Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Do you remember when we were kids...we'd be playing some game and the results weren't exactly as we planned, so we would shout out "Do Over".
This week, I've had several of those days - all piled up together!
I feel like I don't matter in anyone's life. Slowly one-by-one, everyone is exiting and I just want to shout ~ Come back, it's a do over!!
When you go through childhood, you look to your parents for guidance and direction. What I received was ridicule, negative comments and demeaning words - all my life I sought approval and never received it. They always made me feel like I was a failure.
I was fat - therefore I must be lazy.
I was not pretty - therefore no one will ever love me.
I failed classes - therefore I would never succeed in life.
I cried at simple things and was ridiculed for having a tender heart.
I often read aloud to my stuffed animals & dolls - therefore I would never have friends, only acquaintances.
I was not a morning person - therefore everyone called me crabby.
I was quiet and shy - therefore I was a daydreamer.
I think every child dreams about what you might become in life. My thoughts would range from being a teacher, an artist, an anthropologist or an architect. But how could I ever go to college - after all, I wasn't smart enough and my parents weren't going to waste their money on sending me to college. Instead they enforced in me that the only acceptable answer would be for me to get a job, because school was "not my thing".
All my life - my parents decided what was acceptable. When my opinion was different than theirs - they would look disapprovingly at me and tell me, "that's not how we raised you".
Through-out my work life, I often thought about going to college. But what would be acceptable and why did I always feel like I needed someone's approval? I was stumbling blindly through life as I was surrounded in low self-esteem, low self-worth and lack of confidence. And in order to block out all the negativity, I started to build a wall around me and began to eat through my emotions. Food was my comfort...but it also filled me full of loneliness.
In 1996, I went through a corporate down-sizing and decided that I was going to go back to school full-time AND I was taking Architectural drafting! Of course, my parents disapproved, it was a toss-up between seeking a position in my current field or not being accepted into what was considered a "man's job". I was burned out on being a support programmer and they laughed at me. How could I possibly know what it's like to be "burned out"?
Of course, they also disapproved of me taking a 6-week vacation in Australia before I started school. Why was I so irresponsible? That's not how they raised me!
Slowly and timidly I was taking steps forward, trying out my wings and not seeking approval. I left my stress in Minnesota and found my smile in Sydney, Australia...who knew that's where it was hiding?! I experienced the trip of a lifetime and will NEVER regret that decision!!
I started school in February 1997 and I was scared to death! My first day in math class, I sat in the back of the room (where no-one would notice me), the instructor put some basic algebra equations on the board and said, "do you remember this?". Out of 60 students, I was the only one to shake my head NO! Desperately I was trying to remember something I had learned 30 years before and found (for the first time in my life) an instructor with patience and she told me I would be fine!
Over the next 18 months, I gained confidence in my abilities. And when I graduated, I asked the financial counselor to notarize my grades, then mail them to my parents. Certainly they would never believe me that I was top in my class with a 4.0 grade point average.
My new confidence was short-lived and I quickly found out that employers in the construction field disapproved of female employees. I survived for 30 months, before I was let go because I "didn't fit in". I know that I bruised a few ego's as they provided me with the statistics, that I was doing more work than the three men I worked with. And that was considered - BAD? They were right! I was bored and decided it was time to move on, as working in the male-world was too s-l-o-w paced for me and all I wanted to be was a school girl!
I will NEVER regret my decision to go back to school. Architectural drafting was something I had wanted since high school. I needed to experience that for myself - with or without approval. I still enjoy the structure of buildings ~ but I learned to move on and quickly found accounting to be my new niche in life. Playing with numbers all day, balancing someone else's money was almost as much fun as being back in school.
And now at age 60, I'm wishing for another "Do Over". What do I want to be when I grow up and what new experiences can I discover?
Nutrition was never something I learned from my parents. Oh sure, mom often put me on diets - to make an example of me. But the two diets I remember were the protein diet and the cottage cheese diet. To this day, the thought of eating cottage cheese still makes me puke!!
While I've been on Spark for some time now - I'm slowly transforming my "diet thoughts" to that of being on a healthy journey.
Last fall, I declared that I was an emotional-over eater and the walls started to crumble. This quiet gentle giant is slowly waking up to the world around me, trying to make changes to improve my life.
The journey has been slow and I stumble often...
And now I find myself stuck with 'goal setting'...
But isn't my current exercise streak a goal? The incurable disease in my legs is not in my control - but the amount of exercise I push myself, each day, IS in my control.
And the food I choose to eat is becoming healthier each day. Who would have ever guessed that I love vegetables? Or that I would be weighing and measuring my food, or keeping track of everything that crossed my lips?
Who knew that by allowing myself to experience things for myself, I'm learning to spread my wings and gaining new confidences each day. And who knew that when I "feel" my emotions - I don't have to use food to comfort my needs.
Let the tears flow....
Call a friend....
I'm experiencing life and learning to soar to new heights, every day....