I started this entry awhile ago, have come back to it 2 or 3 times and it still doesn’t feel quite right.
I saw this question a while back and I have been letting it simmer on the back burner for awhile. Some obvious answers are “I’m not good enough”; “I’m not worthy”;”I’m not eligible or qualified for the good things in life”. It’s a lot of how I have thought about myself for a long time. Yet it didn’t really feel quite “right”. This morning I was getting dressed to go to a networking breakfast and it popped into mind “I don’t believe there is anything special about me”. I have compared myself to other people and always found myself wanting. Trouble is, I am the only one who sees it that way. So where did this begin?
I am the middle child of three daughters – no doubt with all the usual middle child hang ups. My older sister is a wonderful artist; I have admired her all my life and wanted to be able to draw and paint the way she does. I tried but never measured up – my judgment rather than anyone else’s. My younger sister seemed to breeze through things, did so well with music and later on writing, having her books published. I never felt anything I did was all that special except when I did some creative things, more crafter than fine artist. I realize I have not given myself credit for things I have done because it seemed normal, what one does in the situation. When it comes to RA, I never realized I had a choice of whether I was going to deal with or not, I figured I had to go to the doctor, have it treated and live my life. It has been with me so long, I’ve done whatever I needed to do to get through the day, through the flare up, the medical procedures, creating a life around what I could do physically and somehow moving from one place to another, making a new life each time. It never seemed to be that big of an accomplishment, only what I had to do.
There have been times when I have had people tell me I have such a positive attitude – I wonder where that came from because so often I have been down, depressed, cranky and not much fun to be around. They also say they marvel that I am able to do so much with RA – why does it feel so minor to me? Where did I begin to discount myself, who I am and what I have accomplished?
I have been thinking about this post since I last wrote and I have realized I see myself as a result of other peoples’ comments and perceptions of me. Except I have only heard and taken in the negative bits – wonder why the positive ones didn’t come through as well or stronger. I also now understand that most of my feedback in childhood was more negative than positive – I know Mom was trying to protect all three of us girls in the only way she knew how. I often wonder what her childhood was like – she only talks about her aunts and uncles, grandparents, some about her parents – but not the details that would help me understand her better. When I asked her about them, what they were like, she would say they didn’t analyze everything back then. Or if she wasn’t willing to talk, she would just say “I don’t know”. She is a true Yankee New Englander, born and raised in Connecticut and not one to talk much about feelings. My Dad was more talkative, though he was closed-mouthed some about things too.
Now I have begun to realize I have been looking outside myself for validation all my life – I haven’t loved, accepted, approved or trusted myself. I can’t make my parents responsible for all of it – as an adult I have had choices, although I didn’t really realize it at the time. I just went on with what I had always known. I have to take responsibility for my adult choices all these year – yes, it is much easier to blame someone else and see myself as a victim. But I am not a victim even though ego wants me to continue that so she can be in control. I know I am a late bloomer, I didn’t realize it would take until my 60′s to begin to bloom. I am also learning I had to go through the last 65 years to be ready for this part of my life – still hard to grasp it has been perfect all the way through. Maybe it is because the definition of perfect has always been Make (something) completely free from faults or defects, satisfying all requirements and corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept. So now it is time to redefine perfect in terms of my life. I always felt I had to be perfect, do things perfectly, then beat myself up because I didn’t or couldn’t do or be perfect – an impossibility from the beginning. (That’s another blog post by itself!).
I will admit I am not really happy about this post, it doesn’t feel as if it flows and goes anywhere. But I will post it anyway and invite anyone to give me some feedback and suggestions to make it better. Or maybe I am just too close to it and need to step back from it and not stress about it. Not all blog posts are stellar.