I’ve been wanting to share my story with you, to give you a glimpse into my life. Just to kind of give an idea of how I became who I am today. Honestly, something about that feels heavy though, and this really isn’t a tell-all of any sort. So – what I’ll do is break this up into three posts actually. Roughly speaking, kind of like this…
And then it’ll make more sense to begin elaborating on the lessons learned that I wrote about previously. Kind of doing this in steps here.
Okay! Let’s do this.
So! I am the baby of the family, with two sisters and one brother. Always loved being the baby, but also always thought what an incredible big sister I would’ve been. But that wasn’t in the cards, and I don’t have any kids yet, so being a loving aunt is what I get to be. And that’s a pretty good 3rd place thing, right? I’m kidding, I absolutely LOVE being an aunt.
I was born and raised in what I consider small-town ‘Mercia. Not like small county town with cows in my backyard, but still small city feel. Never was my thing and I always wanted to escape, and I did – but we’ll circle back around to that in my next post.
I grew up a very quiet, shy child. Never wanted any attention on me – I even misspelled words on purpose, so I wouldn’t have to go on the big stage for the spelling bee at school. Tip though to any young girl or woman reading this: never hide your intelligence, OWN IT instead. But yes, I kept to myself, didn’t like talking in class at school – ever – even in college. And I’m still an introvert through and through. But I have evolved a lot and am very “myself” around those I feel most comfortable with.
Somewhere around the 4th grade – what, 8 years old or so – I began to trickle into being a perfectionist. Everything had to be just so and what I considered to be “perfect”. What sticks out the most for me is if I were writing on a piece of notebook paper and I accidentally crinkled it, I absolutely had to start over from scratch. It didn’t matter if I’d already written on more than half the paper – I started over.
My perfectionism spilled over into a lot of things – I was just very particular, is what I like to say. When you can’t really control the chaos or anything around you, you tend to begin controlling what you can control. And for me, that was myself.
I played by the rules, I never got in trouble, I kept my head down, I kept to myself. If I did everything “right” then there wouldn’t be any reason for anyone to really focus on me. But eventually doing everything “right” led to me hearing a lot of “it’s not always about you” and “what, you think you’re so perfect”.
And no, I never thought anything was about me, and I certainly never thought I was perfect. I was and am my own worst critic. But, hearing these things affected me nonetheless. So, what did I do? I eventually spent my life giving everyone the picture of perfection. Never really giving myself permission to break in front of anyone. Never allowing anyone to see me be human.
Then when I was 11 years old, my oldest sister, then 18, moved out of the house. I’ll spare the details and circumstances because that’s not my story to tell. She and I were really close – she was my big sister after all. But, things happened, and while I understood on some level, even at age 11, I could never understand how she could leave me. Some part of me felt like I wasn’t good enough or reason enough for her to stay. She didn’t just move out, and I still got to see her – no, she moved out and then she moved thousands of miles away, and we just weren’t in touch for nearly 6 years. For me, ages 11 – 17…these were critical years. They ARE critical years for anyone growing up.
So naturally, during these years, and as a result of this happening, I changed. It shaped who I would become. I shut down completely, and I learned to shut everyone out. Why? Because at any moment they could leave and never look back. And if my sister could leave me, anyone could and would leave me.
I developed major trust issues. I don’t mean trust in the typical sense, but trusting someone with me, with my heart. Why would I trust someone when they could up and leave? Trusting someone and letting them in meant that I’d be giving a part of myself to someone, hoping they wouldn’t hurt me, but knowing and expecting they would. And I absolutely still struggle with this, as I’m sure you can tell from reading many of my previous posts.
If I’m being honest, it took me every bit of 19 years to look my sister in the eye and tell her that I forgive her. And while we cannot get those years back, we have a lovely relationship now that I know we are both entirely grateful for. It took work, it takes work. It took healing. And it absolutely requires trust.
I could say a lot more about these years, but I believe this gives a good idea of how I became who I am based on what I experienced in life. The same goes for you and everyone else too. The people in our lives, the environment in which we live and grow, the things we experience, absolutely shape us.
And we can use our experiences as an excuse for keeping ourselves stuck, or we can do the work it takes to heal and learn from our experiences. I chose the excuse route for a long time – saying this is just who I am. And that’s okay! OWN who you are. And at the same time, DO THE WORK that it takes to heal, so that you can get to a better place. So that you can be a better you today than you were yesterday.
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you! Writing is kind of my thing. 🙂 You can be on the lookout for the next part on Tuesday.