"Finding yourself" is a strange thing, especially at age 38. When you've been lost for almost 40 years, then you finally figure out who you are and accept that person as "right" and "alright", you basically re-parent yourself from the crib. Finding myself after all this time of searching has required me to go back and reevaluate my life from that far back. I literally had to pinpoint pivotal moments, good and bad, in my life that have shaped who I am today. I've had to go back to places in my life at different stages when I didn't feel alright or was told that I was not okay the way I was, and tell that me in that time the message I wish I'd heard at those moments. It's been like editing a novel. I know because I have two unfinished novels and this is exactly why they aren't finished and will most likely never be published. I go back from line one, chapter one and "fix" everything over and over. During the past year, I have done the same with the story of my life, gone back and mentally and emotionally ironed out the wrinkles.
I didn't plan on any of this happening. So many things occurred at once until, like an overfilled balloon, I basically burst and knew it was all over. I was done. Answers fell into place. I could finally see what were problems and what were other people's problems that they imposed upon me. My whole life I'd had to listen to their noise. I was never good enough. I could never do anything right. I realized when these people, who should have accepted me for who I am, started doing the same thing to my son, that it would never end, but it had to end. I had given my life to my children and have worked on building confidence in them from day one. I wasn't going to let people who thought it was okay to do that to a child, do it to mine. When I finally stood up for myself in standing up for him, they distanced themselves from me. When this happened, I was surprised to find that I very quickly began to feel relief. I realized that my own uncertainties and confidence problems stemmed from the constant criticism and fear of criticism that I had always received from these individuals. With the quiet, finally came peace. I realized that it was their voices that I was hearing when I doubted myself and if they were no longer "voicing" their opinions their voices were going away and so were my low self-esteem issues. I had been liberated.
During this last year, I've thought that some day I may regret the time that is being lost and I should attempt to recreate bonds with these individuals. I have even tried a little. All I got was more noise. My life has been so blissfully quiet, quiet enough for me to actually think, that I knew right away that I did not want or need this noise back in my life. I may have changed, and I know for certain that I have without all of the noise, but the noisemakers will always need to make noise. I am not wasting time wishing for relationships that will never be. I always waited and hoped for these relationships to blossom into something beautiful, but there was always just noise. So, whatever happens, happens. I can't deal with what they think is "normal" relationship behavior. I don't need it. Now that it's finally quiet I see how toxic it was to my sensitive soul.
Every day is like a new day. I actually think about how to care for myself each day and for the first time I listen to my inner voice tell me what it needs. It was always there, but it seems like whatever it needed was criticized or poked fun at, and I was told I needed to "lighten up" or "don't take things so seriously" if I didn't like it or protested. Ahh...it's so quiet, finally. My only fear now is if any of the "noisemakers" stumble upon one of my blogs. I know for certain that everything I've written would be picked apart, line by line. I never know why it's that way. My husband and dear friends tell me it's typical bully behavior, knock someone down to make yourself look bigger. I guess so and I know I can't change it, so for now, whether the noisemakers come back around again or whether I let them come around, I am just enjoying being the person I always was but hadn't yet met. Amazing!!
I have also begun to realize that, though I need to be true to myself and am allowed to put an end to what I see as injustices that affect myself or my children, I can work on what level I allow these incidents to impact my attitude. I do have control over my environment and no longer worry so much about "rocking the boat". I don't have to sit and smile politely. I did that and it all blew up anyway. Sit quietly and smile politely and it's held against you. Voice your protest and you are criticized. Can't win. If the noise starts back up will I be able to handle it with grace? I'm not sure. Will my confidence be shattered the next time someone criticizes me? Never again. I finally know that another person's perception of me is not what makes me.
"It is when all our somethings are collapsing that we may finally turn to nothing, and find there everything we need." —Martha Beck
"You must dare to disassociate yourself from those who would delay your journey... Leave, depart, if not physically, then mentally. Go your own way, quietly, undramatically, and venture toward trueness at last."--Vernon Howard
"Don't try to fix me, I'm not broken." Amy Lee
"Take a minute to breath and notice where you feel loneliness. Let it come to the surface and honor it. These are the places where you are living half way instead of all the way. Notice whether you can go more into your self or more into the outside world. DO IT. Go all the way as YOU, it's the half way that feels lonely."-- Ane Axford