But I decided in 2009 that I was going to have even harsher and more gut wrenching honest conversations with myself and with others about myself. I was going to take the poor man’s route to emotional healing.
When you say emotional healing it gives a deep connotation of abuse or trauma. No I only suffered self-inflicted abuse. I have caused myself unnecessary trauma at times by setting my standards too low or too high. Not requiring of myself what I expect from others. Defending myself from fake bullies that are actually masking over raging insecurity and extreme vulnerability. Doing favors for people I don’t even like, whom really don’t like me, but need my skills to accompish some task, usually something business related ( PowerPoint Presentation, Resume’, Business Plan).
My daddy has always told me that each individual is the sum total of their experiences. Some more of his favorite antecdotes “cream always rises to the top”, “don’t lay with dogs or you’ll get fleas”, “water seeks it’s own level”.
On my most recent trip home to visit my parents two weeks ago I debated with him (blamed him) for the majority of my life’s failures and my current career (lack of) situation.
Finally, on the verge of 40 I get it. Good grief, what a learning curve. I was the product of first generation African-American, degreed, professional, middle class parents. I grew up in a small rural community, attended Christian private school for the first nine years of my life. I was very sheltered and highly indulged. Along with my parents, my aunt’s and uncles taught in the community and were active in local politics so everybody knew me; but I wasn’t popular.
I think I was more envied for people’s perception of my life style. ( That sounds so grandiose—I know but I’m telling this story I trust my “friends” to perfect my memories) Living in a three bedroom, brick rancher with a manicured lawn and two working cars out front. I lived the Huxtible life popularized by the Cosby Show.
When I went off to college I met other little princesses whose parents had even more than mine; and for the first time in my life I experienced jealousy. I also met and fell in with the “bad crowd” drug dealers and plain old street thugs. Every week I was either attending a funeral or a court hearing. Loving every moment. Of course my school work suffered and I spent two summer semesters at Norfolk State University completing my degree. I graduated a year later with an OK GPA.
My graduation was uneventful my father was so pissed he refused to let me mail out my announcements which in turn limited the cash gifts I was so anxious to receive. I was 23 with a degree in Political Science, no real ambition other than not to move back home and no direction. I joined the workforce by taking a job at a retail store. I was proud because in comparison to my counterparts I was doing well, they were dead and in jail, I was punching a time clock making $6.25 an hour.
My friends from college moved on to careers, babies and marriage. I worked. I worked in retail, I worked on the phone, I worked back in retail, I’ve worked in customer service roles (glorified phone work with good benefits), and I’ve been an administrative assistant a few times over.
I remember as each of my cousins graduated from college they initially pursued careers in education and by any standards are doing well. I’m happy for them and proud of them. I resent the fact that my mother could never stop her incessant bragging of their accomplishments while belittling my lack their of, but such is life.
To my credit I bought a house that has increased in value several times over. I’m living debt free with the exception of the payment that I make monthly on my dream car. I attend church regularly. I went back to school, paid for and received my MBA. I’m contently married, active and respected in my community. Although I’m prematurely gray around my hairline, I look much younger than my counterparts and my once skeleton frame has blossomed into a womanly shape. For the most part I’m healthy an all around good person and well liked.
The majority of my high school counter parts are funding the education of those children that they had while still in school. Imagine some are helping to raise grandchildren. I didn’t have any children “out of wedlock” much to the pride of my mother; I believe that was always her biggest fear for me; not that I didn’t try. I had my pregnancy scares and had actually one time conceived, but that turned out to be a tubal pregnancy that rendered me infertile.
My politically correct excuse for not having kids earlier had been I wanted to get settled in my career; I’ve been out of college for fifteen years, what career? All the social networking sites ask the same questions. It’s like going to a high school reunion on the internet. Those that have done well for themselves can brag and even be smug if that’s their thing. Those who are lacking in material wealth and the trappings there of are more evasive than not.
It’s easy to fall prey find your self either judging others or justifying your life choices. In a moment of clarity I realized that the fact that I am here is such a wonderful blessing. Thank God know one is delivering the news that I’ve passed on and now my friends are gathering and working to create a memorial page for me.
So at 39 (my birthday is in 7 months) I will start the exhaustive, expensive process to pro-create in Petri dish. The mad rush for a baby is on now more than ever. The hands of my biological clock are ticking much louder. In part because my husband is home from a four year incarceration; he has reconnected with his daughter that is now eight years old and we are both getting acquainted with her; her mother is gracious enough to allow us to participate in the raising her. I thoroughly enjoy my weekend mommy role: the brushing of hair, the watching of cartoons, the pillow fights, the tucking in at night, the gentle admonishments, the shopping for clothes, reading bedtime stories!
To her mother’s credit my step-daughter is a well behaved, good mannered, smart, fun and pleasant child to be around. She is my husband’s complexion, (he and I are the same shade) with thick long hair reminiscent of my childhood days; her two front middle teeth slightly protrude from the rest of her jaw line, her forehead is accented by a thick eyebrow thus adding to the whole she resembles me too argument. Yes in my vanity I admit to passing her off as my very own to those that don’t know any better.
To those that do know the story behind the truth. My boyfriend cheated on me, got a woman pregnant, denied it , took a paternity test only to act as if the child had never been born!
I was angry and hurt…………but not enough to leave.
I did find some sweet solace in his being committed to a maximum security facility with very limited privileges & hardened criminals for four years; he could have gotten probation, it was his first offense! Instead fate had it that he would do his time with death row inmates and lifers. I reveled in his suffering and enjoyed myself while I waited for him to “pay his debt” to society. More than that, I grew. I grew spiritually. Someone once told me that God allows us to endure suffering and pain to bring us closer to Him. I matured; I shed my evil resentful “bitch” skin and replaced it with a much more pleasant, secure, knowledgeable, loving and mature woman.
I’ve learned there is honor in humility and I am enjoying the benefits of forgiveness. My good friends constantly encourage me to continue to walk this path and compliment what they call my growth and courage. They tell me they are proud!
I’m finally recognizing my strength and finding my voice. Although I no longer gravitate towards drama I know unpleasantness will arise in life; I’ve elected to give up the fear of rejection, embarrassment, ridicule and misunderstandings. My days of rescuing and being rescued are over! I don’t need a hero……..I’ve taken center stage and I’m my own hero, as I should be; I’m telling the story!
Inevitably I am sure that someone will read this and misinterpret my intended message. For those too shallow or not versed enough in reading comprehension; the above paragraphs simply say….I acknowledge the abundance of grace that God has bestowed upon my life, I recognize that I am blessed, highly favored and anointed to do exactly this. “Big ups to my Haters” few that they may be, you’ve help to make me strong—while providing interesting and funny scenarios that will allow me to continue my pursuit of writing!
God Bless You All