The secret truth about me is that I am not really quite as mean as I actually am. Let me explain: years and years and years ago, I was young. I was a relatively innocent girl, and then life happened. Growing up, I was the stereotypical naive southern church girl that ALWAYS said please and thank you and catered to everyone’s every want and demand even if it was at my own expense. I generally accepted that I was sent to the world to serve and to love people and to help everyone and to make the world a happier place. I know what you are thinking, “screw that!” right? Yes! Because that is what I am thinking now! (Although I am still working on the whole saying no thing.) I was born a “people pleaser” and while we could get into the Nature vs. Nurture argument here, I am going with my belief of I have always been this way.
I had to become strong and fierce to survive. Life offered hard lessons that toughened me up early in life. I had to learn to stand up for myself. I am now much more strong and much more cynical and looking back I wonder, “Why do we do this to people?” I watch the young innocents on the train and I feel an odd maternal instinct to shield them from the world they are about to face, and yet I know if I do they will never develop thick enough skin to survive in the world we live in.
Why do we take advantage of people’s kindness to the point that they transform themselves into harsher people just so that they don’t get screwed over? Why do we not revere innocence and shield others from pain? Because we have resigned ourselves to accept that adult life sucks and that people are jerks and that if you don’t protect yourself nobody will protect you.
The truth about me is that in the world we live in, I cannot be who I TRULY am in my nature- who I am at the very core of me. Admittedly, I really do naturally think all of those mean things that I say, but I don’t naturally say them!!! I don’t hate people naturally- I think I even remembered a time when I actually liked humans. I am not naturally cynical- I can provide you a list of people if you’d like to personally thank them for helping me develop this trait. My natural instinct is to trust everyone until they prove they cannot be trusted, and I’m not bitter or jaded, I am just cautious. I don’t believe in trust at first sight any more.
This morning was a reminder of that. For the next two weeks, I will be working from home, and as I realized how quickly I have become attached to my morning crew, it was a little bit sad to think that I won’t see them or have my normal routine with them for two whole weeks. They have helped me through a tough time without even knowing it. I didn’t open up to them or bare my soul, they have just been there consistently with a good morning and a smile.
Of course I was feeling a little nostalgic and slightly sentimental as I boarded the DART. Good news, however, I had a quick reality check when I stood next to an older man clinging to a walker with his head wrapped in bandages after surgery, I was my normal warrior of humanity self. I turned to the young man sitting down in a seat comfortably, “What is wrong with you? Get up and let this man sit down!” He seemed slightly embarrassed and a lot bothered.
Suddenly I remembered why I became the cynical warrior here to rid the world of horrible people. Whew, that was close! I almost caught a feeling there for a minute! Don’t worry, I’m over it! Human emotion successfully squashed! What was I thinking?