In April of 2015 I found myself sobbing tears of uncontrollable emotions that caused my shoulders to shake. Sitting next to me was an empty box of Kleenex and all my used tissues.
The culprit of my outburst was Diane Sawyer’s interview of Bruce Jenner when he finally confessed to the world…on camera I might add…that he was a transgender.
I watched as he gently shared his painful, yet triumphant journey of mustering the courage to accept himself as the person he always believed himself to be along with giving himself the permission to finally express it out in the open.
Regardless of how you might feel about his choice…you have got to admit that took a TON of COURAGE!
This caused me to reflect on times in my own life that I had to summon in some courage to be me…
At the age of 17, I found myself pregnant by my high school boyfriend I had recently broken up with. This was horrifying, as I was raised in a loving, but very religious family. To complicate matters, my mother had recently remarried, as my father had died of cancer.
My new stepfather and I were not on great terms. Let just say, we preferred not to be in the same room together.
The year was 1981, and as if the religious family pressure was not enough to bear, there was also absolutely NO social acceptance of teenage pregnancy.
Once the news was out, I was informed that I could no longer attend my high school, and no other options were offered for education, etc. On my last day of school, the principal shook my hand, placed a piece of paper with my current grades in it, and wished me luck as he walked me to the door. As we walked he gave me a pep talk…“Oh, it’s a shame that you will not be able to finish school! If by chance you have any hopes and dreams for a future, its best you forget about them now, as I am certain they will no longer be possible. Oh, and prepare for a life on welfare, because without an education, you are doomed to live in poverty.”
For the next several weeks, my mom and I wrestled with what to do next. I was finally provided the following options:
- Be sent away to my aunt’s house in Seattle Washington. Nobody would know I was pregnant. I was to have the baby, give it up for adoption, and return home as if nothing had happened;
- Still be sent away to Seattle, return home with the baby, and turn the baby over to my brother and his wife, Or;
- Get married to my ex-boyfriend. However, if I chose the married option, I would not be able to live at home, because, remember, me and my stepfather did not do well together.
Fabulous choices don’t you think?!
The part I did not share with anyone while all this was taking place was that, inside, I really felt that I was meant to keep my baby. However, I was scared to death to listen to my internal voice.
According to my loved ones, keeping the baby would cause my life to transform into a prison camp complete with no food and daily torture.
According to my loved ones the choice of keeping the baby felt more like I should prepare for a prison camp complete with no food and daily torture.
This drove me to secretly exploring alternatives that I knew where completely unacceptable to both my family and me for that matter. I explored things like abortion and running away with my ex-boyfriend, begging for a possibility of just making it all go away.
I thought, perhaps this would be my only chance at having happiness in my life, and I would have with my baby with me.
To tell you the truth, him and I actually made a plan to meet at the train station to begin the execution of our secret plan. Thank GOD for my sister who just happened to drop by at the perfect time to remind me of who I truly was and that all things were still possible for me and my unborn child. (Thanks sis, I love you.)
The final decision….
I married my ex-boyfriend 2 months later.
My beautiful daughter was born 5 months later, and she was a gift directly from heaven to me. I have got to tell ya…together we have grown up, and shared a lot of life!
We often joke, that we are so close in age, that we will both be in the assisted care facility together. Lol :)
She has been one of the greatest things that have happened to me. (Thank you for coming into my life. I love you.)
As for the marriage, it lasted a little over a one year, but through the years managed to remain supportive friends to each other.
I am sure my story is why I was so deeply moved with Bruce’s story. I know what it feels like to pretend to be something that you know you’re not. I know what it feels like to have a raging battle going on inside between your heart and your head.
Your head is working hard to convince you to do what you should do. It reasons that doing what you SHOULD will ensure you will continue to feel the love and acceptance from family and lovers that you so desperately long for. Its voice would whisper to me, ”You must keep the pain staking façade of who you are supposed to be intact, it is your only hope of being loved.” And my heart would rage back, ”If you don’t stop this, not only will you never have the love and acceptance you long for, your opportunities for life will be taken!”
When you stop to think about, we all have moments when are heads and our hearts do battle, and we must choose whether we will...
Honor the voice inside that is calling us to embrace who we truly are, or sell ourselves short by succumbing to the judgment and scrutiny of others in exchange for a chance at some love and acceptance. Let’s face it, it can be very scary to choose yourself at times…it sure has been for me!
However, when we don’t choose ourselves, we unknowingly choose a life of unhappiness, and unfulfilling experiences on all levels. Unfortunately, most people live lives of quiet desperation, feeling as though they can never express who they truly are. The crazy thing is, when you really stop and think about it, the only thing you can be is you; and expressing you is your only path to true happiness and love.
Think of this…
A man may deeply desire to live in geo-dome, but society tells this person he is mad for wanting such. So, the person builds a ranch style just to fit in which drives him mad! He would truly like to paint the walls of his house purple. He has always felt peace and joy from this color. However, the interior decorator insists that the walls be painted a neutral color of white or beige. He paints the walls cream. Now, each time he walks into his house he feels physically ill instead of the peace and joy that he longs for. But the friends and neighbors just love the place!
Here Are 3 Steps To Help You Get Started:
- Stop ignoring the voice that you know is truly YOU. Get in touch with your intuition, and then nurture it. This will begin to provide you with a sense of personal power.
- Surround yourself with humans that love, accept, support, and encourage the true you, and you give this gift to others.
- Do everything you can do to feel good every day.
Have the COURAGE to be you! Besides which, everyone else is already taken!
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