For years I’ve gotten to know myself as the leather belt that holds together the belt loops of other people’s emotions.
I carry bandaids with me.
A sewing kit.
It seems that in years past, I’ve found my identity in helping others. In being there for them. In having something to give them.
I’ve gotten up early and stood with people on days that scared them, watching for the tell-tale signs in their faces that I was needed – insecurity, doubt, panic. I momentarily carried situations, minimized details, and laughed to ease tension.
I got good at it, and pretty soon it became unconscious. Perhaps it was always unconscious.
One day I grew tired of the song and dance that I’d happily signed up for. It wasn’t such a happy thing for me anymore. I found that I had little identity outside of helping others, and didn’t feel valuable otherwise.
Time has passed, and I’ve been able to ruminate on my needs and desires. I’ve discovered that giving of yourself is a great thing, so long as you have enough to give.
There’s so much more to who I am than what I can give to people.
And it’s okay for me to be a bit selfish from time to time. It’s really the only way that I find rest.