One evening, years ago in secondary school, the Titanic was chosen as the movie to watch for movie night. I was about 13 years old and my whole class and the rest of the boarding school crammed into the hall where a projector had been set up to watch the movie. As we all know it was an extremely sad and emotional movie because Rose lost Jack, the love of her life – after much sacrifice and struggle to be together.
After the movie ended, there was not one dry eye left in the hall; as everyone filed out of the hall, some were bawling seriously, some wiped away silent tears while some just looked really downcast. I looked around the hall and couldn’t help but feel weird. My eyes were very dry. While the story touched me, I was removed from the emotion my 13-year-old counterparts were feeling. This went on for a couple of years – a seeming lack of emotion.
Fast forward many years later and I sometimes cannot control my tear ducts; even when I chastise them strongly, willing them not to disobey me especially when it is in public, they defy me. I am now the person that cries when a movie or book is particularly sad or particularly good (especially if it is a true story).
I sometimes cry when I’m listening to someone tell me about the grief they have been through; I find myself drawing from the person’s experiences and transcribing it to my own and this sparks the most in-depth emotion in me. Sometimes I cry when I am hurt or feel unfairly treated.
Growing up, we lived in an estate where most of the families were very friendly and all the kids and parents knew each other. That’s where I met one of my oldest friends. I would literally go to her house EVERY SINGLE DAY, no kidding. It, of course,didn’t help that she lived only 5 houses away.
But it wasn’t only my neighbour’s house. I’d ask my Dad to drop me off at the houses of my friends from school; sometimes day visits would turn to over-nighters. This infuriated my Mum and older brother particularly… but I just hated being home – my Mum would say, “you just like to gallivant all over the place”.
Now, many years later I LOVE to just stay at home. Of course I still enjoy hanging out with friends but I also thoroughly enjoy vegetating at home alone in the company of a good book, good TV show or good music and something to munch on.
This one I am not proud of; but in recent years, I’ve found that I use swear words a lot. This hasn’t always been the case and I am now aware of the words when I say them, but this hasn’t necessarily sparked any significant change. I hope it would. I don’t swear at people though, I just use the word(s) for emphasis/description.
Most significantly though, I have a newfound respect/tolerance for people’s individual idiosyncrasies. Up until as recently as 2 to 3 years ago, I would complain constantly about the seeming lack of effort some of the people in my life put into our relationship. Due to my passionate nature, I had certain “standards” for friends and I felt that if I could go above and beyond for them, they could for me too. I can’t put a finger on when exactly the pin dropped, but I have come to realise that the few close friends and family that are in my life, mean very well and are loving in their own peculiar ways. They may not manifest this love in exactly the way I might want but it is there and I feel it especially when it is needed the most, so I therefore try not to sweat the small stuff anymore. It’s still hard sometimes tough.
Finally, I have learnt to respect people’s personal choices generally. I have never been a Judgmental Judy but regarding some particular issues and topics, in the past I would be that person who would have that very strong stand, rigid even. With time and experience, that saying, “Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” couldn’t be truer. The simple fact is we don’t have to understand someone’s journey but we can respect it. I am now a very strong advocate of Live and Let Live.
Let’s hear how you have evolved.
“Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always”
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