Monday, June 15, 2015

Who I Am, Who You Are

who are the people who have helped you to become who you are?
Life is such a circuitous proposition.  In my little world I don't know a single person who can say that their life has been a straight line from point A to point B. My own lifeline looks alot like the cord of your earbuds after they've been in your purse for about an hour...or for five minutes.

I have a couple of teens in the house right now and I notice that they spend an inordinate amount of time acting as though they have their shit together, trying to convince me of that, trying to convince themselves of that. 
I remember being there, that place where appearing competent was essential to who I wanted to be. In fact, I thought it was just me that did that! It was exhausting and unending work keeping that facade up there.

It was a relief getting into my twenties and discovering the freedom to acknowledge the many things that I didn't know that I didn't know. In fact, confessing my ignorance in something, as I recall, was a wonderfully freeing thing for me back then. I learned that most important of lessons: acknowledging that you don't know a thing paves the way for true knowledge and wisdom to enter.

I can't talk about the beauty of growing into a better person, a more authentic person, without mentioning the people who helped me to become who I am, for better or for worse.

First there was Brenda. She was a neighbor woman who kept me from feeling entirely untethered for nearly a decade. She moved into the house across from me during my teens and she became super important to me. I can't help but wonder, now, if she wished I would stay home some days! She was a mother figure to me at a time when I didn't have one, and hadn't had one for awhile. She was a friend. She was a philosophical explorer with me. Brenda was imperfect, but her presence in my life in my late teens and early twenties helped me to feel heard, noticed, cared for.  And I think I did that for her too, in return. Although I haven't had significant time with her for years, to this day I feel a tremendous explosion of love for her whenever I think of her.

When I was a teen I got into the most important love affair of that time. Brian. We were together for almost four years. From that intense relationship I learned to not give up parts of myself in order to keep holding on to someone who can't love me for exactly who I am and who I am becoming. I also learned important things about parenthood, personhood, religion, and kindness.  OH, and sex. I am grateful that that type of intensity doesn't typify most relationships in the world. But OH MY!

Several years later, in my mid-twenties, I met the mother of my dear friend Lara, Jean. I can't say, concretely and consisely, what Jean exactly did for me. She was just there. She didn't go out of her way with me to do stuff, but that is what was so remarkable. She made it normal for me to be included and to feel important to her. She helped me work through some of my life story and to feel empowered at the end of it...somehow.

I had two therapists who were particularly important to me and who were genuinely caring toward me during their time.

My friends Lara, Rebecca, and Jamie. During my undergrad years, these women kept me grounded. From them, I felt admiration for my good qualities. That may seem like an odd thing to notice, but I felt authentic with them and they loved me for it. I can never thank them enough for their loving hearts.

Linda on the left and Brenda on the right
My disapproving brother in the center
with the Spirograph symbol.
I just don't think he'd appreciate being on my blog.
This was taken after Dad's death;
Linda hates the pic because she's talking.
My sisters Linda and Brenda have been vastly important in my development of my sense of self. Our closeness has waxed and waned over the years, but we have always loved one another deeply. They mean everything to me.

I had an excellent instructor in graduate school named Gary Behrman who really brought some good things out of me as a professional and as a human being.

My husband and my children are key to who I am now. Jerry is so freeing and generous and loving. I am truly my authentic self because of him.

What about you? 
Who are the people who have helped you to become who you are?  
I would be honored to hear your stories.

You Might Also Enjoy:
Dear Me: Being the Mom
Be Who You Are

Are You Happy?
With Flaws and All
Swimming In It 

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