I have! For most of my life, in fact.
I think most people think it’s best (and easiest) to be the youngest in a family, but I beg to differ. It is true that there can be advantages, or perceived advantages. Yes, I was babied, to a certain extent, but that also meant that I was sheltered, and believe me this is not a good thing! As a result, I felt less capable, less. confident, less visible, less heard, and I definitely didn’t feel like I was taken seriously or ready to step out into the big, wide world at 17, when I graduated from high school. And there was no way I was staying at home, in small-town, USA any longer where I felt even more invisible and misunderstood. I knew instinctively that better days, and a better world were waiting for me outside of my comfort zone; or at least I hoped this was the case. How I knew this I have no idea, looking back.
I knew that I always felt different from everyone, even from an early age. I attributed this to my whole family being different… and we were. Only a few families in our extremely small, mid-western town of 2,000 had come from a different part of the U.S. We were considered outsiders. We thought differently. We dressed differently. We were different!
But what else made me different even within my own family? I always felt wise for my years. I thought this was a a familial “thing,” as well, though. All of my siblings had an equally hard life. We all lived on a dairy farm (but my older siblings had tasted and lived the “good life” as far as I was concerned…they actually knew and had lived outside the borders of small-town, USA) with a lot of abuse – what? – oh, yes… the unspeakable thing! The one thing we never talked about. Everyone else was the problem…always. Oh, the neighbors… they’re so…. backward, Jewish, German, or whatever the most recent judgment was. When I finally asked my dad, when I was in high school why some people brought others down his response was honest enough. He said, “probably because it makes that person feel better.” Wow! I had nothing to say in response to that. If you know you’re doing that on a daily basis, wouldn’t you at least question this harmful behavioral pattern? Perhaps this is what truly sets me apart from my other family members… the constant questioning, curiosity, and fairness of all things. Yes, my parents questioned systems, but not necessarily their behavior, fairness, tolerance, respect, or belief systems. If this were the case, none of us would’ve felt invisible. I’m fairly certain, although I’m not 100% sure, that all five of us children felt, and perhaps still do, feel invisible. We weren’t encouraged or celebrated for our unique personalities or capabilities. Instead we were compared to others (mostly against one another), shamed, blamed, abused, and belittled. We were quite often yelled at or told to “shut up.” I suppose this could be considered quite “normal” in many households, but it definitely made me feel invisible, insecure, depressed, and anxious, for most of my life.
I tried many times to get noticed, or be acknowledged for my inherent worth… first for my drawing capabilities, then for my singing capabilities, then for my physical beauty (I wanted to be a model for quite a long time), and then for my academic achievements (although by the time I took this seriously in junior high, I realized I needed to take control of my future because no one else was going to do it for me). Every time I put myself out there it was never, ever good enough. I didn’t know then, as I do now, that insecure, unhappy and unenlightened parents, perpetuate the cycle of negativity and unhappiness in their children.
Now when I look back, I can feel compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness for my parents and siblings. They created my reality, then, and their approval was everything to me, but I am an adult now, in charge of my reality, circumstances, and destiny, with a bright future of a big, creative vision to help empower women and girls worldwide. I am no longer that invisible little girl. I am holding the reigns of my life! I am in control! I firmly believe that I chose these lessons; this life; this family, for a reason. I wouldn’t be able to feel all the compassion that I do now when I read posts on World Pulse, and relate to them as well as I do, if I hadn’t had the upbringing, foundation, and lessons that I had. I feel like although it was, and still is, hard at times, all these factors have been exactly the perfect training for where I’m at today, and where I need to be, to create the change I want to personally see. Therefore, I am grateful for all these lessons. I am grateful for my purpose on this planet; in this lifetime. I am grateful for my unique personality, vision, and skill set. I am grateful to be heard. And, I am most grateful for all the amazing sisters, encouragement, support, and love that I have, now, on World Pulse. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be where I am today…. aiming for the starts, and basking in the glow of sisterly love… moving one step closer, every day, to realizing my dream life.
This post is written in deep gratitude, and in dedication to Jensine, all of the World Pulse staff, and, of course, all of my lovely, dear sisters. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Thank you for helping me on this journey called life, for giving me so much love, for listening to me, and for helping me to finally feel visible… and, to be me!
*Thanks again to the lovely Tam for reading my post over. I appreciate, honor, and respect you dearly, lovely:-) XXChange starts with a story.