I’m having difficult sleeping. Getting to sleep. Staying asleep. Getting any rest with all the dreams swirling in my brain. Yes, there was a moon this week, not to mention a lunar eclipse, which we all know I’m highly influenced by. Still that’s not all that’s going on. I seem to be bothered.
A few years ago I looked up a woman who had made a big difference in my life when I was young. She influenced me, helped shaped me, I admired her, studied her, emulated her behaviour. I knew her during that awkward transition between teenager and adulthood. I was putty, becoming a woman, soaking up everything in the world around me and she was really the only strong woman I had in my life at that time. She taught me a lot about accepting responsibility for your own actions, about standing up for yourself and not letting people walk over you. I would be a completely different person today if I hadn’t known her. Her impact on my life was huge. She left a permanent mark.
She was quite a bit older than me, closer to my mother’s age than mine, and as I reached the age she had been when we met I felt the need as an adult woman to reach out and tell her exactly how much I appreciated all that she had done for me and to let her know she had been a major influence in my life, that she’d made a difference. She wasn’t easily found, but hey, I’ve got a journalism degree! I was taught how to find people 🙂 So I found her and sent an email pouring out all my gratitude and thanks.
I don’t know what I expected. Perhaps some new sage advice to help point me in the right direction in my current life. Maybe a funny exchange of email reminiscing about those crazy times. I don’t know. But I expected something. I mean for over 15 years this woman was at the front of my mind, whispering guidance in my ear as I confronted and dealt with all kinds of unusual and mostly difficult situations. What would she do? was the constant question and I acted upon the answer. In some ways it was like our acquaintance never ended, but continued in my head all those years. So when I contacted this woman and she responded I expected something from her, something to validate all those years in my head. But what I got was nothing like expected. She barely remembered who I was. I had left very little lasting impression on her. There was no inspiring reconnection. There was no funny reminiscing. I was just a kid she worked with one time that she hadn’t thought about in years. End of story.
This shocked me at first. How can someone be so important in your life and yet you don’t even register in theirs? It was hurtful at first. I wished I hadn’t reached out that I had just let my mind continue with its fantasies, gone to my grave wondering what ever happened to . . . I felt like my experience or at least my memory of the experience was a lie somehow, like it hadn’t been what I thought it was. I felt foolish and stupid. It took a long time to get to a place where I understood where she was coming from. I mean I had been an 18 year old kid, what did I know? How could I possibly have taught her anything? And over the years how many young people have I worked closely with, perhaps impacted in some way without realizing? What would I do if one of them suddenly contacted me and I didn’t remember them or just had some vague sort of recollection? Yeah, okay, I get it. And even this was a lesson from her. The last bit of mentoring. I realized I may have modeled my behaviour on her but sometime over the years I had become my own woman. I didn’t need her whispering advice in my head anymore, because I could make my own decisions. Yes, I still think of her occasionally, but she’s no longer taking up permanent residence in my frontal lobes, she’s been relegated to the back rooms.
So, this week I can’t sleep and some of it is due to the moon but some of it is due to my being bothered because it’s happened again. I reconnected briefly with someone from the past. And everything I believed turned out to be a lie. I was forever changed, permanently scarred if you will, over something that wasn’t even true, was in fact the polar opposite of the truth. And I can’t stop thinking about it. And if that wasn’t true, what other false things do I believe? Who else lied to me?