Self-discovery. This is part of my journey. In order for me to be successful on this journey, I need to take an honest look at what has helped to make me the person I am today. Who are the most influential people and what significant events have occurred?
Right off the bat, the absolute most influential person in my life has been my mother. I am so thankful and grateful I have her as my mom. She raised five children alone. She was able to keep a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs and clothes on our backs without the aid of my father or anyone else.
Momma taught her five children the true meaning of unconditional love. She did it through words, but even more importantly, her actions. Regardless of how horrendous her children were behaving (and we were REALLY, REALLY, REALLY rotten at times!), she continuously let us know she loved us. I have no idea how many times we heard, “I may not always like what you say or do, but I will ALWAYS love you.” It is something I have told my own children from the time I first learned they were in my womb.
Mom taught us the definition of faith – belief and trust in and loyalty to God. Even during her darkest hours (for her there have been MANY over the years), her faith never wavered. If it did, she never showed it. Her faith in God gave her the strength to get through each day . . . each dark moment. I wish I could say the same for myself. I had many times over the years when my faith more than wavered.
I believe there is a purpose behind everything that happens in life. I know I will not always know what the purpose is and I know I will not always like it. During those times, I will need to pray for strength.
Momma taught her five children there is ALWAYS hope – especially during our darkest hours. I believe faith and hope go hand-in-hand. This was not an easy thing for her to pass on to us. My mother is an optimistic person. She sees the glass as half full. There have been many occasions when I thought she was wearing rose-colored glasses!
My mother has been my role model for so many years. She held so many roles during the course of my lifetime. I am ever so grateful and thankful to be Blessed with her as my mother. She has been the most influential person of my life.
My father influenced my life, as well. By him abandoning my family when I was 12, he did the biggest favor for us he possibly could have. With him gone, I learned if I talk the talk, I damn well best walk the walk. Say what you mean and mean what you say. I became very good at this. Somewhere along the way though, I lost me.
My ex-husband (Mr Potato Head) influenced my life. Because he was abusive (physically, psychologically, sexually, financially and emotionally), I learned MANY things. The most important thing I learned is I am MUCH stronger than I ever realized.
There are several significant events which have had major impacts upon my life. It has taken me time to realize just how much each event has been interwoven within the threads of my life.
The first, I would have to say, is my father abandoning his wife and five children. This most definitely skewed the way I viewed the world. I lived in a deep, deep, deep dark, twisty cavernous place for many, many, many years. For so long, I was hell-bent on self-destruction. I did not care whether I lived or died. Honestly. To say the chip on my shoulder was ginormous is a gross understatement!
The next significant event would be my first marriage. There was a 10-year age difference between us. He was 29 and I was 19. He had been married before. I thought I knew everything and thought was a ‘bad-ass’ whom no one could touch. Ha! Little did I know how fast that would change. I physically lived with him for six years and stayed legally married to him for three weeks shy of eight years.
The births of each of my children are the best and most significant events of my life. Each are miracle children. I have had seven pregnancies but only Blessed with three children. There were times over the years where they were the ONLY reason I kept going.
As I said at the beginning, in order for me to be successful, I must look at what has helped shape and mold me into the person I am today. This means looking beyond the here and now. It means looking at, examining and facing the past. This means facing some harsh realities. Then, and only then, will I honestly and truly be able to move forward along this journey.