Adolescence is a difficult time. I remember thinking I knew exactly who I was. In all honesty, I think I “knew” who I was back then more than who I actually am now. Stay with me and I’ll explain.
When we were young we were told that we were a mixture of our parents. I don’t know about you but I took that to heart. In my case, I was a foster child. My mom died when I was eight and my father had nothing to do with me except for an occasional visit on the phone or in person every 5-15 years. But what I remember of my mother and the stories I was told, were imprinted in my mind like a tattoo. The ink is always there but over the years the edges have gotten a bit fuzzy. I still remember what she looked like but I can no longer hear her voice. Boy, was she a beauty! Blonde hair, hazel eyes that favored green. Her eyes were sad. But she tried to cover it with her smile. Funny how a child recognizes that. I also distinctly remember a scar across her face that she had gotten from a knife fight, back when she was in a gang.
I lived with my grandmother for a few years after my mother died. Like mothers do, she would go on and on about my mom’s positive qualities. She said my mom would, “give someone the shirt off her back if they needed it.” Neither of my parents graduated high school, so education was not something that was pressed. From as early as I could remember, I had great empathy for others and felt it my duty to stand up for what was right, regardless of how it affected others. “My mother had a big heart. I must get that from her.” I would tell myself. One night at a high school house party, two guys got into a fight. All 5 feet 6 inches of me got into the middle of the fight and broke it up. “My mom was a fearless badass. I get that from her.” I said. When report cards came home full of C’s, D’s and F’s, I shrugged it off. “My parents never graduated high school. I’m not meant for this school stuff.” I repeated
These are thoughts that I played in my head most of my life. I had no other option but to believe the words I was telling myself. So, most of my life I went through each day believing that I was stupid. I wasn’t like “other” kids. My future was limited to a dead end job. I never understood why people wouldn’t stand up for others or for what was right. I would get in someone’s face and yell and scream and feel justified. Afterall, I was a “badass” like my mom. I didn’t realize that each time I told myself I was dumb, a part of my soul faded away. If only I had listened to my heart instead of the words imprinted in my head. I would have realized being a “badass” wasn’t really who I was.
Life is a journey. I have now been on my journey for 37 years. Five years ago is when I realized this journey is mine, not what others tell me. I have since discovered that I am quite intelligent after all. The girl who couldn’t read until third grade was accepted and completed the extremely rigorous dental hygiene program and is now a published author. That “badass” who always demanded justice, still has her fire but the fuel has been re-routed. I wasn’t put on this earth to be an accumulation of my parents. No offense to them but what would be the point in that? There is so much more to life than to be born, suffer and die.
The journey of self-discovery is just that, a journey. There is no final destination because our growth is limitless. The gift that comes with human life is freedom of choice. Today you can be a badass, tomorrow you can be a yogi and next week you can be an artist. What you do does not define you, instead, it’s the words you tell yourself.
I AM…….two of the most powerful words. For what you put after them shapes your reality. I challenge you to make a list of 10 positive affirmations that are NOT about your job. Example, my career as a dental hygienist does not define me. I am not only Catrina, a dental hygienist. I am much more.
I am loved
I am intelligent
I am inspired
I am blessed
I am capable
I am passionate
I am energy
I am a child of God
I am grateful
I am a divine spirit
Look at your list every morning before you start your day. Before the chaos of life sets the tone for the day. Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.
This is a great book to read regardless of where you are in your journey. Everyone has a story. You weren’t in control of how it began but it’s up to you, and only you to finish it.
If any of this resonated with you, please feel free to leave a comment, share your thoughts, struggles or even insight.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” -Brene Brown