Everyone needs their own version of the truth.
As I like to think of it, every single person has multiple personality disorder. We all distort reality so that this crappy, hard, crazy experience we call life doesn’t destroy us.
My own version of reality probably little resembles the reality that my loved ones live in. It probably resembles even less the reality of people who hate me. I am the heroine of my own story, but most definitely the villain in someone else’s.
I want to be okay with this. I am beginning to understand it.
My own version of the story has many edits, many rewrites. And it may be dishonest, but it helps me to get up each day and continue on.
It helps me to love myself—to not give up.
It may be a bad thing; it may be a good thing.
People who read this are going to be of differing opinions about that, but I will argue that it is a necessary thing.
I believe that the mother who abandoned me didn’t give it a second thought. She was so hopelessly addicted to drugs, booze and her freedom that keeping her unwanted baby wasn’t even an option.
The 100 percent true reality? Who knows.
Maybe she was going to keep me, but decided last minute she couldn’t give me the life I deserved. Maybe she was torn up about it. I don’t know, but that’s not the reality that I am interested in.
I don’t need to have compassion for—or regrets about—her. So I believe what I believe, and I am able to embrace the women who have come into my life who are ready to embrace me back.
Dishonest? Maybe. But I don’t care.
What about the boy I loved and lost?
In my memories, he is the tragic, miserably lost figure who needed me to love him because he didn’t know how to love himself. I look back and think he was with me because I was the only person who saw anything redeeming in him.
I know that he never saw much in me, so it makes sense in my head.
I was the one who made him feel okay through his alcoholism, his righteous negativity and his unfortunate habit of tearing apart the self-esteem of everyone he cared about.
I was the one that made him feel worthy of love.
Why did we end?
He’ll say he never really loved me. I’ll say he couldn’t handle it when I began to love myself more.
I don’t know what the real version of our love story is. I don’t like his very much, I’ll tell you that. It hurts. It sucks. It puts doubts in my head about the four years we spent together.
But he has a right to it, just as I have a right to my story.
It’s a hard thing to accept—that literally every single person will believe something about you that is other than what you believe about yourself.
You can be a villain, a hero, a friend, an abuser, a good and a bad person all in one lifetime.
And you will be all these things.
You can’t force people to look at you a certain way or believe your version of the truth—and you shouldn’t. Because most likely their version is keeping them from breaking down and giving up. It is keeping them strong. Letting them love and believe good things about themselves.
It’s dishonest. It’s crazy. It’s real.
Alternate realities are real. They are every single person here on this planet. Every life is a different reality and we each have the right to be the authors of our own worlds.
I hate it. But I am beginning to understand it—to accept it.
Because in my own world, I am not the person who will consciously take away another person’s love for themselves—their stability and the life that they have built for themselves.
I can’t do it. I won’t.
At least, not in my own version of the truth.
Author: Chelsea Griffin
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll / Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Flickr/jintae kim