I probably need to write a good bit more about my mom. She passed away in 2014, but it seems like just yesterday. She was a remarkable woman, but she was a jaded woman. I work extremely hard not to cave into the semi-paranoid, slightly bitter, and isolated world that my mom lived in.
Please do not get me wrong. I love my mother with every fiber of my being. And I fully admit that the type of personal struggle that I have experienced since I lost her has been something much greater than I ever imagined.
But, she was negative. After two failed marriages and challenges with her children – me included; she had closed herself off to letting people in.
She had a few people that she held near and dear. But those relationships were somewhat of an anomaly. They were deeper than I realized, but still limited because she did not fully trust anyone. She trusted me, which was beautiful. But, she would always warn me about how you cannot trust anyone.
I refused to believe her.
But, over the past year, I have had a few issues in my own circle of friendships. It has actually been bizarre. While turning 40 changed my level of tolerance of relationship games, it also increased my sensitivity when things start to go south.
Things that have happened in a few of my key friendships can only be described in two words: high school.
All of this has sent me into deep-dive-personal-reflection-overdrive. It has also sent me to that place that hears my mother’s voice in my head saying, “I told you, Kathryn. You can’t trust anyone.”
While I refuse to believe that I can’t trust anyone, I am saddened that depth in personal relationships is getting harder and harder to find. I wonder if I am alone in that. Do other people experience this? Is there some kind of universal paradigm shift that has people building walls to keep others out?
So, yeah, this is another area that is harder than I ever thought. I want to trust people. I want to believe in strong friendships and relationships. I don’t want my mom to be proven right here.
But, what is the best path forward when “stuff” comes up and gets in the way? What do you do with that? I don’t have the answers to everything. So, it means I have to look inside myself and really identify what I value and be ok – really ok – with that.
It’s ok to respect myself. It’s ok to let go of people who are toxic. It’s ok to part ways with people whose honesty and integrity are not well-matched with me.
I just have to remind myself to do it with love. But, I am imperfect and sometimes my departure isn’t smooth. I have to forgive myself. I have to forgive them. Sometimes it isn’t going to feel fair and that’s ok. Lastly, I have to remind myself that it is ok to trust people; even when things turn out differently than I had hoped. And, at the very least, it makes me think of an awesome TLC song.
Sorry, mom. I still disagree with you on this one. But, I understand where you were coming from.