When Aria posted her “ramblings” I was like nahuh….I’m not doin’ daaaaat! But birthdays have a funny way of making you reflect and so here we are.
I couldn’t have anticipated much of what has occurred in my life…it vaguely resembles what I had planned, more like a Monet or a van Gogh…you know they are flowers but you nevah saw no flowers that looked like that! LOL
As I moved through life, from child to teen, to young adult and now what I consider my “conquering the world” adult years, the way I tell my story has changed. As a child, my life was points on a line: first this, then this, then that. And in relaying it to others, there was a sort of unspoken competition as to who had the worst, or most interesting thing happen to them. So, it was about being born in one place, moving a bunch of times, catholic school, getting stitches, ruined birthdays, Santa Claus, caye trips, death, car accidents, visits to family in faraway places, mean teachers and strict parents. I knew that much of my experience was traumatic and as such had an impact on my attitudes, beliefs and decisions I made. I was aware of that much at least. So, I acted from a place of “I’m not going to do anything that will get me into trouble and make my life more complicated”.
That sounded like a good plan but it didn’t work. Emphatic FAIL. I became an over achiever, a perfectionist, succeeding pretty much at every challenge I undertook which sounds awesome but I was an anxious worry wort, always waiting for the next bad thing to happen. And while it is prudent and wise to be cautious, it is crippling to the soul to be in the grips of fear. That was what I truly was, in the grips of fear. I told myself that I was being smart, being prepared, avoiding mistakes with dire consequences. But the truth was, I was hiding from life. I had to come to believe, not all by myself, of course, in a devastating untruth. You know the one: if you work hard, great will be your reward? And so I did. I avoided the pitfalls such as experimenting with drugs, breaking the law, getting pregnant, failing out of school. But along with that was a great avoidance of many other things and before you know it, I had backed myself into a dark little corner. So afraid was I of being vulnerable and failing that I rejected new adventures, developing my talents, even friendships and I demanded utmost integrity and loyalty from those I did let in.
This behaviour created great dissonance. See, that is not me. Inherently, I am a dare devil. I am a fighter at heart and this role I was trying to embody was too safe, too perfect and absolutely unattainable, at least, by me. I was trying to be Brie Van de Camp and while I have some similar qualities, there is so much to me that is in direct opposition to Brie. And thank god cause seriously, she is one messed up chick 🙂 and uhm she lives on tv. LOL To get beyond this self imposed prison of Briedom, there was something I had to do first. I had to accept I was not Brie. Ok, now what? ARGHHHHHH! Ruuuuuuuuun! My real self is tooooooo much! She is loud! She is foul mouthed! She loves Kathy Griffin! She doesn’t care about being thin! (WTH?) She likes pizza! And sex! And wild children! And gay people! And COLOURS: Burnt orange and teal! O yeah, and she doesn’t believe in god…hmmmm. And she just might be a democrat… o gosh!
It took years and years of lots of painful reflection, stop-starts, denial- confrontation, to get here. It was not easy at all and there were moments when I wondered if all this was really worth it. I mean, couldn’t I just go on with life, prescribed and just put one foot in front of the other, miserable but knowing where I was going? But, my inner fighter demanded more. She knew I could do better and I knew that if I listened and tried again and again, I just might be happy for the first time in my life. Besides, having two girls made it impossible to give up because I wanted better for them and the only way I could do that was if I started being/doing better myself.
See…acceptance is way bigger than what we think it is. Sure, we know what it means. It means to surrender, acknowledging a reality and not attempting to change it. Hmmmmmmm….I have said many, many, many, many, many (you get my point) times that I accept something but then found out I really hadn’t. I would find myself rehashing things in my mind, thinking of what I could do different or how I could get the other person to “see” my point, hoping against hopes of hopes that magically everything would be ok and these people would say sorry and spend the rest of their lives making it up to me… LMAO…buwhahahaha….I can laugh boisterously now but for so long, it was definitely NOT funny.
Part of it was just lack of experience…I was just not old enough to know that some things just are and they stay that way. Some of it was a need to have everyone I love, love me back. And then there was the impossible standard I set for myself that I could get anyone to at least respect my views, feelings etc even if they didn’t agree. I never really took into account that others are not like me, that they have different values and gifts and levels of understanding, compassion etc….I “knew” it intellectually but I didn’t ACCEPT it. And as such, I set up myself for a lot of repeated scenes in the same act of the same play, never really moving to the next phase…Today, I think I am there.
This is truly the best gift I could have ever given myself: the gift of self acceptance. It takes a lot to accept. It is rejecting ideas passed on to you; societal expectations; familial pressures; history. It is admitting that those, who taught you the rules of life, were wrong. It is saying goodbye to old things that no longer apply, those things that can not be relevant if one is to embrace the future and the promise of things being different. You can’t hold on to the pain of the past, if you want to truly feel the pleasure of the present. You can’t fret about the mishaps and mistakes of the past if you hope to achieve true fulfillment in the future.
It felt risky. It was very scary for me to let go of all that I knew and to go searching for that which was unknown to me. There was no guide, no older, wiser leader showing me the way. I had to stumble and fall, stumble and fall some more till I thought I would just lay there and give up. I broke down all that had made me feel like me before, brick by brick, till there was nothing left and then brick by brick I rebuilt, not a wall around me, but a giant stage for me to stand on 🙂
I have come a long way and I know there are still more things to find out and accept and it will be difficult at times. As a matter of fact, I was challenged just a few days ago and I was knocked sprawling to the ground. I slipped into old patterns of responding by internalizing and acting angry and hateful, playing the nasty words over and over in my head till they became my words. Then I gave myself a stern talking to and reminded myself that that was not me anymore. And I had to accept yet something else, that I still will not always be prepared and I will do the wrong thing; but, now I’m not so scared and I am not worried about laughing at myself when I take things too seriously and end up failing spectacularly. I accept and forgive and accept and forgive myself some more. And the more I do it, the freer I become and happier I feel. I am not going to be a famous doctor or actress or whatever the hell else society considers success and I accept it. I have a different definition and I accept it. I am good enough, today. And I accept that.