7/14/09

When did I decide I couldn't...

write, spell, long divide, run, draw, sing, read fast, swim well and be comfortable around "smart" people. (I am not saying that the people I am comfortable around aren't smart...well except for Summer!) This list is the things that for years now, most of my adult life, I have felt that I am just not good at. No questions asked, no reasons why, these things I am not capable of. WTF??? When in my childhood did this feeling of low ability set in and why did it stick? And the better question is why does it take 30 some years and hours of psychotherapy to help me figure out that--- I CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT TO DO?

I know that when I say "in my childhood" that sounds like I am pointing the finger at my parents, and that is not my intention. Yes, they played a large role in my messed up psyche, but I do not blame them. They had their own messed up psyches from their parent's issues (see the pattern) and then tried to raise 6 kids with no plan, very little affection for each other and even less money! Considering that 0+0+0=0(--wow look at that...I CAN DO MATH!) my parents had a different equation! In this case 0+0+0=6 fairly normal adult children with issues galore...but with the forethought and resourcefulness to try to curb the mistakes of dysfunction in their own lives.

Am I implying that my children will be perfect issues free adults who never doubt themselves or blame their parents for screwing them up? Hell NO! My hope is that my kids and my future nieces & nephews will only have a 1/2 of barrel of monkeys on their backs to deal with rather than the entire barrel that we were given! Those animals you can't take to a farm or shoot in the woods when you are tired of dealing with them.

Easier said than done I know! Even with therapy, medication, education, money and love my parenting will be subpar. All parents have that in common! We are not going to be EVERYTHING our children need! Is subpar enough? Absolutely! It has to be enough because if you think that you are going to be the perfect parent you are bound for disappointment.

Last year after my mom sold the house that she lived in for the past 26 years, she gave me an envelope of papers she'd saved in her cedar chest. It was a bunch of report cards, standardized testing results and other random crap documenting 12 years of being a low average student.

There were two things in common on most of the report cards. 1. Low grades in spelling, reading and math...which leaves recess & lunch that I excelled at...awesome! and 2. Recommendations to my parents to encouraging me more because I am not reaching my fullest potential. With 6 hungry mouths to feed, bills to pay, and a stressed out life to deal with - encouraging their mediocre student didn't make my parents to do list and those low grades eventually defined me.

I am not trying to say that my parent's lack of encouragement is solely to blame for my insecurity. But I have to wonder; had I heard that if I put my mind to it and really believed in myself; I have the potential to do great things (even if it is just long division) over and over again, from parents who honestly believed that, would I be different? I think I probably would.

Is it unfortunate the way things turned out? Yes, but is it unforgivable? NO! My parents did the best they could and they have given me many positive qualities that I plan to blog about in the future, but for now I am focusing on this.I learned decades later, looking at these report card and test scores, that the real life lesson is that we all have the potential to do amazing things. For me BELIEVING in myself had to come before the 3 R's. You must have faith that you are capable of accomplishing big things!

For so long I didn't believe I was a creative or smart person. I was a funny person with common sense who lucked out by marrying up..that was how I saw it. It was my life to screw up because I am not capable of excelling at much. (Remember-lunch & recess) I had years of written proof that I was below average in school, and I thought that was the way it was going to be in life too.

So when I began having my above average life--great husband, healthly & happy kids, fulfilling work, and wonderful friends, I was conflicted. I believed in my heart I would be the end of all of this...this was someone else's life...I am below average-things are supposed to be hard, unpleasant and unfair. I had this husband, family, career only as part of some cruel joke the universe was playing on me- so I could fuck it up...I really, truly believed that! I would cry some nights to Trevor explaining my feelings of panic. I was constantly worried that this "house of cards" life I had been "given" was going to come tumbling down around me and I would ruin everything!

I never once considered that I had a great husband because he actually truly cared for me, enjoyed being around me and saw greatness inside of me. Or that I had earned my career due to my merit and work ethic. I believed that my kids would be my ultimate mistake; I would turn into my mother and have a strained relationship with them and make them feel as worthless as I felt.

I never, ever considered until recently that I'd achieved this life and all that goes with it. That I deserved every wonderful thing that happened and at the same time that I was a smart, capable woman able solve the problems that came along too. I realized that challenges were not my fault because I had below average standardized test scores in 5th grade! Challenges are the parts of life that give it dimension. I am happy that my life will look more like this


than this!


I burnt the envelope that my mom gave me. Those documents were no longer going to be evidence that I was ever less than. I have decided to be grateful to mom for giving me the opportunity to enlighten myself about some of those concrete beliefs that I'd had since I was a kid. I am sure she has no idea the pain that I experienced looking at them. I hope she'll notice the positive personal growth I made due to the consideration I gave them. So I am thankful that she kept those C filled report cards, they taught me some important lessons. One thing has held fast after all these years...I still am an ass kicker in the subject known as LUNCH!
I love you Mom!

1 comment:

I can't wait to hear from you!