For the longest time, I didn’t think I had a story. No major traumas, no near death experiences, no escaping from a cult or whatever else makes an “amazing” story. I thought I was too ordinary to have a story that anyone would want to know about. Ordinary compared to what?
That was the problem, I was comparing myself and my story to others. Trauma is relative, and because I had grown up under a veil of shame I don’t even think I realized I had traumas for the longest time. Living with that much shame is a trauma in itself I think, but I’ll get into that in another post.
Another aspect of my hesitancy is that I don’t want to be a victim. I don’t want to be seen or labeled as a victim by anyone else because I don’t feel like one, at least not anymore. Sometimes, when I think about telling my story, I imagine other moms reading it thinking “oh that poor girl, if only…” focusing on how tragically pathetic I was and how I needed to be saved. I don’t want anyone’s pity. I just want to be seen. I want others to be able to read my story and realize that the kid, teenage girl, or the young woman, they are secretly or not so secretly judging––assuming she knows she’s wasting her potential, or assuming she’s making stupid choices on purpose––is maybe just floundering around in life, feeling invisible and in need of some love and guidance. She doesn’t need your pity, she needs your authenticity.
I just believed that all the stuff that happened to me or the things I experienced in my life were a result of my own clueless naivete and that if I hadn’t been so stupid none of it would have happened. And maybe that’s true, but it doesn’t disqualify me from having a story and needing to tell it. After all, I’ve learned from it, maybe someone else can too.
No sooner do I write a post about how much I hate hypocrisy than do I catch myself in it. Perhaps this is why I hate it so much. It is a sneaky, slippery slope, and easy to fall into.
My sister was coming to visit yesterday, which the kids always get really excited about, and I found myself making a secret phone call to her ahead of time asking her to smuggle in some Sour Patch Kids candies to replace the ones that I told the kids I’d share with them. I did share with them when we first opened the bag, but then over the course of the next week or so, I polished off the rest. (Insert *eek face*. I rarely buy sour gummies and this is why!)
The kids have probably forgotten about those candies already, but rather than face the prospect of telling them that I’d eaten the rest without them, I was trying to pull of a scam. I could hear my inner voice accusing me, pointing a finger and demanding me to remember what I had just posted about. I could feel the familiar grasp of shame starting to creep in, so I looked at that. What was I worried about? What was I trying to avoid? It was more than likely that the kids wouldn’t even ask about those candies and I wouldn’t have to face it. But more importantly, what lessons was I robbing them of if I just pulled off my scam and replaced the candies? What would I be doing to myself by bringing yet another bag of those delicious temptations into the house again?
Wouldn’t it be better to be honest with them? I know, as a kid, it didn’t help me at all to try and believe that my parents were perfect when I could clearly see they weren’t––nobody is.
I didn’t go through with the candy smuggling. And if the kids ask about the candies at some point, I will tell them they got eaten and that one day we can buy more. And it will probably be a good opportunity to talk with them about self-control, and even some strategies to help us with our self-control.; like not buying a lot of candy and keeping it in the house.
Rather than save my pride, I decided to give my kids the gift of this opportunity to learn about how not perfect their mother is, so that they too can be relieved of that incredible pressure to be perfect.