Growing up female is tricky business. There’s so much we’re expected to do, expected to say, nod, smile, grin, hide the negative, put on your happy face, kiss ass, kick ass, love this because everyone else does and OH MY GOD don’t do that because it’s not lady like.
I’d like to take a second to thank my parents for not raising me to bow down to those around me but instead taking the time to encourage me to question everything, dig deeper, be strong, to foster my desire and passion for writing, and above all else, raising me to be HAPPY.
Sure there are things they wish I was doing instead of what I am doing right now, a vision they probably had for my life but they have always supported me…or at least made me feel supported in whatever I chose as my path.
So for me, when I’m not happy, I have failed. When I’m not myself, I have failed. I haven’t failed when I don’t kiss someone’s ass just because I should. I haven’t failed because I haven’t achieved some sort of materialistic goal. I haven’t failed because things aren’t in some sort of perfect magical sublime order (although my OCD disagrees vehemently with that statement).
Things could be better, sure. I’d really love to be employed. That would rock. But I’m not. What I am is fulfilled. There’s not a paycheck with that, no, but there is peace, happiness, and a strong sense of self. I am doing, right now, exactly what I am meant to be doing.
What anyone happens to think of that does not matter to me.
It doesn’t matter to me that someone thinks I *should* be getting paid. Or that I *should* be doing this or I should have tried harder at that. Wanna know why? That worry is theirs to bear, not mine. That worry is not on my back.
I’ve survived hell more than a few times. Yes, others have gone through worse hells but this one, this one is mine. Filled with potholes of chronic pain, Postpartum Mood Disorders, loss to cancer, addiction of a spouse, a special needs baby, divorce, and the struggle to redefine myself after living an a hostile environment for so very long – an environment which I allowed to completely turn my sense of self inside out.
I’m writing this in response to a post over at Schmutzie’s place entitled “We Can Become Known”. Go read it. I guarantee you’ll be empowered to write a post of your own. If not, it’ll give you something to think about for a bit.
When I was in therapy, one of the TOUGHEST things my therapist asked me was “Do you know who you are? Really know who you are?” Then she challenged me with this beauty…”I don’t think you’ve ever truly shown your true self to anyone, not even to yourself.”
You try sitting across from someone who has just said this to you and stay tear-free as you realize, “Fuck. No. I haven’t. FUCK. Who the hell am I???” Yeah. That session rocked my world.
Do I know who I am now?
Yeah, sorta, kinda, okay, maybe not but sorta…um… what was the question? I’ll be figuring out who I am until the second I take my last breath because I believe every experience, every exchange, changes us to a certain extent. Maybe not to our core (although there are those type of experiences out there – trust me – I’ve had a few) but they change us ever so slightly.
For the first time in years, and I do mean, in YEARS, I am comfortable in my own skin. I am comfortable in my own head, in my own soul. I’ve hit the trifecta and baby, can’t nobody stop the trifecta.
The best part of all of this? I’m with someone now who loves me for ME, supports me, and is happy to just BE himself with me. Seriously, y’all.. this is the hollywood ending. I’m not gonna lie and say it’s not work, because it is – but when it’s honest, compassionate, filled with trust, and adorned with love – it’s a hollywood ending even if there is a lot of behind the scenes work.
All that hell I’ve been through makes it worth that much more.
I’m growing bolder in lifting the veil off the person I’ve become over the past two years, figuring out how to translate it all into words which sit on a page (or the Interwebz). Like a giant glacier, I am thawing in the ever-warming world, water oozing into a waiting and welcoming ocean.
I may not be perfect, but I’m me.
And in the words of Amy Poehler (via Tina Fey via Schmutzie’s blog):
Great post girl!
I fully concur – “know why self”
You step up to the plate or you wither away…
If you stand for nothing – you will fall for anything..
Im with you!
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WOW! So inspiring! This post moved me. I will really have to share this with my readers real soon. I will also have to read schmutzie’s post, lol. Thank you.
Hi Lauren, Good to see you again and hear your incredible way of communicating beautiful statements of health and courage! I’m There… in that bad, dark sad place and I’m mad. I’m ready to be rid of the feelings of guilt and feelings of not being loved. I’d say I know who I am. I’m just not living it yet! Now I just have to figure out how to get me from knowing me to living the real me.
:\ I am now a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist.! and trying to build my business while my parents (and hubby) are telling me to get a full time job. I cannot do both. for now I’m fakin’ it till I make it! Miss you, glad you are where you are now! :)
Amazing post! So happy for you! After my divorce and lots of therapy I was really getting somewhere. I’ve definitely done much backsliding. Thanks for the push to move forward on this journey of finding me again.
Backsliding is tough but is often a necessary part of the journey. May the journey of finding you be rewarding and fruitful.
Here to listen whenever you need it. You’re not alone.
Awesome and inspiring once again. How liberating for you! I am going to read Schmutizie’s post and maybe write something for myself. Thank you!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yes – SO liberating.
If you write something, share the URL with me. I’d love to read it!
I definitely need to think about that question you had to answer / think about from your therapist. Right now, with everything in my world changing… and me not knowing what direction to go, this applies so very deeply that (while sitting at work reading this) it affects me to my core and just about brings tears to my eyes.
Off to read Schmutzie’s post… and maybe write something for myself.
it’s a helluva question, isn’t it? Shook me to my CORE. I got angry about it, actually. But it was a question everyone should think about because WHOA.
If you write something for yourself and feel up to sharing, I’d love to read it.
This post has needed to come out for awhile. Thank YOU for writing the post which triggered it. I am hugging you across the Interwebz.
I can tell over the twitter and book oface that your confidence level has increased and you’re comfortable in your own skin. I like that about you.
Thanks, Lance. It feels GREAT. :D