You would love it if I went away and didn’t say nothin else / How am I keepin it real by keepin this shit to myself? (Drake)
My voice / truth / reality / true self wasn’t welcome in my own family. I was silenced, judged, ridiculed and shamed for being who I am.
I grew up feeling / believing there was something inherently wrong with me and that there was something very ugly inside of me.
So naturally it’s been quite the challenge to see my goodness and beauty over the years but I work hard each day to heal that part of me and although it’s still a daily struggle, I’ve come so far. Especially in the past couple of years.
I hated myself because I viewed myself through the tainted eyes of others.
Others who did not have the capacity to actually see me, let alone value, appreciate and support me in a way that was nurturing and affirming.
Others who didn’t value what I did. Others who were not willing to look within and do their own work so that their accumulated messes wouldn’t spill all over me.
And I was judged for trying to clean these messes up - generations of messes - because to them I appeared disloyal to the family while being loyal to myself (and the family I was creating with Paige).
But no one else was willing to do the cleaning so what was I to do? Pass it on to my own child? Hope that she’d be up for the task one day?
Of course not.
To get healthy (or ‘clean’) is the ultimate betrayal to those still stuck in dysfunction, addiction and darkness, so it’s a very brave act to heal and self-care despite their anger, confusion and attacks.
I knew it was my job because I could see things clearly and I could name them clearly and I was built to be expressive and to care very little what others think.
I was willing to walk through fire and to lose my family if it meant breaking the cycle and giving more to Paige than I was given.
So I did my work and I still do it everyday.
Paige has seen the very worst of me - my darkest hours and my most reactive moments and the insane lies I’ve believed about myself - and yes she’ll still have messes to clean up as a result, but I own everything and I heal all that I can and I help her with those messes and that’s what matters the most.
Paige doesn’t hold anything against me because she accepts that the beast is bigger than me at times and I’m naturally self-correcting.
I take full responsibility for everything that’s mine and there has NEVER been one issue we haven’t dealt with fully through open communication. We’ve had our storms but we’ve never left them unattended. Neither of us feel comfortable when there’s an issue between us. We naturally seek to correct it. Just like with Melanie and I, although I can’t say we’ve had many.
With my family it was different because there wasn’t room for me. They preferred I remained silent - and that has carried over throughout all my years beyond my family.
Many people wish I’d shut up. Maybe you’re one of them. So why are you still here?
In my family I spoke up when I was mistreated. They hated that. I told the truth and held others accountable. They hated that. I named the things you shouldn’t name in a dysfunctional family system. They hated that. I challenged the status quo. They hated that. I demanded better. They hated that. And I set boundaries that made them even more angry with me.
All of these things were very hard to do and they never got easier over time. I was just very clear on where I stood and what I wouldn’t stand for and I acted accordingly, even if it was hard. Even if it meant losing people. Even if it meant more judgment. Even if it meant never being understood.
I was never understood by those in my life until I was much older. Even now only a select few understand me. And only one person truly gets me.
I made my family very uncomfortable. I still make people very uncomfortable.
But at least I also make certain people feel better about who they are.
Those who judge me for how I am forget that I was judged most harshly by those who were supposed to love me the most so if you think I’ll dilute myself for you when I wasn’t even willing to do it as a child when the love and approval of my own family was dependent on it, you’re insane.
Thank you to those who truly support me in being me and don’t mock or judge me for how I show up in this world.
We all need and deserve a place where we feel safe and free to be who we are. I found that through Facebook, of all places. And of course through my beloved bestie, Melanie.
To being loved and understood 🌺
(Art: Venus Chillout from Juniqe)
"Your life sounds so very much like my life. Breaking a cycle for the betterment of you and yours is the hardest but most important thing in our lives. I applaud you, Mandy." Debbie Elliott Dronfield
"This prettymuch clocks my journey too. Hopefully when I become a father, I can be for my kid(s) what you are to Paige." Stephen Le Duke
"Preach!" Gayle Jones