You can ask anyone that knows me or my sister or my daughter. We aren’t the easiest people to love. Sure at first it seems like we are, because we are the center of attention, straight forward, strong willed, and people gravitate towards us. We stand out amongst a crowd of sheep. We are stubborn to change; we get comfortable in our ways and can’t see past our blinders or our head strong ways to see the greater good. This may seem stupid or smart depending on your point of view or what side of the story you’re on. But after 31 years there are many things I’ve learned along the way that keep popping back up. I can’t just keep pushing them back down. At times, my life and emotions seem so confusing – almost an out of body experience in many behaviors.
I’ve tried for many years to figure out why it’s so hard for me to change my ways. Deep down I’m always right…at least that’s how I feel. First born child syndrome, childishness, selfishness, etc. Call it what you want, but in many cases it all reverts back to how I was raised – I’m sure. As my dad always say’s, “You don’t have to hit me with a 2×4 to convince me it’s going to hurt.” So I’ve decided to embark on a journey of self discovery, into the issue that keeps resurfacing in my life.
From the beginning my parents had the cards stacked against them, young, in-love, baby on the way and struggling financially. After they got married and had my sister and I they were plagued with three children dying for reason’s only God knows why. So needless to say my parents raised us, (the only surviving children) to be strong towards adversity, be the first to rise to the challenge and never take ‘no’ for an answer. Fight! Be strong! You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
This is how I approach everything in my life. How am I going to tackle this? What can I get done by myself, before asking for help…ever I need to ask for help.
Standing in line at 9 yrs old facing America’s largest wooden roller coaster, hand-in-hand with my daddy while my mom and little sister watched me swallow my fear and raise my chin to this challenge. What they couldn’t hear was my heart pounding in my chest, they couldn’t feel my palms sweating or my ‘inner self’ telling me to back out. They also didn’t hear me begging my daddy to get me off the roller coast on the first up hill. Sure, I survived; as I do at everything. I looked and felt like the champion after, but at what cost?
When my husband looked me in the eyes with his aggressively vacant eyes piercing through me to my soul as his fist reared back and plowed into my chest and I could hear my baby crying as she watched from her young 17 month old eyes, that’s when I felt my inner core changed. My son watched his protector push his loving mom to the carpet and while she covered her head with her hands he watch his daddy punch her repeatedly in the back and when he didn’t get the reaction he was hoping for, his daddy grabbed his moms hair and smashed her head into the carpet, over and over and over. He got to hear her desperate pleading for him to stop. He got to hear his sister wailing and his moms muffled sobs and his dads aggressive yelling and name calling. What he didn’t see was the smashed up phone his dad broke before this all played out in front of him. What he didn’t hear was my racing heart and my prayers to God, asking for him to protect my babies as I was forced to choose between my life and theirs, as my feet quickly carried me to the neighbors house seeking refuge, leaving them behind. I asked Him to forgive me for leaving them, leaving them behind and for not protecting them. God answered my desperate prayers when I seen my husband peel out of our drive way without our children. I never hugged them so hard in my life. I promised them that they’d never see that again; that I would protect them from everything.
I have survived many tragedies, many heart breaks and many more bumps and bruises. I’m left with a determined mind, a heavy heart and a stubborn will to push back when someone tries to stop or control me. These traits sound stoic and bold maybe even strong. But it has to be done in the right context, the right circumstance and situation. Otherwise you’re just pushing everyone away. Your building a wall around you and no one can get through to help heal your wounds. If you push hard enough, there won’t be anything or anyone left to push back.
Sitting amongst my beautiful children, my wonderful boyfriend and my gorgeous sister, I feel empty—numb sometimes. Why? I feel robbed, similar to the feeling that the epidural had over me when the nurses placed my precious children in my arms. My emotions were null and void to the point of confusion. Neither happy nor sad. Neither excited nor worried. Just there, in the moment not quite sure what to do next. Responsibility to ‘others’ when it can all be so easily taken away if you let your guard down or let the wrong people into you life, giving them control—completely. Afraid? Yes, sadly. Depend on others, I think not! They will drop the ball, and then I’ll have to clean up the mess…again. I’m not so sure I’m strong enough to handle someone else messing up what I vowed to protect with my life.
I hope with faith and understanding, maybe time will give me a chance to relax and enjoy the journey. To answer my question, yes. I am a soldier of independence because I want to protect what I have. I’m strong enough to do that…I think. I don’t know if I can change my ways but what I can promise is; I will try with all I am to except change and to be tolerant of different points of view and to follow instead of leading all the time. I will try your “trust-fall”, because I am in love so deeply with our family.
“The Mom teaches her young how to be strong. The Dad teaches his young how to look strong.”—Anonymous