We're still in the midst of the great purge and remodel to move. One of the interesting things about that is now I'm unearthing a pile of artifacts from a distant past. Many of them I am so just tossing. Some I really should toss because of the negative connotations of the times they remind me of.
Example. I found a set of muffin top baking pans in the very back of the kitchen cabinets. A lady I was friends with for about a year gave them to me. It was one of those friendships I had no business taking part in because it wasn't long into our interactions before she started to try mightily to make me doubt myself.
Okay, so that's not the hardest thing ever to do to me as I tend to live in my head, overthink everything and mentally beat myself up often without the feedback of others. Like the time recently I brought back a small glass jar filled with the most beautiful shells I collected and then found out after I was home that it's against the law to take sea shells from their beaches and out of the country. I guilted stressed over that small thing for a week.
I inwardly go D'oh all on my own, keep it to myself and try to move on. I don't need others piling it on.
I'm finally starting to learn in my old age that I'm my own worst enemy many times. I tend to get obsessional and tense about too many things, winding myself up. Didn't even realize I was doing that to myself until recently.
Back when I had this friend who gave me the muffin tin I didn't realize how much of my own anxiety I was driving, and I didn't recognize her attempts to push my buttons into feeling worse about myself. We were roughly the same age, studied in the same field in college, but took totally different paths in life after our educations. Miss Muffin Pan forsook stability, relationships, money and a number of other adult objectives to live her life as a self-supporting artist. I went the other way, I got married and had a family, relegating my art to a past time, a hobby, and working in another field.
She just relentlessly drove the notion at me that I'd somehow betrayed myself and art, settling for a lesser life, while she'd fully embraced what it meant to be an artist. I couldn't see at the time that what she was doing was pretty sick in its own way. She was trying to punish me for making the choices I did.
For awhile I felt that guilt, carried it around like a heavy backpack of rotten carcasses that really weren't mine to carry. She had me so effectively gas lit that I started to rethink and second guess every important decision I'd made since college. Guilt, useless guilt and feeling like I'd wasted my life. Until one day I started to question why someone who claimed to be a friend would try to push all my crazy buttons down at the same time. Why would someone tell me that my marriage and children were a cop out, the easy way out? Why deliberately try to trigger someone like that,... unless, just perhaps.... you were pretty miserable yourself.
She broke off our friendship and I didn't come to the knowledge of why she had said the things she did until much later. But it made a rough time in my life just a little harder, all of this went down back when I was having the first seeds of doubt about my religion happening and I got so sick from the constant attempts to have another child because of the teachings of our church. I ended up having to have a complete hysterectomy.
For a long time I really missed talking to her because we had so many things in common, that we both enjoyed, not just the arts. But I missed the warning signs that she wasn't the most stable when she started fighting with most of my other friends.
Another sad thing is that I looked up to her for staying artistically 'pure' and her sacrifices to stay true to her real self. I admire that in folks, just not those people that try to knock you down so they can scramble up over you to feel better about themselves.
I do enough screwing up on my own. I don't need others trying to make me feel guilty over my path. Those muffin pans are going straight to Goodwill, and hopefully, someone else will feel blessed, not reminded of unearned guilt by them.
Don't let anyone try to tell you that your path is inauthentic. It's yours to live, not theirs.