First I want to apologize that I have been MIA for so long.
After my trip to Washington D.C., I became very busy in the day-to-day duties of work and family, as well as being sick. I have been taking this time to think over what I experienced, what I learned and what the next steps are I need to take.
I will be writing more over the next few days, but I thought I’d share something I wrote in the wee hours this morning. Maybe some of you can relate to my feelings. Maybe not. But either way, this is a glimpse into how my thoughts work. I have been struggling with my self-confidence, but I’m climbing back on top now. 🙂
Who am I?
Which layer is stronger? Which is the real me?
I mean, this is me I’m talking about. Shouldn’t I know?
At 2:00 am this is what is on my sleepless mind. The questions without good answers that tend to carry me down rabbit holes as I probe for understanding. My eyes wide open when I should be sleeping. My mind going a million miles a minute – ideas, questions, fascinating thoughts that seem like they could change the world one moment, then tears in my eyes feeling “less than” the next, and wondering if I’ll ever feel whole. If I’ll ever feel real.
Do other people know? Or are we all equally clueless? Stumbling through this world trying to figure it out and hooping we get it right. Or at least okay.
(Okay? I despise okayness. But there are days when that seems to be the best I can do. But I want excellent! I want awesome! I want unstoppable!!)
Some days – the good days – I think I know. I have more answers than questions. I feel brave, confident, poised and in control. I honestly believe that I can (and will) change the world!
I start to believe that this is the real me. I sure want it to be. I was once held down, silenced, oppressed, and controlled by fear. For so long. Far too long. Now I want to dance. I want live – truly live! Not this half-assed, pansy, “yessir, whatever pleases you,” way of living but the real thing.
But on the bad days. The rough ones. The ones where I feel like a frightened child again, cowering in anticipation of my next punishment, convinced beyond a doubt that I really am worthless. That I never will be enough. On those days I’m afraid that this is me. Is it? It probably is. At least I’m afraid it is. After all, this is what I have been for most of my life. Doesn’t that mean that’s who I am?
Is this the girl I am?
I hope not. Because I don’t like her very much. No one ever liked her very much. She’s weak. She’s quiet. She’s “different.” She has been a rug under too many feet – and she didn’t say no.
It’s a pretty simple word when you think about it. Only two little letters. Rolls almost effortlessly off the tongue. In fact, for anyone who has spent time around a baby, as she learns her voice, that’s one of her first words. “No.”
As little babes, we freely expressed our feelings. Our wants. Our laughter. Our tears. In no uncertain terms we told the world around us precisely how we felt – without fear, shame, or malice. In our little universe we knew exactly what we wanted and didn’t want, and we didn’t hesitate to tell it to the entire world!
But this doesn’t last.
As soon as we begin to exert our independence, it is thwarted. We quickly come to understand that we are not the supreme leader of our world. There are rules. Oh so many rules.
Now don’t get me wrong, there needs to be rules. But rules should be guides – like ropes strung along as boundaries. Gentle reminders that keep us from real dangers. Not tall concrete walls that block the view, confining us like rats in a maze. Those who teach and use the rules should be guides, helping us wend our way through life, learning the dangers, pointing out the joys and allowing us to learn, love, and grow as who we really are.
But too often rules are rigid. They are used by those over us as molds to bring us into submission and conformity. Our wings are clipped, our dreams are snuffed out, and our questions silenced. We are told not to think. The thinking will be done for us.
I guess this little quote my parents used to use is a pretty good summation:
“Yours is not to question why, yours is just to do or cry!”
This describes the first years of my life. Though as I matured I came to understand that crying wasn’t acceptable either. The punishments were still there, the rules were ever more strict and oppressive, but it was all to be taken silently. We were to “Keep Sweet.” In fact, we were taught that if we weren’t rejoicing in what we were told to do something was very wrong with us.
It’s your own fault if you’re sad.
Although I have freed myself from the physical constraints – removed myself from the day-to-day beliefs, rituals, and physical rules – the real control goes so much deeper. Rooting out the indoctrination, lies and dogma that was so carefully used to form my life for so long – that is where the fight to win my freedom is now. A hidden war. Fought behind the scenes. The battlefield is in the turnings of our own minds as we ask questions which were once forbidden, reason out the answers, and then begin the task of unlocking the mental chains and casting them aside.
But mental chains are not as easily lost as physical ones. They can be cast aside time and again, and still find their way back when the conditions are right.
Unfortunately, tonight, such conditions aligned. So here I am. Re-asking questions I had once thought were settled. Going back over experiences, hurts, and pain that I thought were at long last behind me.
But at least I understand better now. These times of doubt, pain, tears and difficult memories come less often, and each is generally less intense than the last. Although the questions are often the same, the understanding I seek is on a deeper level than before. I allow myself to take the next step into the pain. Into the darkness and shadowed corners where for so many years I hid away the hurts, the emotions, the questions I dare not ask. Each time I enter I am able to bring a little more into the light, dust it off and come to terms with it.
In time, I trust that I will be able to look back with wisdom, without so much of the pain. But no matter how well I am able to work through my past, it is still mine. I cannot obliterate it, nor do I have any desire to. It is part of me. I was that girl. I lived that life. I felt those feelings and experienced those things. Each bit added up and made me who I am today.
So, I believe that I am both. I am all. And on any given day I can draw from the well of my experiences the strength to face whatever comes my way.
Yes, I know I still have far to go, but I need to remember how far I have already come.
I am enough. For today, I am enough.