Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Guess I Scare People

Stephanie on Bench © Jamie Hack via freeimages.com
While talking to my mom last night I said, "I must scare people."

I said this because all throughout my life, people will get close to me, and then disappear. One instance happened a few months ago. Someone who knows me would talk to me occasionally and reach out through social media.

This person came and saw me at home. I wasn't having a good day physically, so I was in bed. This person's jaw was slightly open upon seeing me. Yes, this is my reality. Cerebral palsy causes muscle tightness and pain that is worse on some days. I was smiling, but I could tell they were unsure of what to say next. 

I think this person - and most people who know me - are shocked because I don't post about everything I go through on social media. I don't "check in" to my doctor's offices every time I have an appointment. I am a private person. I think if you really want to know how I am doing, you will ask. If you don't, you won't. 

Since that day, this person has been very distant. We have not talked much at all. I think this happens because people don't know how to relate to me. They don't know what to say beyond the small talk. 

I used to think something was wrong with me. I can't help that I ask the big questions about life. I ask hard questions about myself like, "Why did I react to this person or situation that way?" "Why am I grumpy today?" "How would I feel if someone said or did this to me?" 

Sometimes I say things like, "Maybe this person has so much pain that they can't appreciate the small things like I do. They are so blinded by what has happened to them in the past that they can't relate to how I am feeling."

I try to be empathetic. I am always striving to be a better listener. I want to be a better student of life, learning from others mistakes, celebrating the good in people, and not get so caught in up in the details of how something is going to happen.

Maybe this is what scares people. Maybe honesty scares people. Maybe stripping off the facade that they have been hiding behind for years scares people. It is scary and unpredictable when you start getting real with yourself about why you are the way you are. But, it is even scarier if you live your whole life inside of the bubble you created, pretending you are okay when you are not. 

So, if I scare people away, good! Then I will know the ones who are left are true. Those are the ones who won't run when life gets messy. They will love me through my growth spurts and call me out when I mess up! I have only met a handful of people who have been willing to stick by me through all of life's ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. 

This post is for all of the people who AREN'T SCARED!