I grew up in a family of women who got stuff done. Last-minute changes in plans and we now have an extra five mouths to feed? The women made it happen. Someone was injured during a nerf gun battle while Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared, and the pumpkin pies are starting to burn? The women tended to the injured, made most of the dinner, and kept the pies from burning. The women in my family get stuff done.
I also grew up in a family of overprotective men, seeing as how I was the baby of the family and also the only girl, I’m sure you can imagine how spoiled I was, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I rarely wanted for anything, but my parents also instilled morals into me to keep me from becoming a brat. I realize that the world owes me nothing and that my parents worked very hard to provide better opportunities than they had. Thanks, mom and dad!
My brother and dad taught me to not rely solely on a man. They made me learn how to change a spare tire, check my oil, know what the parts of my vehicle are called, they taught me to learn my vehicles, to get to know them because each model is different and has its own personality. Why did they teach me all of this? Because they knew that it always has been a man’s world, and in order to succeed as a woman, well, it takes balls. And having a basic understanding of how machines operate makes it less likely for a man to take advantage of a dumb broad who has no clue how engines work. (Can you sense the sarcasm, cause I laid it on thickly.)
When people comment about my strength and say things such as “You’ve endured things that would have broken others,” I can only attribute that strength to the women in my family, who always rose to a challenge, and to the men who taught me I had to be strong, because it was the only way to survive.
I am becoming. My hair is turning more and more silver and I can’t eat certain foods past certain times or it will give me heartburn, but for the first time in a very long time, I am starting to appreciate myself.
I am learning that I am worthy of the love I give away, and I rarely receive the same intensity of love that I give, and I’m also learning that most of my disappointment falls on me. I give too much credit to people, I expect people to treat others, (including myself,) the way I treat them, and as my husband often points out, I think differently than most people.
I never really understood what he meant by that until the other day when I came home from the grocery store and I told him that I helped a little, old lady get an item from a top shelf, and you would have thought I gave her a million dollars, for such a simple act. My husband responded by telling me that not many people would have helped her. I found that hard to believe, at first.
“No,” I said, “Anyone would have done that.”
“No,” he replied. “People should, but they don’t, everybody thinks that this is their world and we’re just living in it, so when someone like you, who is genuinely kind, comes along and grabs items off of shelves for strangers, you’re seen as a saint, because you actually realize your surroundings and have consideration for other people around you, it shouldn’t be rare, but it is.”
I thought about it for a minute and my heart sank, because how many times has that little, old lady gone without something because she couldn’t reach it? How many people passed her by without even noticing her struggling? It makes me want to go stand in the grocery store and look for people to help.
I am not used to this side of myself, a woman who truly recognizes her own worth, but I am growing quite fond of her. She’s helping me rediscover a confidence I lost a long time ago.
“Hello beauty, hello strange. Hello wonder, what’s your name?” – John Mayer
I’m not exactly where I want to be, but knowing that it is progress and not perfection that I’m after helps me to be a little easier on myself, I’m still my harshest critic, and I’m sure that will always be the case, however; I am embracing this new discovery of self and navigating these unfamiliar, unpaved roads with determination and passion, with the help of artists and philosophers, who, I’m finding, are life’s best teachers.
I have a feeling there are plenty more heartaches and losses to come, but I also know that there are more memories to make and miles and miles of laughter ahead, and no matter what, I’ll be okay, because I’m a woman, and the women in my family get stuff done!
I encourage all of you to discover your true self, to embrace all of the things that make you uniquely you, and most importantly, to be patient and easy with yourself. It is about progress and not perfection, and progress takes time.
What life lessons have you learned recently?
Love & life lessons,