This post was one of the first that I shared on Quotidiandose. It is difficult for anyone to bare their soul and expose their weak spots. I’ve been involved in teaching a course dealing with emotional healing and recovery from abuse for the past ten years. It is still difficult. I can, however, get through sharing my story without inconsolable sobs. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
I hold my head a little higher than I did a few years ago, carry myself with more confidence that I did a few months ago, and I look for the bright side of life on purpose. Each of us has a touch of destiny in our lives, it’s up to us to find it. It takes work.
Those parts of us that we hide away from everyone else, whether it’s for acceptance or for some other reason, they still remain. Some have skeletons inside and others have treasures that were never opened.
Abuse in my childhood put skeletons behind one door. I was ashamed, scared, and scarred. I didn’t want everyone else to know my personal hell. Their view of me would be colored with the stains of my shame. I wanted desperately to fit in and be accepted. In more recent years I faced those skeletons and kicked them out. I’ve spoken publicly about it. The scars, the shame, and how it colored other areas of my life. I’ve shared my heart, the hurt, and the pain, and some people look at you like you’re damaged goods. Others, most often the ones who have experienced the pain themselves listen and hear. It has been cathartic for me and those I’ve shared with. I’ve been an open book, shared things that kept me bound in shame, in anger, and rebellion for years.
A certain woman who experienced the same things as I did to a greater degree came up to me after a public speaking session and poured her heart out. We cried together, comforting each other. There is healing in revealing, and those skeletons don’t keep me bound in chains any longer. I didn’t have the perfect suburban upbringing as my peers, I experienced dysfunction.
For years, I allowed it to color who I was and how I saw myself. It has shaped me — both good and bad — to who I am today. I am thankful for the opportunities to help others break out of their prisons.
I still have secret doors, though. Secrets that were stuffed inside, hidden in a shoebox under the bed. Secrets that were shelved and now covered with cobwebs. Recently, I dared to open one of my secret doors. I found hidden treasures and shed some tears at my forgotten dreams. I’m coming to terms with myself, the parts I locked away and hid from the world.
Unrealized potential and unrealized dreams.
It’s amazing what a couple rays of sunlight can reveal in a previously dark and dreary cobweb-filled scary room. Tattered mementos that were long forgotten, happy moments that I rarely allowed myself.
I gave up on myself for many years. I went through the motions: giving to others, fulfilling my roles, but experiencing no personal joys. It just wasn’t worth the pain of failure.
Failing myself. An ever-present sense of unworthiness that clouded every aspect of life.
I made decisions based on what other people wanted and expected of me. I’ve taken responsibilities and commitments that are acceptable in the eyes of my family and friends. I’m not exactly sure when it started, but I have reached the point where I am no longer satisfied with status quo.
I’ve always been a bit of a rebel and nonconformist, but most people would be surprised to realize just how much I have conceded and conformed. I know precisely and how much it has been killing me inside. I haven’t been true to myself, nor pursued my own dreams.
I took those items out of that room and threw away the key. I’m examining each one and evaluating whether they are valid or just childhood fancies. I’m never going to take a wooden raft on the Mississippi River like Tom Sawyer. I have a healthy respect for the Old Muddy and have no desire to do that anymore, plus I have a few more operative brain cells than I did at 11. It was a nice visit to a childhood fancy. Other things, I’ve decided I’m going to tackle.
Just as in spring cleaning there are three boxes: keep, file, and throw away. the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn was the first book I read voluntarily, one that sparked a lifetime love of reading. The folded and yellowed piece of paper with a raft, colored in a childish manner will go into a scrapbook – a fond memory. There are other things that were just silly and are no longer relevant. I looked them over but decided to discard.
The ones to file, now that’s what prompted this post. They go along with my SMART goals. Things I still feel are viable worthwhile goals and are worth attaining. There’s going to be work but anything worth having is worth working for. Ironically I found a shell of who I thought I’d be and it doesn’t even resemble the me I am today. There are some aspects of the me today that are better, but the longing in my heart for those other dreams, well it’s time for a change.
My personal pursuit for life, liberty and happiness were derailed. After all, doesn’t the Constitution guarantee us these inalienable rights? It’s not the government’s fault that I’ve failed myself – epically. That responsibility lies solely on my shoulders. It’s back on track and I’ve got turbo fuel in the hold and the engine is revved up and ready. I don’t think many of my friends or family will necessarily approve. I’ve lived for their approval long enough. I want my own approval because if you can’t have an inner peace with yourself, what does it really matter?
Some of my secret doors have been locked so long, I think I’ve lost the keys. Maybe I’ll find them in this new chapter. If nothing else, it will be an exciting adventure and, at least, I will know that I tried. I don’t want the regrets of omission to cloud my consciousness.
It’s time for revision. I’m about to rock the boat, hope you have a life jacket!
Write on my friends, write on!