Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The risk of being your true self.

My little friend Sarah over at Thinfluenced said something about how writing about your true self brings about a change within you. I’m not sure if it’s the writing part or the writing and then putting it out there for praise or criticism that changes people but I am sure that she is right. There’s a vulnerability to writing and proclaiming to the world your deepest thoughts that many never have the courage to face.

Today I got nothing substantial for you – so I thought I’d elaborate on my true self. You know – throw more personal shit out there to be judged. Things not a lot of people in my real life know. Things that make me my authentic me. Things that I want my kids to know some day when I’m gone and these words I write become theirs to keep and read and own.

Here goes nothing:

I’m a sentimental freak. Over-emotional to the core. I keep things like the shirt that I wore when I literally pushed out my daughter. Things like every movie ticket from the movies Rambo took me to. All the cards attached to all the flowers he’s ever sent me. All the love notes he ever wrote.
I consider these things my greatest treasures.

Along the same lines of that – I wear things every day that are about people I love and have lost. I wear charm bracelets with charms like a semi (for Rambo) and a watermelon and a banana and Rambo’s and my girl’s birthstones. I wear my Grandma’s wedding ring right next to my wedding ring. I wear multiple Saint charms on my charm bracelet that my Grandma wore every day as she fought cancer.
Again – my most precious assets.

I have 8 tattoos and all but 1 have a meaning to them that you probably wouldn’t know unless you asked me. I can cover every single one but almost every day one or more is visible. Many are Rambo themed. A few Rambo has that match. A lot of them were designed by me. Some are small and one covers 1/3 of my back.

I lost my favorite Uncle when I was 15 and he was 21. He took his own life and shattered mine at the same time. It changed nearly every part of me and decades later I have part of that loss etched into my back forever in a tattoo.

Many people say that they never regret and they wouldn’t take bad things back if they could because those things made them who they are today. I think that’s a lie. And a truth. But for me – mostly a lie. If I could take back suicides and deaths and tragedies – I would. In a heartbeat. I’d love to know who I’d be today had they not happened. There wouldn’t be so many holes in my heart – that’s for sure.

I am surprised that Rambo and I made it. Rambo was what most adults deemed “bad news”….especially for a good little Catholic girl. At the age of 15, sometimes I wondered what the hell I was doing but I couldn’t even think about walking away from him. He was the reason that I stayed alive back then – and now.

I have a sister that is 15 years younger than me. When I was having babies and paying mortgages and being a wife with a career – she was in high school, going to prom and getting her license. When she was a baby she called me mom and if I was ever shopping with her, people thought she was mine – and I let them.
She gave my life meaning back then.

I was born and raised a farm girl. I’ve castrated animals and done chores and played in cow shit and made hay right next to all the guys….and I loved every minute of it.

By the time I was 20, I had taken care of two dying women and then watched as they left this world. It was both beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time.

I married Rambo at a really young age by today’s standards and 500 people showed up that day. The moment of the day that I remember most like it was yesterday was standing at the top of the church stairs waiting to walk down to meet Rambo and I remember that I thought to myself, “I’ve never felt more calm in my entire life.”

Just months after our wedding, I went through a deep and severe depression that left me bed-ridden for weeks. I didn’t know if I’d survive it – and there were many days when I didn’t want to.

I have never been drunk. The moments and events of my life that have been marred by alcohol are too many to count.

I used to think and care way too much about what others felt and thought about me. I am nearing 40 years old and I can finally say that I am finally learning to love me and accept me – flaws and all.

I worry every day if I am scarring my children at their core because of things I say or do or don’t say or do. I know my own childhood pain and I’m haunted by the fears that my own kids may ever feel that same thing.

I have way too many clothes and shoes and things…not because I need them but because it’s how I cope with things that leave me feeling less than or empty. It is how I measure my success. And it is bullshit.

I take baths every single day – usually with Rambo. I can’t remember the last time I ever took a shower. A bath is my gift to me every day. It is part of who I am.

I have stretch marks and scars from c-sections and tummy tucks and breast reductions and muffin tops to match and still I wear a bikini all summer. I’m not necessarily proud of my body or how it looks but in the same token – I refuse to hide it. I just won’t do it. I walk around my own house naked a lot. I do not put my body down in front of my girls and I walk around like I’m some damn model because I never want them to hide either. I want them to accept their beauty and be proud and I refuse to be a mother who doesn’t practice that preachery.<< I just made that word up.

I love and crave alone time. I believe it makes me a better wife and mother and friend. I’m not afraid of my own thoughts – though I probably should be.

I have dreams of what my extended family should be like according to the fantasies in my head…and yet it is never reality. Ever. We are broken. We have always been broken. As adults, we are more fragmented than ever and the stark realization and truth of that is sometimes soul crushing to me. I am often jealous of families that not only love each other – but like each other and spend time together. I never thought I’d be a person that perpetuates the dysfunction – but I am.

I know things about my extended family that a lot of others don’t know. Big things. Pregnancies, adoptions, drugs, accidents, affairs. Things that would shatter people’s worlds. Things I will take with me to my grave. Things that I wish weren’t secrets. I have learned that secrets slowly ruin lives…
whether they remain secrets or not.

Life scares the shit out of me most days. Staying in the moment and trying not to worry relentlessly have never been my strong suits. My real strong suits are my ability to love you with everything in me and my ability to remain loyal….unless I get hurt. Then my flaws come out. I retreat. Back up. Hide. Walk away. Build a wall. Trust no one. Live in the pain. Believe I am not worthy. Until time passes and I re-learn how to forgive and let go and risk again.

I have a hard time giving my whole, full, real self to anyone. I’m too afraid of rejection and that once you see who I really am at my core – you’ll walk. You’ll realize I am not worth the effort. I fear being neglected and never being noticed or never being allowed to exist…yet believing I have a right to be who I am doesn’t come easy either. I don’t want to stand out in a crowd but I don’t want to linger in the shadows. I want the middle ground. I search for balance every day…and it’s an elusive little sucker.

I don’t believe that I’m entitled to success or material things or benefits. I believe that if I didn’t earn it – it shouldn’t be mine. I believe if you give things to me freely then you take away my drive to reach for it. I don’t believe in paying for my kid’s college. I won’t hand them a car when they get their license unless they’ve paid for part of it themselves. I won’t tell them I’m okay with them having sex with every boy that turns their head. I will tell them that it’s their decision and that I know it’s hard to have self control but that I also know it can be done. I won’t make them believe in the God that I believe in. I will hope they believe in some kind of God though.

I believe I deserve joy. Real, cheek hurting, stomach aching laughter and joy that makes your soul soar. I never used to believe that - and now? Well now I do.

Do you? Tell me some things about your authentic inside self. Things you never talk about or say out loud. Can you put them into words? Can you be that vulnerable? Can you take that risk?


Mon said...

This was so great to read--I love hearing THE REAL SHIT. Thank you for letting us in!!!

Rachel said...

Thank you so much for sharing this... great read and a great reminder for all of us.

Connie O said...

That ended up being pretty substantial! You know how to get to the heart of things. I don't know if I could write about myself that way even if I tried, though I write a lot about myself in a different kind of way--much more oblique.

Kelliann said...

You are beautiful.

Anna said...

Your inside self is abso-fucking-beautiful. :)

Robyn's Nest said...

This is a wonderful post. You forgot to add that you are a fantastic writer :-)

Cat said...

I love that you let us glimpse your soul every now and then. Thank you.

Ronnie said...

Being honest is hard - I applaud you!

Laura Runs a Latte said...

Truly amazing post. You really are a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing such heart-felt, personal stuff with us! (((hugs)))

~Miss Lorie~ said...

You are always so real! I love your blog because of it!

Sarah Kopf said...

This is probably one of the most honest, raw, and beautiful things I've ever read! I heart you and have some sort of strange bond with you. Can you just adopt me? I can be a fruit! I will be....your tomato! Nobody is sure what the F a tomato is yet! Lol Makes total sense.

In all seriousness, hugs! Xxoo


shannsdukandiet said...

I love your blog, it really makes me laugh. You talk about the real side of things and dont make pretences that life is perfect. :)

Fit Mom said...

Love you!! Thanks for sharing! That took balls.

Didi said...

Love this post. Especially the part about taking baths and wandering around the house naked even if your body is "perfect." That's me all over the place.
I make my fella get in the bathtub with me even though it is far too small for two people.
It's the vulnerable bits that contain our real vibrance, and you definitely have a lot of that!