I’ve spent a long time with an imaginary leather jacket wrapped around me. A hard shell of protection. I wouldn’t show “weakness”, or what I perceived to be weakness at least. I wouldn’t dare cry in front of anyone, even as a little kid. If you leave yourself vulnerable you could get hurt. I figured the possibility of being in pain wasn’t worth it. I feel like this way of living has made it hard for me to meet new people and that really sucks. As I sit here I’m even struggling to come up with what I want to say exactly, so bare with me.
As I’ve grown up, gotten older, become someones wife, birthed children, raised kids and pets, that leather jacket has worn down, softened. I’ve softened. My experiences have changed me. Life has changed me.
When you’re a kid (and a teenager) your life is pretty selfish. It’s not your fault, that’s just how it is. You’re thinking of you, your feelings, your wants and needs and really that’s how it should be. Of course you love your friends and family and have compassion and empathy for others, but basically you just have to worry about yourself. As the years have gone by, I’ve become more aware of my surroundings, locally and globally. I’ve become so grateful for what I have. Of course things aren’t perfect, because nothing is, but things are pretty good. I’m grateful for the country I live in, for the city I live in, for my home and my people and every single thing I have. I’m grateful that my daughters are able to go in our backyard and play, sleep in cozy beds, and read books and play with toys and literally just be children. There are so many awful things going on, not just far away but also close to home. Those things put everything into perspective every single day. I have problems as well. So many problems, and they are completely valid, but having something that gives me another viewpoint on mine is really eyeopening.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve gone through my hard moments. I’ve gained life experience from all of them, and they’ve shaped who I am today. I’ve been the weird kid that got bullied. After my parents separated when I was 9 I spent the rest of my childhood and teenage years as a latchkey kid. I’ve been a high school drop out. I’ve been friendless. I’ve lived with my older sister. I’ve gotten sent back home from her house. I’ve become deaf in one ear. I’ve been a broke teenager living with my (then) boyfriend (now husband) on our own. I’ve had surgery on my ear. I’ve been clinically depressed. I’ve been riddled with anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder. I’ve been medicated. I’ve been in withdrawal (from the medications). I’ve been off medications and living with mental illness. I’ve been diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. I’ve been infertile. I’ve been on fertility drugs. I’ve given birth to a 4 and a half pound baby. All these things have had an impact on my life and my soul and my being.
They’ve made me softer. They’ve made me kinder, more empathetic and more patient. They’ve made me want to ditch my secretive Scorpio tendencies and bare my soul to the world. Or at least to like, my husband and perhaps the internet. They’ve made me want to be a person who’s brave enough to be honest.