To Be Seen

I really thought I was hard to see but I am realizing with great surprise that this is another big lie I have believed.

I have felt misunderstood by my mother for the vast majority of my life. She would tell me that she knows me best and would also say I was things like selfish, rude, manipulative, etc. Now, in truth, I didn’t think I was these things and didn’t intend to be any of them either, but when you’re a child and you’re taught these things about yourself, you believe them.

I thought, if my mother can’t see that I am really trying hard to be perfect, something is wrong with me. If she can’t see that I’m trying hard to do my very best to make her and everyone else proud and happy, and it isn’t coming through, something is wrong with me. I’m not doing it right. Being massively misunderstood is no fun at all. Being told you are the exact opposite of who you are is devastating and degrading. In my mind, since my true intentions weren’t obvious, I just needed to try harder, do better. That was my thinking for most of my life.

Now, I am coming across more and more people who are telling me things about myself, things that are actually true of my character, and I am dumbfounded. I wonder, “How do they know?”, they seem psychic or something. How is it that they see so clearly what my own mother, who says she knows me best, doesn’t see?

It didn’t dawn on me until recently that perhaps I am not at all difficult to see, I am who I believe I am and maybe the problem begins and ends with my mother. Maybe she does in fact see who I really am but doesn’t want to admit it to me. I don’t know.

Regardless, I am experiencing shock after shock as people I am friends with on social media describe me perfectly.

I posted about missing my oldest who just moved out, and one dear Facebook friend said to me, “You are so close with your kids, so intentional, you’re such a good mom, you’re real friends. I thought this was going to be really hard for you.”

Another dear Facebook friend wrote, “To not ache, I’d be concerned. I know you well enough to know she’s your sidekick. Your babies are your friends… and it’s beautiful and painful and messy and wonderful, and all the things. This is a testament of what an amazing mama you are!”

I am an open person but even with what I do share, I don’t share everything. To have these two women see the real me like this amazes me. I have only met one of them in person and that was only one time, probably a good 10 years ago, but they see me. And now, I understand that it isn’t that I am hard to truly see. They see me because they want to and the real me doesn’t present some sort of imposition for them in any way. They don’t feel the need to tear me down in order to feel better about themselves. It’s good to be seen for who I am. It’s good to know that I don’t have to try to be perfect. It’s good to know I can just relax and be myself and that is not just enough, but it’s plenty. It really feels good. Actually, it’s not just good. It’s great.

Warning Dreams

I want to apologize for my downer posts. It’s my knee jerk reaction. It’s the conditioning I received growing up. The message is that I should be careful to not get in the way, be it, physically or emotionally so. The message was that I was to care for the needs of others and not have any needs myself, because who wants to bother caring for mine? No one, I was told. I was told I wasn’t wanted by anyone. I was reminded from time to time, in front of my children, of the time when I was around 8, when I was told that my father nor mother wanted me. It was said that no one wanted me and my mother proceeded to pretend to call the police to come and get me because she was done with me.

That story did not need to be repeated. I never forgot it. I took that message in deeply, along with the many others I received before and after that time. I had no idea that the call to the police never happened. I was too young to know that, had they been called, they would have come. I had no idea that any moment I did anything at all that set her off, they wouldn’t come and take me away forever. The problem was, I didn’t have to do anything to set her off. It could happen at any given moment for reasons unknown (and unrelated) to me.

I wont’ apologize for waking up, feeling down this morning. I have feelings as everyone else does and I refuse to pretend I don’t any longer. I will deal with my feelings, pray and ask for help as needed. Just like anyone else, I deserve love and care. I had a bad dream, again.

The thing is, God gives me warning dreams. I like to call it Holy Intel. I may have just awakened from one such dream and it grieves me.

I need a hug.

What I am dealing with is so wrong. The last warning dream I had, happened a few weeks after I dreamed it. I handled it very well and feel proud about that.

I felt very prepared and loved by God for the warning. I don’t want to do this again/anymore, but I will if I have to. It’s just heartbreaking.

Another thing God is doing is bringing things to my attention that I was not aware of, concerning this situation with my mother. Things I was made fun of and ridiculed for, were totally orchestrated by her, unbeknownst to me. There were many insidious set ups.

I am surprised, but grateful that God has helped me to not succumb to it all, allowing it to change who I am at my core. I see people who are forever changed, in horrible ways from such experiences. And although it feels wrong and akin to a betrayal to speak and write about such things, I will do it anyway, for as long as God wills it.

The Singer Who Rarely Listens to Music

You know how music makes you feel things? I rarely listen to music because I don’t like to feel things. Most songs from my childhood end up having me in a state of grief. I know this isn’t a bad thing. I need to grieve what I once thought I had but never did and likely, never will. There are times that I feel led to play music that I know will lead me to grieve a bit. When I feel that nudge, I do it. Otherwise, I avoid music altogether.

The other day, someone in the house played El DeBarge’s “Love Me In A Special Way”. I sat in the kitchen and just cried uncontrollably. I remembered myself as a very little girl, singing that, not knowing what I was singing but doing so with all my heart because singing is one of my gifts and I used to love to sing.

I just felt led by the Lord to look at the lyrics because I woke up this morning with that song playing in my head. I didn’t really know the words, but part of the lyrics struck me as I read them this morning…

“Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now
Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now (love me now)

‘Cause I’m special
Not the average kind 
Who’d accept any line
That sounds good
So reach into your chain of thoughts
Try to find something new
Because what worked for you so well before
For me it just won’t do.

Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now
Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now (love me now)”

I am beginning to feel differently now, more authentic, more un-apologetically me. Manipulation tactics that worked on me before, just don’t any longer. Not because I didn’t catch them before, I caught them, I just ignored them and pushed through because I thought I was here to make others happy and comfortable. I thought I was here to take care of people and leave my own needs for some other loving soul to hopefully, prayerfully see, take pity on me, and take care of them for me. Now that I know I am responsible for taking care of my needs, not others’, I refuse to continue to let myself down.

There’s still a little girl inside of me. She is incredibly wounded and afraid. I have carried her with me all my life, yet, I have ignored her needs and wishes, in order to favor others. She couldn’t depend on anyone to meet her emotional needs. Sure, she was dressed nicely. She was fed, but she was also starving for real and unconditional love.

She needed care that just wasn’t offered. She was psychologically and emotionally beat down behind closed doors. She was lonely, and lived in survival mode, because back then, she had to. Not anymore. Now I get to care for this gem of a girl. I get to love her unconditionally. I get to accept her tears, her fears, her grief, her anger, and not just her love, her generosity and care because it feels better and suits me.

I accept her wholly. Little by little, I am gaining her trust, and whatever she does in my chest that makes it feel so uncomfortably tight, whatever she is doing that makes me feel like I am struggling to breathe at times, is lessening as I remember how to care for her.

That little girl will no longer need to sing those lyrics from a state of grief and desperation. If she sings it at all, she will sing it for the love of singing, because she has a beautiful voice. You should just hear her.