Tuesday, 25 February 2014

on being real

So there we are. Most of my story - at least the bit that involves my dad - is out there. It's been good to re-visit things I mostly try not to think about anymore, and good to explore how it's affecting my life right now.

Late last year I shared my story with a small group of women who knew me, but knew nothing about where I'd come from. Driving home that day I had a watershed moment. "I don't want to be defined by that story any more. I'm tired of being broken! I want to be defined by who I am in the present ... but who am I, really?"

I know I've been shaped by the past, both the good and the bad. As my husband keeps telling me, "You wouldn't be you if you hadn't been there." And I am grateful for the grace I've learned to give others along the way; for the compassion, the ability to see all the shades of grey between black and white. But I'd like to let go of the fear, insecurity, bad coping strategies (toxic trees!) and low self-esteem.

Deep down a voice still says - you're damaged. Broken. Messed-up. You'll never be free.

I had nightmares when I was around 10 years old that went something like this - I'd wake in the middle of the night to 'see' a cloud of demons over my bed, shaking chains and chanting, "You'll never be free!"

In my early 20's I had a flashback to a day when I was somewhere between 5 and 7 years old. My dad said to me, "Be good, or else ..." and I knew more abuse was the 'or else' bit. From that I grew to believe the abuse was my fault; that I obviously wasn't being good enough - otherwise he'd stop!

The last words I clearly remember my dad saying were, when I planned on going to uni, "Don't bother - you'll never make it!" I sweated through my degree and passed with honors, but his low opinion of me stayed lodged deep in my spirit.

There's been so much healing already. But on my bad days I still believe I have nothing worthy to offer the world. I'm good at many things but not excellent in anything. I love to write, but I read other blogs out there and think, "Who am I kidding?" I can cook, but I'm no Michelin chef. I love being a parent but sometimes I shout at my kids and they cower away from me. As for the best wife - let's just not go there!

I still genuinely wonder what my friends see in me. And I'm useless at small talk. It's hard to talk about tractors or the weather when I really want to know what's going on in your heart. Most people find that intimidating, so sometimes it's easier not to start a conversation at all - but then people think I'm snobby and just don't care. Can't win either way!

Most of all I'm still waiting for that aha! moment when I find the one thing I was made to do, where I can really shine. Like that moment on X-Factor when a garage mechanic from the back of beyond opens his mouth and sings in a way that makes your spine tingle and your soul soar. Even more so when you realise that the world could easily have missed out on his gift.
But he showed up at the audition!

And maybe that's all we have to do - be real with ourselves and with each other, and then help each other get on with whatever it is that we're called to do.

I'm really enjoying a series over on Momastery right now that deals with this very thing - showing up to change the world in our own small way, despite our secret fears and insecurities. Well worth a read!

1 comment:

  1. Thank God for you Laurel and know that you are I friend I treasure deeply. Lv Fi. PS: Remind me on Sunday to tell you about a book by Max Lucado re: finding your "sweet spot," that one thing (or things) that you were made to do.