[kuhm-pair] verb, com·pared, com·par·ing, noun
to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences
Sometimes it feels like everyone I know, that is within five years of my age is getting married, having kids, graduating school, finding full time jobs, supporting themselves, the list goes on and on. Here I am, however, currently living with my parents again, back in school and totally single. It feels like my pace is slower than everyone else and it doesn't seem fair.
I have struggled with this for years. Instead of taking care of my health, I continually ignored my inner voice as a way to fit in with what everyone else was doing; heaven forbid I stray from the norm. Why does it often times feel like if we do something that is different in any way from how everyone else does it, there is automatically something wrong with us?
Monday night, for example, it probably was a bit shocking to some of you that I shared my full story with alcohol. I will admit, I'm still shocked that I put it all out there. When I compare my life and the things that have happened to most of the people around me, it is blatantly obvious that I have strayed from the norm. Thankfully not many people in my everyday life can relate to some of the experiences I have had.
However, after 48 hours of processing the fact that I no longer have anything to hide, I have realized something that has changed my outlook. Think about this: If I had never shared my story with any of you, would that have made me a different person? Would you look at me any differently than you do now? Regardless of my past, I'm still me.
Give me a minute to let that sink in- I'm still me.
For about nine months now I have chosen to keep my drinking problems a secret because I was petrified of what people would think of me. At first, I thought of myself as this horrible person because of this horrible thing that I had done and it was almost unbearable to even live with myself. I couldn't stop comparing myself to others. My path was different and I didn't have the strength to accept that. My life wasn't perfectly put together the way our society believed it should be. I was so caught up in measuring up to others that I forgot to live my own life.
Even though most people wouldn't choose to share their secrets and insecurities as a way to heal, it works for me. I highly doubt I would ever have been able to forgive myself if I had kept it all bottled up.
Compared to most of you, I am very different; but that's no reason to beat myself up. What's the point in living a joy-less life just because my life has taken me down an unbeaten path? Just because I'm not getting married, working a full time job or have life struggles doesn't make me any less of a person.
Comparison is a thief of joy and the more I repeat that, the more it seems to be sinking in.