As quite as its not kept, I grew up in a family that took the FUN out of dysfunction. As the great grand-daughter of a sharecropper, grand-daughter of a woman with just a 4th grade education, an alcoholic, narcissistic parent, an inordinate amount of violence delivered via the bible and domestic abuse is fodder for interesting family gatherings. Each generation wanting more and the best for the next generation. With that comes a boat load of pressure, expectation and twisted values. Case in point, my mother put some amazingly hard pressure on me to be extremely successful, be the best, be better; that it ultimately cost her our relationship.
Where does your family’s expectations end and your life begin? For a very long time I walked around carrying the world on my shoulders while dragging cargo bays worth of bags of guilt, obligation, fear and doubt.
Anyhoo, the purpose behind this entry is this. I was not happy for a LONG time living the life my grandparents, family and mother prescribed. The best way to describe it is this — imagine trying to swim in quicksand. The most terrifying and empowering day of my life was when I decided to STOP SWIMMING. The fear of sinking (disappointing) was the reason I continued to thrash about as long as I did. It took being tired, tired, damned tired of swimming and dawg tired of the fear of sinking for me to stop swimming.
It would have been so easy for me to continue “swimming” and play victim but the hardest thing I ever thought possible; harder than continuing to swim was the courage TO STOP. The day I stopped, began to let go and started listening to my inner voice was one of the best days of my life. I didn’t sink. I stopped feeling drained/tired. A strange unknown feeling came over me. I didn’t know what it was until it finally dawned on me — DAMNIT I WAS FEELING HAPPINESS.
Today, I am very, very happy; but my continued happiness takes work. Not the work it took to swim in quicksand, but work of staying true to MY INNER VOICE and living mylife not the one scripted by society or family.
Let me tell you this, its the hardest and most rewarding piece of work that one can do for oneself. I realized that I was worth it, deserved it and most of all needed it. When will you?