birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

When People Show You Who They Are

"When people show you who they are, believe them." Maya Angelou

I initially did not understand that statement. As a child I had no frame of reference or enough life experience to understand the value of it. When my best friend in elementary school stopped playing with me, I made excuses about her time. I ignored her mean words and ill spirited actions. I did not deserve the treatment she gave me but I excused her poor choices towards me. I fought to show her my value in her life, she eventually dropped me for reasons unknown. I refused to see the person she showed me.

As a teen I was afraid to open my mind, heart and eyes to the truth of Maya Angelou's words. I remember a friend who borrowed my new dance leotard. It was a dress rehersal for dance and she did not bring her black leotard. I wore my old one but my new one was in the bag ready for the performance. My friend Tara did not have hers and she claimed to have forgotten it at home. She asked if she could borrow mine. Tags still on it, I hesitated but I did not want her to suffer the consequences of her choice so I gave it to her to borrow. She was excited and appeared to be grateful, and promised to return it the next day. The following day she did not bring it back, she told me she forgot. Each day the same rhetoric.

My mom was upset demanding that I get it back from her as the performance was coming up, and she reused to buy me another leotard. The day of the performance disappointed I had to wear my old leotard. I was disheartened when my friend came strolling in with my new leotard without apologies. She never acknowledged me that night nor returned the leotard. Needless to say the friendship ended.

As an adult it hurt me to believe I had to acknowledge the behavior that someone displayed toward me was real. This time it was with a family member whose words and actions did not seem to line up. I could not get a take if she really cared for me. Her words and actions were extremely passive aggressive. I confronted her about this and it only made the behavior worse.

In front of others she treated me like her best friend which caused additional confusion. It took years to break out of the cycle. The words were a wake up call and a refreshing smack to the face, "when people show you who they are believe them." Today I am grateful for those words to truly grasp and embrace them. That advice taught me self love. I did not have to accept poor treatment from others when I believe the experience. It allowed me to live a life of peace and forgiveness.

Discipline to Run