I use many words to describe myself as I barreled through the years. Words like fool,idiot,twit etc are scattered throughout. Some may say that I am being uneccesarily harsh, but truthfully, at the time, I was in fact all those things.
What you might not understand however, is how I feel about myself today, after all the drama and chaos.
My self esteem, has over the years, hit lows one wouldn’t have thought possible. Each new failure bringing yet more re-enforcement of my utter failure and stupidity.
The strange thing is, that every new experience, every new piece of repeated learning eventually, impossibly though it may seem, started to take root. Every time I messed up, a seed of knowledge was planted. Because I am stubborn to the extreme it took many years for those seeds to germinate and eventually begin to grow.
Although in a general sense my life only really began calming down after my last child was born, I was still changing and developing and learning right the way through my life.
As a young mother and young woman there were times when I was positively feral! I would try so hard to do the right thing only to go barreling off in entirely the wrong direction when situations became too hard. It seems as though I lived my life in a very small bubble, not dreaming or planning or daring to look further than my nose.
Once the lessons finally began to take hold, I struggled to reconcile my behaviour with what I knew I had tried to do. Despite a life of unparrelled foolishness I knew there was a place that hadn’t been ruined by fear.
I have always understood my heart. Years of crazy and decades of fear and pain couldn’t detract from the one truth that had never been lost – I really did give a damn – I always had.
I really did love my parents and wished that I knew how to fix things. I didn’t have much of a relationship with my brother ‘The Prof’ but I had always wanted to. I craved learning and thoroughly enjoyed school before I went off the rails and walked out. I loved my eldest to distraction even when I’d been aloof and hard and unyielding.
As the knowledge was finally given life within me, I slowly and quite often painfully, began the process of change. I knew what I didn’t like about my belief systems and I definately knew the behaviour patterns that were unacceptable.
The difficulty with change is that knowledge and strength are given to you in different packages. You are first given knowledge, wisdom and understanding and then you if you are willing to committ to using these gifts, you are given small measures of strength. As you move forward, more and more is added until you eventually get to a place where the wheels of your bicycle are no longer tied, and you begin to ride fairly smoothly.
I say fairly, because The Universe being what it is, never gives you a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ lesson! When it teaches, it wants the lesson to be complete enough so that it eventually becomes permanent.
Enter the challenge!
My biggest obstacle was forgiveness. It was never going to be possible for my to find true freedom until I was willing to forgive – first myself, and then my parents.
Although I knew and understood this truth it was only after my youngest was born that I was able to activate it and finally begin the process of permanent change. I remember watching my daughters together. The difference in years between my kids was exactly the same as between my eldest and I – 18 years.
I looked at my young child ‘The Seasprite’ and I looked at my newborn baby and imagined them being mother and daughter.
The picture was ridiculous!
How could this young teenager who wanted nothing more than fun and freedom be a mother? How could this young ‘almost woman’ nurture and care and provide for another human being when she had no yet even begun to be an adult?
and then the truth hit like a ton of bricks!
I had done it!
When I was a frightenened, broken and rebellious teenager, I had become a mother. As I watched them, the curtain of self-hatred and loathing began to slowly fall away. I watched as my eldest child played sweetly with her sister and then gave her back to me after a few minutes because she had places to go. I watched as she experienced a screaming, wailing baby who would not settle down. I watched and I learnt.
The Seasprite was expressing her teenage self exactly as she should have been, exactly as I did at 18.
It was at that point that I finally had my first taste of real, permanent, life-changing freedom.
I had been a child raising a child.
Looking now through more mature and wiser eyes I finally have the utmost compassion for my young self. Falling pregnant had forced an adult response from a teenage mind and body. I finally understood the enormity of what I had taken on when I myself was barely out of diapers. I don’t negate the times I failed utterly as a mother, I was and still am, responsible for my behaviour, but I now think back with a tender and forgiving heart. I finally see how frightened and overburdened I was at such a tender age. I am finally able to ‘hug’ and love my teenage self sincerely and with the deepest love, respect and forgiveness.
Today I write this with a gentle heart. I have taken the time to understand myself and my life. I have finally been able to appreciate the lessons I have learnt and most importantly I am finally able to apply them.
I will always be a ‘sergeant-major’ type when my kids misbehave (even with the Seasprite who is now an adult), I will always scream and shout and warm errant bottoms when the need arises, and will probably always be on the short side of impatient, but at least now it is with a greater measure of restraint.
As I parent I have no doubt that I will always roar like a lion, but at least now I am now able to love, protect and provide for them as fiercely as one too!