As my blog states, I am on a journey, a path less taken, to rediscover who I am and to relearn to BE who I am. What does that mean exactly? I mean I hear people say it all the time.. “I took vacation to rediscover who I am, or I took a break from my life to rediscover who I am.” Is it that easy… just taking a vacation and come home all self discovered?
I spent all day yesterday reflecting on this… who Am I? I looked at family photos and read about my family heritage and tried to reintroduce myself to me. I have been doing a lot of inner child work the past couple of years so I thought this would be easy, a quick glance in the mirror and I would be “home”. I discovered that I have way too many layers to get this done in a lifetime LOL.
I thought I knew who I was. I mean… I am a mother, a daughter,a grand-daughter, a grand mother, a sister, a friend, and I am a nurse, a bariatric patient, a speaker, and I am ___________________fill in the blank. Maybe chameleon is the perfect word for the blank. I have spent a lot of time trying to be what others wanted me to be, and I spent a lot of time trying to be what “I thought” others wanted me to be.
As a child growing up in the Mountains of West Virginia, I was pretty much carefree. I was one of those kids that could spend the day in the woods watching the water in the stream and talking to the animals. Somehow, I never thought of the idea of writing a book called the horse whisperer and having a movie written about it, or I would be rich by now too. LOL, but money isn’t everything. That is what I keep telling myself, but the fact of the matter is it takes a certain amount of money to live, pay bills and to be in a position to be your authentic self and express yourself.
I grew up with a simple life as a child, and often that life is misunderstood and thought of as “poor”.More often than not, I was barefoot. My clothes usually dirty from a day of catching salamanders at the stream, and collecting turtles for the plastic pool. Holes in my clothes were a necessity it was a built in air conditioner for my many hours of traveling on the path to the grapevines, where I would fly away to another world on a daily basis. I was a little kid with a BIG imagination.
My father worked in the coal mines, he was a chief electrician, and at times a Fire Boss. That job afforded my family the luxury of having a nice income, but my father was never home. He worked 6-7 days a week and averaged 12 hour days. I remember sitting up at night with the hall light on waiting until he came in so I could see him before I went to sleep. He would scold me a little bit and ask me what I was doing awake, it was past my bedtime. I was just glad to see him, because working in the mines is a dangerous job. Thank God my dad always came home alive from the mines, because many did not.
I had hidden my eating disorders by time I was in the 5th grade. I was a professional binge eater, but mastering the purge part was hard for me. I despise throwing up, so I would binge and not be able to purge so well. I suppose that is good for my teeth, later in life I had a very close friend who I shared many good times and laughter with. She has issues with the enamel on her teeth as an adult now, due to the purging part of the eating disorder. For me, I purged via laxatives. I would take a bottle of laxatives at the time. Not pleasant, no, but it was the only thing I could think of at that time. My creativity was quite messy.
My dad wanted to send me to college to be a Registered Nurse, it was his dream for me. He worked very hard in the mines so he could send my brother and I to college. He wanted a better life for us than a job of Coal Mining. The problem, I didn’t want to be a registered nurse, I wanted to be a mommy. I could not wait to get married and have babies. I chose LPN school because I would graduate quicker. It seemed like a good plan, and I was pregnant and married within 3 months of getting my LPN.
Not, a good plan. I think in my mind, I seriously thought I could go out and pick out a husband rather quickly and it would be a perfect marriage. This is called fantasy… and you know that thing I complain about….” that I spent too long trying to be what others WANT me to be”….HELLO… I am guilty of it… I wanted to “change him”…..I had a fantasy of a perfect marriage but in order for that to happen, he would have to stop drinking every night, he would have to be faithful to me, he would have to be kinder to people…. “I expected too much by expecting him to change to my “fantasy” of him, and made it my priority to change him”
Ha… I am guilty of my own pet peeve…. Damn self discovery is not always the serene poster of meditation that we imagine…It is okay though being aware of my tendencies is a huge step, I can not complain. Seriously, who was I to tell him he could not drink? He could not have affairs with other women? Who was I to tell him he better not hit me again? It is who he is, and I knew that when I met him. So it wasn’t his fault I decided that I could “love him” enough to change him…..
My vision was a dream of bearing children and an ivy covered home with a husband that loved me. My reality was having babies in a house that was in turmoil. How did I handle that? I lied and acted like life was great. I lied when I went to ER to see if my shoulder was broken and told them I FELL down the steps. After all it was too hard to admit that I had made a mistake. But, in reality these were all my choices.
Sometimes my “I will show you just watch me, tough as nails attitude—–screws me!”
I chose to stick around in this marriage for 17 years. Yes, I made the choice…. I could not perceive any way out, and sort of adopted the policy that if I chose it I deserved it. I know, I know, I can hear the violin music playing in the background too. I have never been able to view this situation in a healthy/balanced way. In the past I have viewed it from a victim’s point of view and I have looked at it from a very judgmental point of view.
After several years of healing and viewing this differently, I can look at it for what it is. I made choices that were more like reactions. Once I got on that path… my stubbornness kept me on it.I did the best I could do with what I knew at the time, and I realize that now. Instead of judging the “me” that was making these choices, I try to look at it as if my daughter or my friend were in this situation what would I do?
I would love them, and be there to listen and to support them. To hold a place in my heart for them as they talked and shared their words. It is always much easier to do for other people, but hard to do for ourselves.
Now is the time for forgiveness… I never understood this concept until lately…Forgiveness is a great tool in self discovery….
So the lesson I can see for myself in this blog entry comes to me with great clarity… I am on a path of self discovery, and to better understand my life…. and how I made choices that I have made.. is to look at the most important person in self-discovery… SELF and to see what role I played in my own life, my own decisions and to be curious with my SELF and instead of placing judgment, to be curious with myself…
So, I am still walking on my path… Teresa is still on her journey home… and I would like to invite you to join me… share your journey as well …Let’s all work together and walk each other home.
Hugs ( I am a hugger, what can I say?)