In honor of all the writing challenges going on this month I’ve given myself a 30 day blog challenge around “The 35 Questions That Will Change Your Life” Forbes article by Jason Nazar. I’ll try to approach this with honesty and brevity, much like streaking across the campus courtyard stripped bare and as fast as possible.
QUESTION 1: What are you pretending not to know?
Wow. This is a powerful question. So is this the part where I need to face one of my “denials”? Ok… I can do that. I’ve been doing a lot of self-realization lately so this shouldn’t be too hard.
I spent a long time pretending not to know and OWN that how my life is now, was not the result of a vastly less than ideal upbringing.
Past 25 years old it is just irrelevant how you survived your childhood when your life is now the culmination of all your adult decisions, good and/or bad.
Solely my fault, my glory, my light that I shine or my shame that I hide.
The reason I was able to live pretending to not know that having four step dads or being abused or whatever bad things happened did not define me was because I never used it as an excuse as to why I got to act this way or I deserved to get that or should get to do this. I wasn’t mad, didn’t dwell on it, and never let myself act like the world owed me because I had it so rough. So it wasn’t a problem that needed fixing and I could pretend to not know that it needed addressing for me to grow. In a weird twist I used it to convince myself that I was doing better than I was on my personal growth because I had started so low. And what was the point of that?
If I was around town or at church and I saw a smart, strong, successful man who glowed with the love he had for his family I would observe longingly and think, “Lord knows I would have been the first female president of the United State or cured cancer if I would have had a daddy like that. There would have been no limit to how high I could’ve flown!”
What I was pretending not know was that I’m an amazing woman, unrelated to any childhood pain or disappointment. A strong, kind, amazing person not because of my circumstances growing up nor in spite of my circumstances growing up. I was pretending that the reason I was less-than-perfect person was because no one who had grown up through and with what I had COULD EVER BE any better than I was. So I had set the bar on my personal growth at being “The Best Person I Could Be – for someone with my background”. In this affirmation I’m pretending that I don’t know this statement is complete bullsh*t. Pretending not to know that my affirmation should have been “The Best Person I Could Be – period”.
Luckily I feel like I am, and since the birth of my son 17 years ago have actively been trying to be, the best person I can be; so taking the veil off this pretense is not as painful or earth shattering as it could have been. It’s funny that as much as I tried to separate myself from the “victim” persona people who still crowd my family and friend circles have always used as a crutch, I still kept one foot in the muck with adding “for someone with my background” as an asterisk when there are special circumstances that get you on the Best Of List. You are either the best version of yourself or you are not and that is not relative to anything that anyone else is doing to you, for you or around you. It was just another thing I was carrying around for no good reason, and I decided to let it go. I call that Good Riddance.