I was brought up by amazing parents - I truly did 'strike-it-lucky' when they were dishing out the 'rents on the day of my birth. Ok, so they weren't "perfect", they had their 'odd' moments (my Mum still does) but they knew right-from-wrong, taught me as much, showed me with own behaviour - leading by example; whether they always did the right thing when I wasn't around I couldn't say. I just know when in my company they always behaved and acted in a way that taught me well. Respect, that was a big one, and it was always a given that I show everyone I encounter with respect - right until the moment they disrespect me; then it was a free-for-all :) I was always taught I should never expect to be respected though, that it was something to be earned (a bit double-dutch, but it made sense to me). I was also taught that some things are just 'morally wrong'. I feel the morals instilled within me were the strongest of all things taught.
I've lived by those rules my whole life. I've never disrespected anyone (until they've shown me a lack of respect) I've never deliberately set out to hurt anyone, or cause injury (whether physical or mental) to someone. I've tried not to lie (let's face it, we are all human, we are all going to lie at some point, however, I try always be as honest as I can - regardless - while at the same time remembering that by doing so I could be breaking any number or 'moral rules'). I always abided by the "unwritten rule"; the one between females. The one about never making a move on a guy if one of your female friends was interested. It should be titled "unwritten rules" really, because it also includes never making a move on another woman's man (of course, there are times when you may not know the guy is involved, at which point the rules change slightly, and you know to break off contact the second you find out there is already a woman in his life). When I say I always abided by the rule, I'm not being entirely truthful. You see there was an evening back-in-the-day when a friend of mine started to have feelings for one of the guys in our circle. She, at that point, had either not long got engaged - I can't quite remember - to a guy in the navy, so he was often away for long periods of time (this is the same guy I had expressed an interest in before she did, so when she made her move, she broke the code!!!). I forgave her, because I'm nice (or stupid) like that, and I knew he wasn't really the guy for me (he just reminded me of the one I had been madly in love with since I was a kid). Imagine my horror though when one evening I could see she was about ready to make a move on the (circle) other guy! She'd broken the code and now wanted to break her vows (I'm sure she was married). I either had to sit back and let her do so (knowing how pissed off I would be at her making a move on a guy I wanted, meaning I'd then have to watch her shit on him - that would have been insulting) or I had to break 'the code' and make a move on the circle guy (who I really had no interest in what-so-ever) to stop her from wrecking her marriage (they were definitely married - I remember now). So, I went against everything I had been taught, and I broke the code. Annoyingly I found out years later she cheated on her husband with this guy a few years before they split, so I guess she must have always been wondering to herself "what if?"
I had one friend who made a move on every single guy she knew I liked; I let them all slide, until she managed to snag the guy I had fallen in love with, one cold night in 1982 - to this day, aside from Louis, he is the only man I have ever truly loved. I fell in love with him back then, I am still in love with him now - I have no doubt I always will be. Oddly, you would think her snagging him (they even got engaged) would have really hurt me but it didn't; in my crazy mind (although seeing the man you love with another woman is like having someone rip your heart out while rubbing sandpaper all over it) I liked that it meant I got to see him more than I would have done if he'd seen someone else (I really was that in love with him). He never rubbed it in my face either and when around me there were no shows of affection from him to her (kind of him to show me a little respect). I don't mind admitting when they split, I laughed, and when a few weeks later I found myself back with him everything that had happened between him and her was forgotten - of course, he then stood me up one night for someone else and other than some random chance encounters I've never really spoken to him since. I'd like to say that's 'Karma' teaching me a lesson and showing me that what goes-around-comes-around; sadly I know from experience 'Karma' doesn't exist. It was nothing more than me hooking up with a man who had made it plainly clear (not once, but several times over the years) I was nothing more than a stop-gap for him until someone better came along.
A 4 word comment on a friends facebook status last night has brought about this random post, because I realised that I've spent my whole life living by those great morals that were instilled within me (not a bad thing) except I've not really lived at all. I've spent so much time thinking about everyone else, making sure I never upset someone, never asking out the guy I might have really liked because someone else liked the look of them. I've kind of realised this before, many times, but last night it really struck a chord with me. I'm not going to deliberately go out of my way to hurt someone else, that's really not who I am, however, I'm not going to put the wants-and-needs of other's before my own now. I have another 50 years in me (possibly more). I have to decide whether I want to spend them putting others first, or if I'm finally going to put myself first. I believe that's an easy decision to make; from this day forward, it really is all-about-me.
I'm fully aware any change won't happen overnight (I'm not quite as daft as I look!!). I'm also aware that I have to remind myself each time I go to back away from something, that I am not "that" person any more. I'm sure I'll be sharing it all with you, and in a few years you can celebrate with me as I look back and say "wow, told you I would do it"