I suppose I should give a more detailed look into my life, if I’m going to claim to “Stand Up to be Myself.” Yes, I did some of that in my initial post on this blog, but I’m more than just a few labels.
In fact, this is probably not the last time you’ll see me talking about what makes me, me.
Why? Because to be quite honest, I spent far too much of my life allowing others to define me. Just like a lot of people do.
I’ve been defined by my family, my education, my ex-husband, the groups I choose to be part of (and have been part of in the past). Oh, I’ve struck out against those definitions, rebelling against the expectations of others about who I am. But, even that rebellion is still allowing others to define who you are.
I’ve always had a strong, stubborn independent streak. My mom likes to tell the story about trying to teach me to tie my shoes. She showed me once, then the 3 or 4 year old that I was looked up at her with my chin sticking out, saying: “ME do!”
Struggles against expectations, whether they are there because of your family or society as a whole, are something everyone goes through. It just take some of us longer to realize that the ONLY person whose expectations we need to satisfy is ourselves.
I tried so hard to be the “good daughter,” but it was an uphill battle from my perspective. I had an older sister, who – again to my mind – was the ‘perfect one.’ At some point, I’m not even quite sure I can pinpoint it, I gave up on trying to be the “good girl” and chose the opposite.
I’ll admit, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of being the ‘bad girl.’ I was never so self-destructive as to get into drugs or drinking, and I was a virgin until I was 21, but I was the questioner, the one always wanting to know WHY something had to be done this way or WHY some choice was the “right” one. Slipping from the “questioning authority” attitude to the “I’m a bitch, and proud of it” one was not a huge step for me.
Of course, I had experiences that supported that development of my character as well. Sadly, I found out only recently that none of the rest of my family actually ever KNEW about some of those character defining experiences. No wonder I felt that there was an ever-growing gap between myself and my family. No wonder I felt it was impossible to tell them about my experiences, because they “would never understand.” The adult me knows that’s bullshit. If I had actually told my parents about being sexually assaulted (although, thank Goddess, I was never actually raped), about being stalked, about having to prove that I was tough enough to be left alone by the local gang, I know that I would have been supported.
What that does tell me though, is that my unwillingness to trust others and to allow myself to be vulnerable happened at an extremely young age. Younger than my pre-teen and teen years. I don’t know what it was, because I was never molested as a child, and even though I was spanked often, it was always made clear to me that it was the behavior that was the problem and NOT me the person.
I’ve made bad choices, I’ve made good choices. I’ve dealt with the consequences of them. For the most part, I don’t regret my choices because I learned from them, and I feel like I’ve grown from making those choices.
If there are any regrets I actually have, they’re probably that I wish I had started taking more risks with my heart earlier in my life. Frankly, since I started taking more emotional risks, I have met and been influenced by so many wonderful human beings. In fact, while I do enjoy living in a more rural environment than I ever have before, I miss being able to spend quality time with a lot of those people.