The title can be taken at least two different ways – one questioning/threatening, and one inquiring. I mean the second one.
This comes from a discussion the other day with a friend regarding a book I am looking to write about how I invented myself differently for just about everyone I knew. This was exhausting. I think it was both a symptom of my mental illness and a contributing factor to it.
To some degree we all act a little differently depending on the “audience”. For example, a teenager will be one way for her parents and teachers and another with her friends. We react to the environment we are in. But what happens when that gets out of control?
I was bullied right from kindergarten all the way through to grade 12. It actually continued on through my 20’s and 30’s but I believe that was because I started internalizing everything that others were saying to me and about me. I heard everything from being a boy in a dress (because of short hair and orthopedic shoes) to being a dog on a bike, to being set up for date-rape on grad night by a so-called best friend.
I was not athletic and actually quite clumsy. I had to wear braces through most of my teens and that garnered a lot of teasing and nick names. I desperately wanted to fit in, so I started trying to be all things to all people…literally. I would do anything someone asked so that they would like me. I helped teachers after school, lent money to “friends” who would never pay it back, even started smoking to be like others though I hated it. I was the “good girl” my mother wanted me to be and the “model employee” my dad insisted on at his drug store. But the truth is I wasn’t either of those because whatever I did wasn’t good enough. People would tell me I tried too hard but I didn’t know any different.
After my parents passed away, or more particularly, my father three years ago, I started to feel free. I have said in other posts that I loved them but was not sure how much they loved me. Well, I was finally out from under all that responsibility I felt trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be. I could now find out who I was.
I am still learning and it is the best schooling I have ever had! I am learning my likes and dislikes in food, music, movies, rather than going along with the crowd. I am a good wife and great lover to the man I could have married 10 years before I did – if I hadn’t been worried what people thought of me going out with someone 10 years my junior. I also know that I love the Lord and everything I have gone through has been for His glory.
I do not regret who I was; however, I am so glad I now know who I really am.