggage and she never was able to accept and love herself.
So what about me? I think I have difficulty being my authentic self and still being tactful enough for polite society. What you see is what you get. I’m pragmatic; I don’t sugarcoat. I’m outspoken, often when I should shut up. I’m opinionated; isn’t everybody?
I know I’m rediscovering myself now that I’m almost over “the divorce.” And I like me okay most of the time. I can see my shortcomings. (See paragraph above. That’s not all of them.) I suppose I’ve always seen my shortcomings. It goes with being a woman in this society. I am more patient with me now than when I was younger. I make more of an effort to be tactful without being dishonest. I keep some of my opinions to myself these days. I try to wait until someone asks. I don’t always succeed. But I recognize that not everyone wants to hear what I think.
I guess all of us put on facades for different situations. That is probably considered “normal” to some extent. But I’ve lately been examining the facades I put on for my ex. I think my fear of abandonment controlled much of who I was with him. I couldn’t be the real me that he fell in love with because I was growing and changing. And I think I feared he didn’t like the real, new me. Apparently I was right. I’m happy to say right now (this moment in time) that I can thank him for leaving. I wouldn’t have realized so much growth had he not gone. So, thank you, D. I wish you well. Really.
Now I’m going to click “publish” before I change my mind. 🙂