I care about you. Whether we have met, whether you have hurt me, whether you (or I) like it or not, I care about you.
I have never fit in.
I live in the land of “The Greatest Snow on Earth”, but I don’t ski. I don’t swim. I don’t roller skate, ice skate, do gymnastics, dance or water ski. I won’t ride a roller coaster or jump out of a safe, working airplane. I don’t play kick-ball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, tennis or croquet. I’m not a black-belt in Karate, and I don’t do yoga. While I appreciate athletes of all shapes, sizes and genres, I am, well, not one.
I say “won’t” rather than “can’t” on purpose. I could do some of these things, and have – badly – and so I choose not to. I have physical limitations that make seemingly effortless activities require more effort than I am able to put forth (Okay, okay, there are some things I can’t do). I tried roller skating numerous times. Anyone can roller skate, right? After my third badly bruised (possibly broken) tailbone, I decided I didn’t like roller skating. My first ice skating incident caused me to twist both ankles. I don’t like ice skating. Skiing? Are you kidding? Sure, why don’t you just wax up those already slippery skis and set me on a downhill path of ice with NO TRACTION WHATSOEVER! No, thank you.
I will stand in front of a crowd of a million people and sing or speak. Scary? Yes. Dangerous? Possibly, these days. Worth it? Yes, if I can reach some of those people with my message. I’ll leave the physical exploits to those more capable than I.
It’s easy to talk myself into “I don’t want to” rather than “I can’t” in areas where physical harm is a very real possibility due to my lack of coordination. But fitting in is a whole other story. It’s easy to decide that you “don’t want to” go skiing, because you know you lack the necessary coordination and balance. It’s a bit more difficult to convince yourself that family gatherings “just aren’t my thing”. Who doesn’t want to fit in, especially with their own family?
About twenty years ago, I asked two siblings “If we weren’t related, would we be friends?” Both said no. Basically, I’m a “goody-two-shoes” who doesn’t fit in with the lifestyle they have chosen, but the reasons don’t really matter, do they? What struck me is that two of the people who are supposed to love each other more than the rest of the world wouldn’t even like me if they didn’t “have” to. One said “we have an obligation…” Ouch.
“You’re too sensitive.”
“You need to grow a thicker skin!”
“Why do you let that get to you so much?”
And my personal favorite:
“(I know I just made fun of your physical limitations and called you horrible names, but) I was just kidding, geez, can’t you take a joke?”
How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it!
I can take a joke. I am especially fond of puns. (Two guys walk into a bar. The first one says “That’s gonna leave a mark!”) I can even handle bullying from ignorant people who don’t (and don’t want to) understand my situation. I’m pretty tough. Except when it comes to my family. And so, because I can’t “take a joke” (tolerate being bullied) from the small group of people who have literally known me for my entire life, I must distance myself. I love them with all that I am…and so, for the sake of self-preservation, I must do so from a distance.
I love you.
I can feel you.
I can hear your thoughts (no, I’m not a mind-reader).
I can tell authentic souls from those less so.
I know when you’re lying.
I am an Empath.
I will no longer second-guess myself when I know that someone is being untruthful. I will not brush off a “bad feeling” when I meet someone. I have done this my entire life, often to my own detriment, because I don’t want to make accusations. This ends NOW. I may not call you out for it, but rest assured, I know.
I have spent 50 years wondering what was “wrong” with me. No more. Some are given a gift of discernment, and I am one of the fortunate. From this day forward, God can count on me to use it. I lose my patience in the face of injustice or in-authenticity. I struggle with the mean people whom others praise. Can’t they see it? Why can’t they all see it? I have been told by others (and often accepted it as truth) that I was overreacting. That I need to “just let it go”, and have wondered why that is so difficult for me. Am I broken?
I remember watching Deanna Troi, the empath in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and thinking “I am like that”. Except I didn’t know until very recently that it was a thing. If I had known that in my mid twenties, my life would be very different now. But I know now. And the changes are beginning.
I know that recognizing a person for who they are isn’t making an accusation of wrongdoing. I know that keeping my distance from a person I am uncomfortable with doesn’t mean I’m not willing to give them a chance. I know that I can love people without sacrificing my well-being. I know that I don’t need a reason to say “No”. I know that I don’t have to participate in every argument I’m invited to. I know that I don’t have to justify my actions to anyone (and don’t need them to justify theirs to me). I know that “my side of the story” is only important to others if they wish to make it so. I know that it’s okay to walk away, even when you love someone.
I know that every living being is inherently GOOD. I know that we were each made of love, by love, to love. I know that each individual can choose their path and, whatever that is, it’s okay. I’m not broken. I finally found the last piece of the puzzle! It was in my heart all along.
I am an Empath. I choose love.