You’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It seems as if we’ve always been together. Even when you weren’t physically present, or I wasn’t paying attention, you were never far away.
There was a time when I was afraid of you. Your temper and recklessness frightened me, and how it seemed like you could dictate how I should act at any given moment. Your lows, your highs, I was there for them all. I never left your side, just like you never gave me the choice of you leaving mine.
The thing is, times have changed. I’m older now, wiser now, more experienced now, and I realize that it is my choice how much you are present in my life. Whether you are physically here or not, you will always be a part of my world, because you always have been. In many ways, I am grateful for that. You have taught me things that I couldn’t possibly have learned on my own. You have taught me patience, the value of hard work, that I will have hard times, and also that I will overcome those hard times.
But you don’t own me.
I am me. I cannot do anything about the past, but I have full control of my present, and my future. Blaming me for whatever happens to you is as futile as me blaming you for what happens to me. The blame serves no purpose, and doesn’t change anything. I choose to include you in my life as I see fit. Maybe I choose to have you attached to me, or just around to make a point when I need your input, or maybe there are times that I celebrate you and the community that you’ve inspired. But I refuse to carry on as if you are more important than I am.
I MUST come first. You don’t own me.
If I’m being totally honest, I don’t really mind sharing my world with you. Through you, I have met so many wonderful people who mean the absolute world to me. I wouldn’t have met them without you. Just like you, they inspire me to do better. They inspire me to rise up from all the things that hold me back. They inspire me to accept the things I cannot change, they give me the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I’m learning the pattern of things as time goes by, and how to anticipate what is going to happen next. Still, I stumble. As much knowledge and foresight as I have, things that are completely outside of my control happen, and often I am asked to take on the responsibility of those consequences, as if they were somehow my fault. I feel like you put that burden on me more often than not.
Still, you don’t own me.
I can carry the burden. I’ve got an army of people behind me that will not let me fall down. I know who I am, and I know who I am not.
I don’t always know who you are. But no matter what form you take, everything you throw at me just makes me that much stronger, because I am in control.
You. Don’t. Own. Me.
This post was inspired by the song “Dear X (You Don’t Own Me)” by Disciple, off of their album Horseshoes & Handgrenades.
powerful post, martin. thanks for sharing. i especially related to the “consequences are not my fault” bit. and thanks for the musical accompaniment as well. because until i heard it, i was hearing the lesley gore version of a song by a similar name in my head. and while that is an awesome tune, the one you posted is much more relevant. 🙂
i know i said it already, but what a powerful post, my friend. i’m so glad you decided to publish it.
i am certain that this post has helped people. thanks for sharing.