Huh? I’m Confused?!
I see little girls running around adorned in tutus, crowns, and fairy wings everyday. Starry eyed girls with gregarious smiles dance to their parents words, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not a princess.” At what age does that fall away? Why do so few of us make it into adulthood believing that simple admonishment? At some point many of us adopt the belief that we have to look like a Hollywood ideal to be accepted, to be loved. At what age is it no longer cool to be proud of our accomplishments out of fear of being thought of as a braggart? I wonder if we don’t wear down our self-esteem thinking this is how to keep our ego in check.
Who wants to be THAT girl? Who wants to be the one isolated? What sort of personal sacrifices do we make of our beliefs, values, our personal worth in an effort to be accepted? Is there a point when we give up our authentic self in an effort to live up to the person we are taught to be? As for myself, I think I put my crown away in junior high. I didn’t pull it out again until about year ago.
I was one of those conquer the world kids. You would have had to hand me a dictionary to figure out the meaning of what an obstacle was. For my thinking, that was just part of the equation that needed negotiating, a little creative thinking. Problems, challenges, and obstacles in no way, in my mind, determined whether I would reach my goal. It might effect when but not if. Failure was not much of an option for me either.
I believed my parents when they told me I was cute, funny, smart, and all those other positive things parents tell their kids. So it was fact like; the sky is blue, the sun comes up, the stove will burn you, and “because I said so” really is a reason.
I continued growing up soaking in the world around me. Life got complicated. I learned the sky is blue, unless it’s sunset. The sun does indeed come up but I can’t always see it especially on a stormy day. The stove will burn me but only if it’s on. I also discovered that “because I said so” isn’t really a reason , it’s an excuse, one that I have used often.
If these childhood absolute facts took a battering over the years, can you imagine the assault my self-esteem has been under? I learned to be ashamed of thinking I might be that attractive girl my parents raised me to believe I was. I learned to question myself to the point of being easily influenced. I learned that it’s not possible to raise healthy children as a single parent. I wasn’t a good church goer if I didn’t sacrifice at my own expense. The man is the absolute head of the household and ultimately has the last say. I also learned that people who take time for themselves to enjoy life are either lazy, selfish, or think they are above those that work 8 days a week.
All of these things I learned in an effort to connect with other people. All of these life lessons I picked up along the way so that I didn’t make other people uncomfortable around me. Rejection and isolation feel synonymous. We are social creatures. Socializing and being loved are necessary for most of us. Independence is not the same as isolation. At some point I learned that it is not okay to be the queen of my own life. Society promotes autonomy but so many of our customs, values, and beliefs do not support it.
To be continued…