I was talking with a friend earlier about life. How we live it, how we take from it, give to it…how we manage to get through it.
Specifically, we were discussing the process of learning ourselves. he ways we grow and change over time. If we’re lucky, we get to move from childhood and all that goes along with it into a place of maturity. A place of self-understanding and awareness that helps us drown the voices of all the people who would tell us what we “should” or “need.” You’ve all heard the voices…”You should do…” “You should be…”, “You need to do…”, “You need to be…” we’ve all heard them. Repeatedly. You probably still hear them, if you’re at all like me. Some of us get better at either ignoring them or shutting them out altogether. The messages may come from many different voices. I have separate voices for my mother, my grandmother, favorite teachers who thought they were saying the right things, ex-boyfriends, an ex-husband and friends of all sorts. Everyone wants to help you. Everyone wants to be kind. Virtually no one has any idea how hurtful they are.
I grew up being told I was, as well as too fat, too sensitive, over-emotional, unable to make fun of myself. I took everything personally. In a family of teasers, I was not. That made me “too sensitive.” I can’t even begin to tell you how many things I took “too personally” when it wasn’t intended that way.
When I was 33, when I told my new counselor that I was “too sensitive, overdramatic and hyper-emotional”, he said…”why is it too? why is it over? why is it hyper? It’s you. You may be “more” than others, but that doesn’t make it too much, it’s not bad.”
It’s the first time I really started to look at myself for who I was instead of who I “should” be or “should” be trying to become.
I am a Drama Queen. I truly enjoy being the center of attention. It’s just part of who I am. Before, it was the whole me. With acceptance of this truth, I have been able to relegate the drama to a healthier spot in the continuum of my life. When I experience a moment of intense drama, I allow it – and it remains a moment. In my earlier life, when a moment of intensity occurred, whether warranted or not, I thought it shouldn’t happen and increased the drama by trying to contain it.
Now the time has come to shepherd my “Drama Queen” son. It isn’t easy. It isn’t supposed to be. I want him to experience life as himself and not what he “should” be. But the voices have already started for him. His sound like my mother. (I am sure that he hears some of mine, too, but I am working to keep those to a minimum.) Today, on the way home from church, Bryce told me that he wants “one of those straps that goes around your belly to hold it in” before he goes to my mother’s the next time so she won’t “harass” him about his belly and being out of shape.My nine-year old son wants a girdle.
I try to stay out of his relationship with my mother. I know that she loves him and doesn’t DELIBERATELY hurt him any more than she DELIBERATELY hurt me. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to tell that it isn’t deliberate. So, now, I have to step in. I cannot let her continue to give him the same messages that did so much damage to my psyche. Messages from which I am still recovering. Messages from which I will never fully recover. I hope it isn’t too late. I also pray that I can make her understand before I really have to intervene; I don’t want him to lose the relationship but I will, to the best of my ability, make sure he isn’t put into situations where I know he is being bombarded with negative messages from people who “love” him.
Bryce is actually much more self-actualized than I am. I hope that means that I’m doing a good job helping him discover what’s new about himself on a regular basis. I acknowledge his feelings and his right to feel them even as I try to teach him about appropriate outlets.
I’m jealous. Jealous that he has someone to guide him through the process and support him in his journey to understanding and acceptance of himself. I undertook the same journey more than 9 years ago now. With little guidance, it’s a long journey. I feel like I’ve made progress.
I am a Drama Queen. And that’s ok.