We all have our own stories to tell of our childhood, some more damaging than others. I am still struggling to put together the words that can move the darkness of my childhood into the light, where I can finally and ultimately let it go and set myself free.
Sometimes it is difficult to do that, especially when so much effort was made to keep it all hidden.
But sometimes, it is easy to get stuck on the pain and to allow our anger or our sense of victimhood to wrap around us as if it were our very skin. We get lost. We forget who we are, and without the very people who were supposed to love, nurture and protect us, there is no-one to hold on to the memory of who we once were. Parents are meant to do that. They are meant to know and understand who we are and to hold that for us while we travel physically and emotionally through life, struggling to find ourselves. They are meant to be the touchstone of our lives that pull us back to the mirror where they say, “See, you are beautiful. You are capable. You are Loved.”
Somewhere in the forest of pain and sorrow that littered my growing up, I grew 8 ft tall and I stepped up to parent myself. I am not saying that I did everything perfectly. I doubt I did much of anything perfectly, but I did survive. Continue reading
Our memories are emotional snapshots of a single moment in our lives. They may evolve around events, people or places. We take those memories and we colour them with years of handling and layering with bits and pieces of detail and meaning.
Those memories that make us yearn with an aching need to recapture what once was, cannot ever be found again by simply returning to the scene of the snapshot. It has nothing to do with a place or even really the people. It has to do with the emotions we felt in a moment during the journey of our life. Often, the very process of trying to recreate what was, shatters it forever. Somehow the idea that we could return is a greater comfort than the failed attempt to do exactly that.
Going back leads us to stand in our past. What we saw and knew as a child is often explained. The magic is lost and our own growth and understanding lend shading and depth to it that we see now because we have matured and are now capable of understanding. The huge tree we used to climb almost to the sky, where we would sit for hours, is actually a pretty average old tree of no real consequence. Our first kiss can never be re-experienced because everything in that moment was coloured with the sensory overload of new emotions. The very air we breathed seemed full of promises and all the hopes and dreams of our expectations and imaginings not only heighten our interpretations of the event as it happened, but also as we thought about it later. A first kiss from someone we loved is very different from a first kiss from someone we are not at all attracted to. The difference is not in the kiss, it is in the meaning we attach to it. Those layers of meaning are not real in the sense that they exist independent of our producing them and applying them to the event, and they are not static. Continue reading
This is another of the New Age-isms that I take issue with. I am all for opening up our children and filling them with light and possibilities but I also believe in teaching them discernment and truth.
I grew up in a world where little girls, especially, were raised to be “nice.” Reduced to expectations, that meant that having an idea, opinion, feeling, or need that was not the same as other people’s – made you bad, needy and selfish. You were meant to go along with the flow, to always sacrifice yourself for others, and never ever ask for anything. Your happiness lay in making others happy. Period.
The seventies had a mini revolution to guarantee women more rights, including the right to actually self-determine their own lives and not just be a host for their partner and children to suck the life out of. Well, that is what the pamphlets said.
Today we tell our children that if they will just reflect kindness and love, if they will be positive, or visualize nice things . . . they will get nice in return. We tell them that is how the world works.
But that is absolutely NOT how it works. The world is not fair. There is no balance, where in the end, everything always gets neatly tied up in Fair Wrapping Paper bought at the Justice Store. Often the mean horrible people end up getting all the breaks and living with money and power. The bullies don’t end up alone and miserable. The nice guy frequently does finish last and he is left as the only idiot being nice, being honest, loving and respecting others while everyone else takes advantage of him. They go on to amazing success with a world that claps every time they fart and the nice dude ends up living alone, in poverty, with other people’s cats that they could not be bothered with.
We have to stop lying to people. Continue reading
Who says that people do not care and that compassion does not have power to change lives. All it takes is just for each of us to do what we can where we are planted.
What really matters in our lives? What is worth our time and energy and what is just an illusion? None of these people may ever have fame or wealth. They may never be known, but they will be remembered. They will be remembered and loved for having made a difference in the lives of the people they lived amongst.
“Where do I belong,” was a question that haunted my soul for as long as I can remember. While some children worried about where to put their hands when under the scrutiny of a disproving adult, I had no idea where to put me, ever. Deep, soul-wrenching questions haunted my nights, robbing me of sleep. My days were consumed with trying to undo the one thing I knew with every fibre of my being. “I did not fit in.” I did not need to wait for other children to taunt me or run away from me on the playground, their cruel words and actions already had a place carved out in my being where they were meant to live. I did not fight against them, I welcomed them home. Continue reading
None of us have The Answer. Sometimes I think all we can do is take a page out of Alcoholics Anonymous. We take responsibility for our part in creating this world and the mess it is in. We realize that we cannot focus on the totality of the problem for a million reasons. But what we do focus on is ourselves, and this moment and today.
What if TODAY we did not commit any unkind acts? What if TODAY we did one good thing? What if TODAY we took the time to tell our loved ones that they matter? What if TODAY we made time for what matters and let the superficial deal with itself for just a little bit?
You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Addicts do one day at a time. We can break it down to even one act a day, and slowly, maybe in between the time we brush our teeth and the time we go to bed . . . the world will begin to heal. People will let go of their hate. Our hearts will be filled with what matters and we will let go of the cheap substitutes of money and things that never seem to last or fill that huge hole in all of us. We all, just want to be loved and needed. We all just want to love and to help. No-one has to have The Answer. We don’t even have to answer anything. We just have to be willing to begin. Reach out. Do what you can. Find someone to love. Begin. We can heal the broken, wounded lives that exist all around us, one act at a time.
How I wish that I could explain to those I love, how wrong the world is. I wish I could go back and erase all the messages that I passed on, some intentional, but so many more that I just inadvertently taught out of my own weaknesses and fears. I wish I could redo it, putting more emphasis on embracing it all and releasing them from any sense of shame for simply being a human being.
The world tries to write our stories with its labels and limiting beliefs. We are too weak, we are not enough, we failed, we can’t, we shouldn’t. There is nothing that happens to us that we need to fear. We can face it. We can overcome it. We can heal. Continue reading
Life has given me everything. Every experience has taught me, whether positive or negative, every lesson has been perfectly delivered to burn its message deep into my heart. Sometimes I have fought the lesson and had to repeat the learning but all that I am today, I am because I have lived it.
If I am kind it is because I have chosen to be kind, over and over again. I cannot have lived a life of cruelty and revenge and be kind today. What I choose this very moment creates in me who I am. It changes and impacts the person I was before the action and it influences the person who will act in the next moment. Because I am imperfect and make mistakes, the only way to move forward in an effective way is to hold on to the lesson from the mistake and carry it forward to help me with the next lesson.
Every time I chose to deny who I was and try to adopt what others thought I should be, I gave away something so precious . . . Some of it I have never been able to get back. Our actions define us. Every single one of them, no matter how small.
I was lucky enough to have been born as a weirdo. I was weird because my brain was not wired to see things, to process them, in the same way, that everyone else did. I was not wanted as a child. I was usually alone, and seldom had friends who understood me. I learned that I could do it. I could make it without their help. I could figure things out on my own. I live my life unapologetically as who I am. I do things my way. I give myself permission to be me.
I am not special, or perfect, or some famous millionaire. But I am an awesome me. I took what I was given and I learned to love and nurture it and not just wish it away. Continue reading