So the choices for today were:
1. Choose a concept such as money, work and career, parenting, or independence and write down messages you received about this issue from the important people in your life while you were growing up. How do you live out these messages or rebel against them? What feelings and behaviors would best express who you are today?
2. What do you think you need to develop to have a stronger sense of self and what do you want to cherish as your own? How could you write about your changing and keeping?
Hmm, ©©©©© ok, it took me a minute to think about what I wanted to say. Not sure I remember anybody in my family ever talking about these things. Not to say they didn’t, but I don’t remember. What I remember most from my parents was this message about love and commitment. That being in a relationship meant that you worked things through, you talked things through. This was a lesson they learned from almost divorcing and then working themselves back together. They learned how to respect each other in a way they had not been able to do before. Of course, part of that had to do with my dad’s drinking and being an alcoholic. Once he sobered up and stopped drinking, they built a completely new relationship and taught me a great deal about unconditional love. It was during my mom’s illness that my dad taught me the most powerful lesson about love. He said that even though my mom did not remember who he was, he remembered who she was and he still loved her. He was with her when she took her last breath and always believed that nobody could care for her like him. The doctors would tell you that my father died from complications associated with prostrate cancer, but my brothers and I would tell you he died of a broken heart. He was never the same after my mom diedL.
This message of unconditional love is a part of my personality that I treasure. Another part of my personality that I cherish is that I am caring and compassionate. I think I got that from my mother as well. That was who she was. While others may think that the sensitive side of me is a sign of weakness, I see it as a sign of strength. Not everyone is willing or able to show his or her sensitive side. Being sensitive also helps me to stay grateful for what I have. I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am. There is an old Carole King song called pocket money, that constantly reminds me how blessed I am. one verse in particular reminds me of this, ” Sometimes when I think that things are bad as they can be, I see a fellow standing lower down on the ladder than me.” I think that ability to be humble and to be grateful for everything I have is an aspect of my identity I also cherish.
What do I need to trade in. lol. I need to trade in the remnants of self-doubt. Every once in a while I still find myself feeling that I am not good enough or not worthy enough. It is okay for me to be me. Sometimes I struggle with this feeling of not feeling like I fit in. all too often I feel like a round peg in a square hole. And there are times, I wish I felt like I fit. I think that part of this comes from being surrendered for adoption and the old messages that I got that I was not wanted. On one level, I know that is not my parent’s decision to surrender me for adoption was about them, not about me. And part of that round peg/square hole feeling comes from being biracial. Being told that I was white and being told to ignore my also being black. Being told that I had to cover my brown skin up on pictures when I drew myself as a brown skin girl in kindergarten. It was as if other people were telling me that I had to be what they were telling me I was and asking me to doubt my own sense of who I was.
I need to let go of that part of my identity that is afraid to be noticed. I have always enjoyed being the one in the background doing the work. I am just not comfortable with being in the limelight. I have this intense discomfort around cameras or anything that is going to record/reflect me doing something. I am sure that at some level this has to do with my comfort/discomfort with my own body and image of it. I think it also has to do with my doubts about my own intelligence at times. I know I am intelligent and at the same time, I think I know so little about things. When it is just me and one other person, I am fine. It is a crowd thing. Being around large groups of people is draining. At some level, I know I have all these gifts to offer, but I am get quite nervous and anxious when I have to speak in public. I can write what I am feeling, but expressing myself in a group of people is so hard. I have to work at releasing that fear and it takes so much energy out of me to be relaxed and confident.
I know I am a work in progress. I am on my own journey out of hells and into healings. I am evolving out of ways of thinking and doing that place self-imposed limitations on me to ways of thinking and doing that are limitless. I am constantly reminded of the words of Meg Christian who said, “Great wisdom through painful experience is an inside job!” it is all about the journey. May it continue.