I came across a screenshot on my phone today, it probably resonated with me as much on the day that I took it as today. It reads “I am not for everyone”. I suppose the author might have meant something else by it, but how I understood it was that it’s like saying “I am not everyone’s cup of tea.” A year ago this realization might have bothered me more than it does today. I definitely am not everyone’s cup of tea, and I am learning to be ok with that. I am often that cup of tea that you drink out of necessity or obligation though. I am less ok with that.
There is something profoundly painful about realizing you are being tolerated. Its the type of lukewarm commitment that should say more about the person acting that way, than it does about me. Yet, I am the one that feels the heartache. The option exists, of course, to exclude everyone from my life that makes me feel this way. But that’s acting in the way people describe bitterness, you know, drinking poison and expecting someone else to get ill. Again, I am the one drinking the poison and getting ill.
I am a walking contradiction. I have very social aspects to my life. I love a chat on campus, I am irritating to sit next to on a plane and I enjoy having coffee with friends. I am also painfully private. I can count on my two hands who knows any detail of my private life this year. And it has been a year. I hardly invite anyone to spend quality time with me around my family because my family is my safe space, and I do not like complications in my safe space. It occurs to me that two of my best friends are my aunt and uncle. And they have seen me at my best and more often at my worst.
I phone, I buy flowers, I invest quality, face to face time. Three things that come across as being “too much” in 2018. I don’t have a fancy job, but I work hard. I don’t have office hours, but I am not permanently on holiday either. I go overboard when I help. Like way overboard. I am acutely aware that I am a lot to handle. I am also acutely aware of my value. My value to myself. My value as a friend. My value as a human. I am after all only human. I found myself trying to impress people at the expense of my own self-worth. Making self-denigrating jokes about myself in terms of my career and my relationship status. For who? Not for myself. And there lay the problem. I have been acting for other people. But other people are not there when I am putting in the long hours in front of my books, for zero financial rewards, and when I drove the 200km last week to escape the nightmare of my own mind. Other people are there when my family holiday home is attractive. When I am of measurable value. When I am fun.
So whats my conclusion? I am not for everyone. I am ok with that. No one is for everyone. Do I stop being the irritating person that lets a list of people know when I am in town? Disappointed at the quality of excuses? Or does that list just keep getting shorter? It’s funny how the busiest people sometimes make a plan, without leting you know how much effort it was to rearrange a day, at short notice. And others literally take out the diary.
Everyone drinks their tea differently. How many people have I made feel like an obligatory cup of tea that you accept, after someone has offered you something to drink 5 times? There’s the scary question. How many people do I make feel like my favorite part of the day, the cup of tea after a deadline, with a naughty sugar in and plenty of milk?
I am grateful for those that make life a little more bearable by being present, being honest, and being human. That’s the conclusion I reach tonight.