We are all selfish creatures. Each the protagonist of the story of life, we see all others as small parts - "extras" - in our magnum opus.
But where does that leave us? Who are we in the end? And are the small parts so bad to play?
Recently I watched as Masha spun and pirouetted in the great Russian nutcracker; An adventure in a beautiful far off land with a handsome prince... but in the end, it was only a dream.
But what of the brother... that small part that we think nothing of. Broken hearted at his practical gift - a sword - when compared to his sisters thing of beauty and wonderment? Who does he go on to be? How is he affected by that night?
People over the course of my life have caused me a great deal of pain.
Those who should have loved and caretaked me, left me to play a bit part in the drama of their lives. A child. A small part. A toy.
But what becomes of those small parts in the end, and what do we do with the unwanted gifts we are given? I took my pain and abandonment and crafted it into a life spent nurturing - caring. It's all I know how to do. I soothe my own pain in giving others what I never had. It's selfish in its simplicity, and I know that, but that is the truth of it. I want so much for people to feel loved, and happy. I don't truly know what that feels like... but I know how to give it. I'm frequently told that it's the family I choose for myself that matters most... and it is a rare thing for me to truly open my heart to someone and call them family. It takes more trust than I have to give. But when you open your heart raw to someone... call them family... and they abandon you in the end - how do you recover? How do you go on to love and trust again?
Recently someone I love cast me as a small part in their lives. While I stood by their side loving and protecting - they were the protagonist, and I - was simply a small part. Someone to leave behind when things changed for them. I took some time to think, to process, to decide. I needed to know if this would change me. If I would go on and look at the world differently. But here's what I learned:
You take that unwanted sword and you learn how to fight.
Did Masha do anything with that beautiful dream? Or was it just another frivolity in the life of a girl? Perhaps that foray into beauty would have changed the boy... perhaps that sword would have emboldened the girl... but that wasn't the story that was told. So he takes the weapon and he becomes a man. He becomes strong. He fights.
Once, I was a thing.
But no more. I turned my small part into a way to change lives. The unwanted gifts became the tools that forged my character. I won't reward my abusers by saying they "made me stronger" - and I won't let someone who threw me aside cost me my ability to trust. These are choices that I will make. They are mine. I am who I choose to be.