Before you understand others, you need to understand yourself. Before you value others, value yourself.
I have been busy these weeks, and pretty tied up for the entire year. I work on weekends and weekdays, fly around the world for work, have no break time for myself. I have back pains, and eat once a day at most.
I don’t complain. I don’t like it and think it should not be like this, but I don’t complain.
There is a good side of this: with so much work over my head, I have come to realize that my time is also valuable. And that it has a cost to it. What does this mean?
It means that no matter how tired I am, I will still find time for the people I want to meet. But it also means that I no more believe that my time is worthless.
With her, her time mattered. My time was nothing. I was nothing. Meeting me was nothing. It had no value and I could not expect anyone to value it. I could not consider us equal for wishing to spend time together: she gave me her time. In return, I had to give her everything else. I had to be thankful, even though I spent an equal amount of time with her as she did with me. I had to be thankful for the hours she spent with me in every three months, because my time and I myself had no value whatsoever.
And I covered her with gifts, flowers and compliments. And she accepted them.
She thought she was worth it, of course.
I got nothing in return. Until very recently, I never thought I had the right to expect anything. But I don’t think so anymore.
My time has value now.
I thank people who want to share theirs with me and share mine with them. I know that I owe them no thanks for that, but nevertheless I appreciate it and do my best to ensure that they know it.
I caught myself thinking over how to thank them, what to give them for finding time for me, and had to stop myself. My time alone is equal to their time. I shall not thank anyone specifically for giving their time to me, and should not go beyond appreciating good people. I am worth something… busy, tired, I find time for them the same way they find time for me, and I am grateful for that. But I don’t need to PAY for it like I paid for it with her.
With all the gifts and compliments, she remained the same forever, and in the nine years that I chased her did not initiate a single meeting. I could blame myself for years for expecting too much, but I won’t… because I’ve been through a lot. I heard her words, I saw her cross boundaries, I saw her over-evaluate with words and devalue me with actions. With years, I had managed to mold myself into a “perfect” person, changing my interests, personality and behavior to fir her preferences.
She never asked me for this. She did not have to.
Sometimes the devaluation would happen with words too, which she would frame to sound like a compliment, and which I sometimes would be thankful for, while they scared me and hurt me.
She told me, a growing up teenager at that time, that I was better than everyone else.. and I would feel better than everyone else, but only when she was there.
I was great, in her eyes, and without her I was a piece of shit.
She would tell me I hated people and it was good…
And I began to hate people and be proud of it. Slowly, I removed each and every person from my life, aside of her.
She told me to never change.
She told me no one in the school knew or noticed me apart from me.
She told me only she remembered me after my graduation, and presented herself as a legitimate person to speak about me to others who asked about me.
She told everyone we were meeting, and would act as a legitimate “messenger” from my side.
She threw “harmless” jokes about being surprised that I had any friends at all (aside of her, she assumed).
Only she knew me, only she could know me, only she could represent my opinion.
And I were thankful for “the great friendship we had” and go crazy blaming myself for her irrational behavior, constant lack of confidence about the meeting, which I knew she could cancel the last moment, constant fear of rejection, the need to wait because there was never a definite answer and definite date.
I was the best, the smartest, but only in her eyes. My entire life depended on her, because without her appraisal (and the high cost I had to pay in return), I had to face the reality.
I am glad it’s all over now…
I find time for correct people even during the worst of my weeks and days. And I remember how much work I had to input in return for seeing her for two hours.
We never spoke about anything special, but I would need to get more and more of the meetings. Like drug addiction, this is exactly how it felt. I would get happy for the first few hours, and then the “down” phase would begin. We spoke about nothing, she has spent the time complaining about everyone she knew again, I had failed to discuss anything valuable with her, and she has promised me a lot again, and I subconsciously knew I was never going to get it, but still believed I would..
She would devalue my worries and my feelings. And with time I would feel guilty about reacting and feeling at all. I have been trained to know that I can expect anything and nothing, I have been trained to be anxious all the time, and to blame myself for being anxious, for having any emotions at all. I have been trained to know that my messages may be replied or not, and that there will be no logic behind it. I have been trained to expect anything from the reply, if I ever received one. I have been trained that I could expect a “no” as much as I could expect a “yes”. I have been trained that I had no right to react to anything – my emotions would be laughed at, or we would pretend nothing has happened. I had to swallow and digest…
I reacted to nothing, I over exaggerated, I overreacted… everything I did was ‘too much’. The only alternative I had was to shut up and accept, keep quiet and be thankful. I had to be a good girl, or else I would be punished.
And then again, I did not have to hear her blaming me – I would do the job for her and blame myself.
I was in constant fear. I was afraid of what to await, what to expect. I still fear a reaction anytime I make a decision in life. I ask people for a meeting and fear they will say “no” before they even have a chance to answer. I’ve been trained into it, by letting her fill in the emptiness I had in myself and becoming dependent on her.
But I was also afraid of her. Now that I think of it, why would someone need to be afraid of a friend? Of someone who claimed to like me? But I was in fear, thinking it was the strong feelings I had for her that were the source of the fear.
The cause of it was the never ending wait, though, the never ending anxiety and status-quo of “what will happen next” and “when will it even happen”? She would disappear for months…And write again when she needed me for something.
Only admitting that I had the right for emotions, I had the right for reaction, and had the right to have a value for my own time and expect my time to be valued by others has made it possible for me to reach this level.
I am glad it’s all over.