In an Effort to Understand One’s Self

Do you ever spend time wondering why you are the way you are? Or why you are wired the way you are? Why you think the way you do? Have you always been the way you are? When did certain trends start? Are you ok? Do others think you are ok? Are you different than others? Why? Do you have a special calling or ability? What does God want you to do for Him? What are your talents really? What is your calling in life supposed to be? Am I having a mid life crisis? Who am I anyway? Or is it just me? What do I want to do with the rest of my life considering that I am who I am? What do I want to do with the time I have left in life? Do I want to plan it out and go that direction? Or let it be and be a feather in the wind? Do I need to be driven to a purpose? Or let the purpose find me? lol

Some of these things have been rolling around my head lately. And natural thoughts I suppose at age 56 when you are certain you know what you like, what you don’t like, what you are willing to put up with and what you are not. Some of those very thought processes led me to make a job/career change at age 56, because of what I value and because I am who I am. As this begins to get settled in my life (I hope, we’ll see) then I begin to wonder about the rest of it. Especially when considering what God would want me to be working on for Him. Doing household chores this morning, my mind has taken off on this – so much so I had to grab a legal pad and start writing my thoughts down while sipping coffee. It’s true what they say about the morning mind – don’t look at the phone, don’t get caught up in others agenda – go with your own thoughts and your own creations for the day. It’s quite amazing how our little brains can be when we give ourselves time to actually use it in creative ways. Life in itself often does not want to give us time to even think. I guess this is why meditation can be so important. A piece of it is emptying and dispelling unneeded info and thoughts and another part is capturing them – in my opinion. But we won’t discuss meditating today – and my meditating by the way is done while ironing or doing housework and not sitting Indian style with my fingers placed in a o-ring fashion. lol Although that would be quite nice if given the time.

So while pondering these thoughts today I wrote down the answers to these questions:

  1. What was my earliest thoughts as a child?
  2. What were my earliest goals as a child?
  3. What did I like to do as a child?
  4. What were my fears as a child?
  5. What were my meltdowns as a child?
  6. What types of things did I get in trouble for?

Now I’m asking myself why did I throw in #4, 5 and 6? What purpose does that serve? I’m trying to track what kinds of things led me astray or that I did wrong or why my persona is what it is. Might as well look at that too. I feel that all of these questions help get some definition as to who you really are, how you were formed, and have you always been the way you are? lol This is going to be good, I tell myself. I couldn’t wait to get paper and pen and get started.

AS a child?

  • I remember wanting to please
  • I remember wondering about God and how big he was and what he looked like and what the earth was like as a void before earth was made. I remember it blowing my mind. I closed my eyes and saw the dark void and tried to imagine how God created everything and then would open my eyes and see everything around me.
  • I remember liking nature, and being interested in it.
  • I loved to go fishing and going out to the farm with grandaddy
  • I loved learning sessions with my grandaddy as he taught me to read and write long before school started.
  • I was afraid of new things at first, whether I’d fit in, be ok, go to the right places, get lost. Afraid of being goofy or embarrassing myself or made fun of. Afraid of doing any sports b/c I didn’t grow up around PE or sports and it was so foreign to me. I wanted to have a pen in my hand and do writing and reading and thinking at school instead.
  • Any meltdowns I’d had – I heard I didn’t like my milkshake and threw it in the floor. I don’t remember that. But that explains my first real anger moment at inanimate objects, lol. That continues to this day. I may be heard having conversations with my computer, ink pen, chair or any thing around me. While I usually don’t throw things, I have.
  • I don’t remember crying much but did cry when given tasks that required more of me than I felt I could do – like cleaning my closet out at age 4 or 5. I was given the task and I didn’t know how to do it and became frustrated and began crying.
  • I remember liking to spend time with friends such as going to the movies, having sleepovers, talking. I liked to draw and write – making poems and collecting poems.
  • I remember getting in trouble mainly for going outside the boundaries- going further down the street than I was supposed to, going home with a friend on her bus instead of going home on mine. And I got in trouble also for talking back. I learned my independence from Mom and in trying to act like her because she was very open about stating her feelings and letting it be known how she felt about things or about others so… I would do the same and tell my Mom how I felt about her if she punished me or did something I didn’t like and usually got smacked. And probably rightly so. So I developed a fear for saying how I felt about someone or something and realized I could not say how I felt to a parent but could share with a friend w/o getting in trouble. And I guess I developed a fear of authority at that point and began my independence feature at that point. (The purpose of this exercise is not to hurt anyone – but to see how I am the way I am.)

As a young girl? Some of the above was also young girl but the lines – it is all kinda blurred anyway.

  • I remember being baptized at age 9 and wanted to do God’s work and picking out administrative things to do – on the church to do list.
  • I remember loving “SRA” a reading skill program and I loved to be competitive against myself (not others) at going up the various levels. I loved reading and loved that program.
  • I remember being in girl scouts but my favorite part of it was trying to earn the badges and “do the list” to get them
  • I cared less about the meetings or being with the group. I went camping with them and was scared of the coyotes and a girl stole from my suitcase. That was the end of girl scouts. And my fear of tent camping. Although I have been to Minnesota and camped and loved it as young woman.
  • I loved ordering scholastic books from the special orders but we didn’t have a lot of money and I didn’t get to do that very much.
  • I loved ordering those WORLD EXPLORER boxes and would get a kit a couple of times and it showed you about other places in the world. I only got a couple of these but really liked them.
  • I loved social studies (learning about other cultures) and I loved math and doing the problems and trying to find the answers, and I loved science and learning new things about nature, about our bodies, and the weather. Mainly b/c I was scared of tornadoes and hurricanes.
  • I developed a fear of tornadoes when some touched down in Columbia. I was horrified that such things existed and had to know more. I checked out books on tornadoes and hurricanes from the library. I began looking out the windows and pacing every time a dark cloud came. I began dreaming of tornadoes. That enhanced my fear.
  • I was afraid of the dark, afraid of skunks, and was told earlier in life I was afraid of trees b/c of Snow White movie in which the trees bent down toward her.
  • I wanted to learn piano but we couldn’t afford one, so they gave me a guitar but this was not my dream so I didn’t have interest enough to do it. I wanted the piano.
  • I remember wanting to please, wanting to get all my homework assignments, and at this stage began keeping a to do list. Although mainly just for assignments.
  • I remember loving to write, having colored notebook paper, a cute good writing pen and loved my desk in my room. It was my spot. I had a red bean bag chair and also spent hours in it or sitting on my bed.
  • I remember beginning to notice fashion and what others were wearing. I remember wanting to have elephant leg pants like Michelle Bass’s b/c they were so darn cute. lol I also remember wanting to have blond hair instead of brown.
  • I still enjoyed reading but often other things I enjoyed more.
  • I loved writing letters and was a pen pal to my cousin, and people at church camp, and I loved getting the letters back. I began loving “the mail”. Even Mam-ma and I would write each other while in the same household and we set up mail box station when I would visit. I also had a pen pal that I wrote too off of a magazine once and she ended up going to college with me of all things. We met and she said “you were my pen pal”. I had forgotten. But I used to love horses and wrote to her about them. I didn’t remember but she did. Her name was Charbeth Pounders. I also had a friend Belinda I wrote to when she moved to Huntsville, and my friend Opal when she moved. I had boxes and boxes of all those letters saved and I recently threw a lot of them away just b/c it seemed pointless to have someone else have to do it after I pass. I couldn’t throw all of them away, but many are gone in an effort to “release stuff”.
  • Meltdowns? I think this was a pretty happy stage in my life. Any meltdowns probably came from any confrontations that Mom and I had. I was always so upset with myself when I could not please her, or she was mad at me for something, then I would retort back the facts or how I felt – probably in a smart tone – which I got from her lol – b/c I did something she didn’t like or said something smart and it would make her mad and I’d be yelled at or smacked and it hurt my feelings and I would cry. So I would be reinforced again not to share my feelings. Our relationship was sadly not as close as some of my friends had with their Moms. I began noticing that in my early teen years. I was not sure if it was me or her. But I knew she loved me b/c she fed me and kept me clothed and took care of me.
  • I remember developing little crushes on boys in my class room. I remember loving Valentine’s day and hoping to get a card from my favorites. I remember loving annual signing – for a drip of any hint that any of my favorites would write something kind to me. I loved church camp and even church and had some little crushes there. Crushes mainly consisted of just looking at them, wondering about them, and hoping they would notice me and the ultimate – write me a letter. All very innocent.

As a Teen?

  • I remember enjoying making my to do lists for school.
  • I enjoyed having a certain type of notebook and shopping for school. The notebooks had to be special. I loved to keep up with the trending fashions but seemed to always be a bit behind. I always got these things for Christmas though. Enough fashion to be able to “fit in”. I always wanted to fit in. But I was a little shy. I was best at one on one conversations. And sometime didn’t express myself too well. It never came out right so I tried to be quiet a lot. I felt comfort with friends and being able to laugh and “be me”.
  • I loved being organized.
  • I began loving music, TV shows, and we talked about them with friends – our favorite ones, or what was funny or interesting. I loved Valerie Bertinelli and wanted to look like her and be her. She was so cute. I had star crushes on Donny Osmond, Sean Cassidy, and even Leif Garrett of all things b/c I thought he was a cool surfin’ CA dude. I guess he was at the time.
  • I enjoyed school but also enjoyed being out of school and enjoyed going to the pool and even enjoyed being in my room at home listening to music, drawing, writing, talking to friends. I loved listening to John Denver and Linda Rondstadt. I recorded songs from the radio to be played over and over.
  • Friends I would meet at the movies.
  • People starting “going together” and it began to be important to me to have a boy friend. Although my first kiss was on a tin lizzie ride at Opryland from a boy at church when we went under the bridge, I really didn’t start going steady until about 8th grade. They lasted anywhere from two weeks to six weeks – it was crazy. Nothing serious either – just passing notes b/w classes and maybe talk of meeting at the movies on Friday night or the next skating event – often which didn’t work out. We swapped around boyfriends every other week like they were meals on wheels or the flavor of the week. However my eight grade summer I did meet a boy that I “went with” off and on for probably three years and that was a more serious relationship. I broke it off both times if I remember correctly. The first time I just wanted to see other people. The second time I think he had cheated and there were other issues and I needed to break free from all the sadness that was bringing me down from that. And did. He still called some through the years to check on me. We are face book friends now but do not communicate. I had a another serious relationship in high school and had a lot of flirty people around and a lot of boy “friends” that I loved being around and doing things with but they wanted more out of the relationship than I did. There was one I was engaged to and he broke it off as he left for college and it broke my heart deeply. He says his parents made him do it. But then I met another at a drive in movie at the snack booth – that captured my heart, while there with a friend, and my former relationship finally forgotten and eventually married this one -the first marriage – after being together 6 or 7 years. The one that broke up with me though is a facebook friend now and we communicate some but on a very mature level – mostly about health and wellness as he is a scientist and researcher in that field and I’m remembering that at age 16 at Wendy’s he was telling me to not eat fries b/c of the salt. lol He still tells me not to eat sugar and bread on my facebook posts. So all this to say is that boys became prevalent in my teen years in a big way. It was important to me to find the right relationship. But my criteria seemed to be that they had to have a big interest in me, listen to me and enjoy being with me. My big fear was if they cheated on me I’d lose them. However, the one that seemed to be the most interested in me, that did things for me, spent the most time with me – was not the one that was best for me. We were so opposite too. I was organized, he was not. He could pull rabits out of a hat and get people to do things, I could not. He was a smooth talker, I was not. But I envied that. That was my first marriage and that broke me in a big way. My theory backfired. He cheated and lied and broke my heart again. And that led me into a spinning world of “what now” and some rebounding and insecurity which led to a lot of wrong decisions and may of them. And that left me with a fear of not being able to find the right relationship and I’m going down the wrong paths and don’t want to write anymore about all that, but it was a big part of my life and huge section of teen years and coming out of college. My roaring twenties were something. And boy did their roar and wave. More than anything in my life I was traumatized by my twenties. No I didn’t do drugs, didn’t steal, nor get in trouble. But I had several years of relationship struggles of who do I need to be with and why and who is real and who is fake and where am I better off and where would God prefer me to be. The angels administered to me one night so vividly as I made a decision through this phase. I could feel angel wings around me telling me what to do.
  • I was in a struggle of being in love with two people and having to decide which was right for my life. I had not done well in making these decisions before. A lot of people were hurt as I had to make some serious choices and settle. I lost family for a while, for making decisions they didn’t agree with and they withdrew from my life and I retreated into my own as I received letters of disownership and was bound to hell. I was traumatized actually. And to be honest I still am to a degree. While you can all forgive one another, it’s not something you get over really when you think love is to be unconditional. It makes you question everyone the rest of your life. It seems that people in your life leave you when you need them the most. But I couldn’t talk to anyone for fear of being judged. And judged I was. To top it off I was given all of my college loans to pay off as a reward for my decisions and to release their burden of my sins. But I had to keep going or kill myself and I chose to live and make a life for my self and a fairly happy one at that. We struggled with the financial debt and made it. God has had understanding and of what was really happening and has blessed us and was with me the entire time. He sees, he knows my heart and how it works and how things came to be and sees when no one else does. He has been the only constant unwavering one in my life. As choices go. I do think I made a good one. I think there are more Godly and righteous outcomes in the decisions I’ve made even though they may have seemed wrong to others at the time or against God’s will or word at the time. But God had a plan and he was all raveled up in it along with me. Whew that is deep and hard to write about. I am just now getting to where I can talk about it some. On to some light stuff. I jumped way in advance to early adulthood there but the teens led up to it. Now back to the teen world….
  • I remember wanting to travel and go to Hawaii with my friend Sheila
  • I remember starting work so I could do just that. And did. And got the best tan of my life. I remember feeling alive after traveling and having that experience to talk about with others. Not that I was proud – I was just excited to share.
  • I remember wanting to be a cheerleader so I figured that out and did what I had to do to do that. I remember it not being my best thing. I was awkward, goofy, and just really wanted to be liked and popular, but I was not athletic, and not a climber and hated heights and didn’t want anyone on top of my shoulders either as I couldn’t support the weight, so this was not my best in life, but luckily no one cared as we were not that serious into gymnastics and all that. For the most part there was another girl just like me and we became fast friends, laughed a lot, bonded and I wish I knew where she was today. Pam White. Where are you? “Things are just peachy” was our saying.
  • I remember selling Pop Corn and Candy tins to earn my cheer uniform and was top of the sales in our group b/c I was so focused and didn’t want Mom and Dad to have to pay for too much of it.
  • I hated cheer leading camp. I discovered I couldn’t learn the routines as fast as the other girls could and it was frustrating to me. What was wrong with my brain? It bothered me a lot.
  • I still kept my fear of storms but my fear of fitting in with people decreased because I had a lot of friends and had people in my life that really cared and accepted me for who I was. Life was big.
  • I was determined to keep my grades up with A’s and B’s, began working in jewelry and accessories at Park’s Belk, and was dating and cheering and also seeing friends and studying late into the night. Dad would tell me to go to bed soon and I would stay up and get homework. It was busy times. I had my life together though, was in routine and managed to do everything I wanted and intended until those nights where there were two or three tests to study for at one night. Somehow I managed.
  • I remember taking home economics and loved learning how to sew and to cook. I loved developing new routines and making biscuits and popovers and a sewed a dress. I wanted to continue but Mom’s sewing machines was so hard to use compared to the one at school. Neither Mom nor I had patience to deal with teaching/learning hers so I gave up on the sewing. It’s always been something I’ve wanted to continue doing as I enjoyed working toward that final product but it’s not something I’ve taken the time to do. Too much involved. Have to find the right sewing machine and then have to reteach myself. Or take classes and the the time. But I did have a love for cooking. Mostly I’ve collected recipes and though about cooking as George likes cooking more than I do now.
  • I remember wanting to be settled, to have a house or place of my own, to do the grocery shopping and meal planning and to decorate. These things excited me so much.
  • I also loved fashion and enjoyed the new trends. I loved being involved in retail at work and selling it and wearing it. And showing it to others as they came in the store. I loved my job at Belk’s too and was good at the admin part of it and the displays. I did all the counts and inventories, set up the displays for new merch coming in, put things on sale (did the markdowns) and kept up with the sheets on it. I was also used in the back to open up the boxes and price things going out on the floor and matching it up to the orders as received. That was fun. I worked a lot of hours in the summer helping out back there. I hated to leave my job for college so they let me work on the weekends. lol.
  • As a teen my meltdowns were usually over boys, what I was allowed to do or not allowed to do with Mom, or not being focused on what Mom wanted me to focus on instead of what I wanted to focus on. And that is about it. I never really had a lot of worries other than whether or not I would meet my next goal. Or having a clash with work and friends or work and school. Cheering and work and being a teen were hard and sometimes I had meltdowns b/c I had to make choices. I had to drop chemistry b/c I didn’t have time to study and I was failing it.
  • Getting in trouble? Probably was because I went somewhere I wasn’t supposed to. Going the long route to church to get a donut, going across town to get the music album I wanted b/c they didn’t have it on my side of town. Going riding around instead of going to the movies. Going riding around instead of going to Burger king. We didn’t do anything wrong, we just wanted to see who we could see. We used to “cruise” lol
  • But I loved dreaming about the future, experiencing new things, enjoying new music, and thinking about being independent and living away one day. That said, I loved having a boyfriend as that was my ticket to ride and I wanted someone to truly care about me and wanted to have someone to love and fuss over. But I wanted my education and independence too.

As an adult?

  • I’ve loved keeping house and being in routines still
  • I bought myself a keyboard and learned how to play the piano and enjoyed it for many hours. But I let it go after having Katy and had life to attend to.
  • Until my late forties and fifties, I watched the Weather Channel, read hurricane and tornado books and finally now that I have a basement my fear has subsided some. I still don’t like to be in a storm but I love to watch them. I do feel trust from God to protect me.
  • I began to have fear of flying, but have overcome it for the most part. I have a respect for it as they say. I realize things can go wrong but trust the statistics of car vs plane and have been willing to take the risks, understanding that if God says its time…it is. I still have fear if I think about it much.
  • I love researching new things and having goals.
  • It was important to be married to have a family and I’ve loved being a Momma.
  • A career has been important to me and being focused on that has allowed my administrative, my intuitive, research, writing skills to come to value.
  • I still love nature, but also still love being indoors and all cozy in my decorated climate.
  • I still long for travel and exploration.
  • I still love my music, having friends and being able to talk openly with friends.
  • I still love planning for the future, having to do lists, and wanting to accomplish goals.
  • I have meltdowns when I get frustrated, feel mistreated, or feel overwhelmed.
  • I still get in trouble for saying how I feel or telling the truth. I still feel afraid to discuss things with authority in case I will get in trouble for saying what I feel.
  • People still misunderstand me and I’m sure I’m mistreated still for saying what I feel.

So having done this exercise I see that I have a lot of themes running throughout. Always looking for new things, but liking my routines, always looking for adventure and travel, loving music, reading, writing, having to do lists, being busy, planning life, running things administratively, wondering about God, and hoping that someone loves me enough to spend time with me, which George does. I still am afraid of the weather some, afraid of fitting in, of getting lost or not knowing what to do, of doing something goofy. I still have a distrust of people at times and a weariness of how people are as most of us do at 56 and have been through things. You just learn.

I enjoy a lot of the same things, have more freedom now of course, very independent, still dream and still have meltdowns over much of the same. While I’ve learned from some of my mistakes – I’ve learned not to get into situations where you have to make tough choices – nothing in life is worth being traumatized over. I still get in trouble for telling the truth and saying what I feel. So we learn some lessons, some things we didn’t intend on learning or shouldn’t have learned. But we did. Not only did we learn what we are made of – that we are stronger than we think. We also learned maybe some others are not as strong as we thought. And we learned that God makes good things come from bad situations. But we see the threads of life throughout.

So I’m an ambitious, God seeking, work oriented, to do list lover, routine seeking, adventure seeking, travel seeking, challenge seeking, meltdowner of frustration, misunderstanding, and overwhelmedness. I am troublebound master of saying what I feel and telling the truth as I see it. Some things change and most things don’t. But I’m a survivor and resilient and I am good enough for anything I want to attempt at life and most of which I have if I set my mind to it. I’m independent and love God more today than yesterday for what all He has done for me. He loved me and has stayed with me through all of my decisions, my sins, my challenges, my good times and has provided me with blessings and mercy.

Praise the Lord I know who I am and who I was meant to be. A feather in the wind, it doesn’t matter. I’m here and I’m HIS!

4 responses to “In an Effort to Understand One’s Self”

  1. It’s a journey for all of us and look how far you’ve come. Sometimes we have to learn things the hard way, but it’s usually good in the end.
    Take care, Sheila

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