We see people in our lives all the time striving to fill the empty spaces inside them. They fill those spaces with drugs, drinks, food, gambling, sex, you name it, there are people using it to make themselves feel whole. I enjoy a burrito and a glass of wine as much as the next girl, but I feel confident when I say that I have managed to avoid those traps this past year. I am getting stronger, I am getting braver, I am getting more real. I am getting less afraid. I am trying really hard to recognize my empty spaces and create something that is uniquely mine to fill them. I am getting closer to being able to light the whole city, all on my own.
By nature, I am an approval-seeker. I enjoy hearing someone say that they love me, of course, but those aren’t my magic words. My magic words are “I’m proud of you.” I work, I love, I serve, I take care of my people because I long to hear those words: “I’m proud of you.” To me that is the ultimate dopamine hit, the ultimate good feeling. I wonder what that means about me.
Approval is a funny thing. I feel like the most inspiring people in my life right now are people who rarely apologize. They place zero importance on seeking approval. If they make a mistake, if they hurt someone unintentionally, of course they apologize and they will do so sincerely. But if they make a choice someone else doesn’t approve of, there is no apology. It would never occur to them to second-guess themselves like that. I can’t decide if these people inspire me because I want to become like them or because I actually just cannot ever imagine how freeing it must be to live like that. I have to remind myself constantly to not go to “I’m sorry,” every time someone expresses displeasure. It’s very hard for me.
I’m living a little louder now, and I’m exploring this idea of being more raw, saying what I feel, but it still is very difficult, especially when it comes to things that are very close to my heart. For so long I did everything on my own, and I hid the fact that I did it all on my own. I made it appear otherwise, and I was good at it. To please him, to please my people, to gain approval, I was constantly sorry. Now? No hiding, no covering up, no apologies. It feels like the pressure has been turned off and I can breathe again. And guess what? Everyone who matters still approves. In fact, they approve a lot more. And that feels good.
I wonder if I will ever allow myself to trust someone to be a partner and a creative force with me. I wonder if I will ever find a person that can light a whole city on his own and then will come to me to set it on fire. I am certain this is not something I ever could have found as a younger person; it’s not a first-time-out-of-the-gate love. I feel like this love, this burn-it-to-the-ground love is deeper, it has more soul, it’s a little bit darker. Right now the only thing I do know is there is no space for that. I am lighting that city, one light at at time, and when it’s done, I will to say to myself, “I’m proud of you.” Then maybe somehow that space will appear. I’d like to think I’ll know, and that I won’t be sorry, and that that fire will be a remarkable one. Here’s to hoping.