As a little girl I had BIG dreams for my life. The truth is that my life has turned out nothing like I thought it would back when I was a kid. Everything is different from what I imagined it would be. I had expectations even then. One thing I have learned on this journey is that if you have expectations you end up disappointed. Dreams are important but you need a nice dose of reality to keep them balanced.
I have walked a rough road for much of my adult life. There have been good years, bad years, and years I thought I would never live to see the end of. However I still rise. I am here and I have chosen to THRIVE. We all deserve to live happy in the end.
It has taken me many years to arrive at this point. When I look back at my youth I remember happy sunny days growing up in a house filled with brothers and sisters. I guess things took a rapid turn for me when I was in grade school. My Catholic parents decided to get involved with a religious organization that really shook my world to the core. It engulfed our lives and left me feeling isolated and unheard.
My parents were children of the 50’s. I romanticized the pictures of them from highschool in my head. My mother in her strapless puffy dresses and red lipstick…cheerleader, King & Queen of the Senior Ball; they were nothing but smoke and mirrors for me a child of the 80’s. By the time I reached high school any chance of me having a life like my parents did was shattered. There would be no school of my choice, no make up, no dating. I felt cheated and ultimately isolated. In retrospect, I know my parents made decisions not to hurt me, but to keep me safe. It’s ironic, but when you grip something too tightly you run the risk of suffocating it.
Good News…I survived adolescence with a healthy dose of rebellion and multi-colored hair. Punk rock was the background music to my daily life and it fueled me on. I thank God for that healthy anger that screamed out, “No matter what you say, It cannot be a sin to feel the way I feel.” I still feel the same today after all these years…minus the multi-colored hair.
You have to be very careful as you journey through your life. Sometimes the things or people who you feel comfortable with are exactly the people and situations you should run from. For me that was the mistake I made with my husband. His control felt comfortable to me at first. It was familiar like a worn in pair of shoes. I thought it showed that he really cared deeply. I couldn’t see it for what it was until it was too late. Eleven years and two kids later I didn’t know if I would get out alive. I was caught up in my smoke and mirrors this time. I hid the reality from everyone; my family, friends, and co-workers. My mother told me after I got away that I deserved an Academy Award for my performances all those years as the happy wife. She is probably right, I do.
Here I am today living as a single mother with two kids in a life I never imagined for myself. This was NOT how the script was supposed to play out. Last night I said to my best friend, “How did my life end up like this? It’s like the train just went off the tracks.” Everything is different, yet I am still the same girl whose blue eyes are filled with dreams of what she wants to be when she grows up. I know who I am now…that’s the silver lining here. All the trials and struggles have helped me to really do the work I needed to do, and delve deeper into myself. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses. I am the captain of my ship.
Just where is the ship sailing? That is the question I ask myself. The answer is that it is up to me to hoist the sails and set the course to find my True North. The journey has begun and now I am choosing to change the direction of it. I have taken the wheel and I am in control…even though half of the time I feel like I’m not. I feel like I am about to careen into the rocks and slip under into the deep, dark, and ice-cold ocean waters; but I know that this is just insecurity lingering from when the bottom dropped out before.
I am a writer, and in being one I have decided that I get to write the ending to my life story. I still have a way to go on this journey, and I hold the pen. I can craft my life into the one that I want. I can go into the candy store and hand-pick my dreams. They only thing preventing them from coming true is me. This is a very powerful thing to acknowledge and accept. It is both liberating and terrifying at the same time. This is where I am….on the edge with my wings spread preparing to jump and hoping that these magnificent wings work on the free fall down.
I am a survivor and I have chosen to rise in spite of the circumstances of my life. I am not willing to settle for an unexamined life. A life that is not in par with my dreams. As an adult I can dream with a tempered mind….all I dream I can manifest if I BELIEVE and do the work.
You must always remember that you are NOT your past. You may have lived through hell and walked through fire, but you are NOT what happened to you. You are what you chose to be…you can write yourself a happy ending to the story of your life. I’ve started writing my happy ending, but I am still waiting to get to the good part. xo Ella