Me, myself, and I.
I was looking over the blog post from yesterday titled “Women Empowerment – Not so supportive and the womanhood role.” I wrote it in response to the anxiety filled moments that I had the day before. The old negative thoughts about my previous marriage and relationships with others had reared its ugly head and took up most of my day.
Today, I want to write an expanded perspective about what I wrote as it pertains to myself.
I know from experience that I come across as aggressive to most people, not just other women, I have been told this by men as well.
When I was growing up as a kid, I was bounced around between relatives until about the age of ten. During this time period in my life the only friends that I had were my male cousins. I will always consider them my brothers. I had two half-sisters that I did not know and had not been around them until I was picked up one summer night by my mother and her husband.
I grew up with my grandmother’s, aunts, and female cousins as the women role models in my life. They were the ones who helped guide me through the whole puberty process because my mother was not involved, around, and assumed that I knew these things. She was very hands off and not a good mother, to me.
In the interim, I learned social skills from the male influences in my life, my grandfather, uncles, and male cousins. All my friends in elementary were boys and I had little interaction with girls in my grade school.
I grew up playing football, learning to fish, hunt, swim, and fight like a boy. I learned how to compete in school and on the playground just like a boy. I wore tennis shoes and t-shirts for most of my childhood days. It was only on special occasions when I was actually put into dresses or had my hair fixed.
I rebelled against the idea of being “girly or feminine” because my female cousins hated getting dirty, sweaty, or messy in any way. They wanted to pretend to be moms, teachers, or someone famous while I wanted to be Luke Skywalker, GI Joe, or Superman.
Then when puberty actually struck for me and my male cousins, everything changed. In their eyes I was no longer just one of the guys, I was just another girl. Overnight, I went from being a part of their group to being a weak girl who was no longer allowed to hang out with them. I remember being so upset by it and not understanding why I could not be around them anymore.
It was a very lonely period from the fourth grade until I graduated high school. I was bounced around to different schools and did not make friends easily. I had a few friends in my classes but outside of school I was rarely invited to do things like go to the movies, ice skating, roller skating, hang out at the mall, have sleepovers, or attend school functions.
This time period was also the worst for me at home because the abuse had started. It was the secret I kept from everyone that knew me. That abuse coupled with being bullied for the way I looked, made me incredibly angry as well as painfully shy. There were not very many Indigenous students in my schools and sometimes I was the only one. I rarely talked to anyone even the people I knew. I was always the “quiet or serious one” and also known for having a temper. This would escalate into fist fights before, during, or after school.
I became solely focused on graduating high school and joining the Air Force so I could move as far away as possible. I had a powerful desire to escape the life that I was living.
While my school friends were discovering boyfriends, learning how to drive, work part time jobs, go on vacations, and learning how to become future “women,” I was just trying to survive every day. Survive the daily abuse as well as my anxiety and thoughts. It is also during this time that I lost touch with most of my relatives and rarely got to see them. I was on my own.
Then time went by and as I grew into adulthood the inability to know how to be a “woman” became very apparent in every relationship that was formed. I grew up to be just one of the guys again in my workplaces.
Whether it was the military environment or the civilian jobs, I became that “go to” person to get things done. I was this person because I became competitive and worked hard to be the best or subject matter expert in any job that I did.
I now know that overcompensation is a sign of high functioning anxiety, to mask what is occurring. I could not accept being second in anything. I was trying desperately to seek people’s approval and have them like me. It still feels that way sometimes, except now, I approach it differently.
Now, I have begun to learn and accept myself the way I am. I still struggle with acknowledging the accomplishments, accolades, awards, and merits that I have achieved over the last thirty-three years. It sometimes seems trivial. My youngest son uses these as examples to build me up when I am feeling down or anxiety filled.
In the recent anxiety episode, which turned into thoughts of not having friendships, he pointed out that my life experience is different from others and it will never be equal no matter how I try to portray it.
I have lived a life that most people will never experience but there are others who are similar. I pushed myself to pursue these things that others never considered. It was not because I thought I was better than anyone, everything I have done was to save myself from the depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
He was right. I realized that I have been trying to make myself small to fit into those preconceived notions of what women should be like. I have been trying to make myself likeable and affable to everyone. It is also the reason that I get highly agitated and annoyed when other women tear down women who are similar to myself.
I am this blunt, in your face person when it is something important, not just to me, but if it affects everyone involved. It is that “seeking justice” part of my personality. That trait which always comes up in every personality test I have ever done.
I attribute this to the trauma of my life. That part of me that is still seeking to be rectified and wants answers. The only problem is, others view it as arrogance, bullying, or being obnoxious but if I was a man, then I would not have those perceptions of me. It is especially hurtful when those perceptions are coming from other women.
I am this kind, caring, and compassionate person when it is necessary. I say “when necessary” because this part of my personality is sometimes perceived as too naïve and idealistic. Yes, I have been burned by people that I tried to help. In my defense, I do not see this as a flaw because at the end of my life, I want to be at peace knowing that I tried to be a good person. I tried to put nothing but positive energy back out into the world and universe. I tried to make a difference while I was here. It has been my only saving grace.
I am too serious and sometimes too rigid. This part of my persona is only partly attributed to twenty years of military service. The rest is from growing up with no boundaries, and not knowing how to create trust with others. I grew up afraid for my life, every day. I had to learn how to fight back and defend myself at an early age onward. The people that I trusted in my life were supposed to protect me, but they did not. They were the abusers instead. It has taken my whole life to feel comfortable with trust.
I am creative and artistic. This part of my personality has been both helpful and not. I found things that I was good at, just kept learning more, and sometimes it made me money. The problem is that when I meet others or they find these things out about me, it turns into either pettiness or it turns them off completely. I have had people who just blew me off, after being so friendly in the beginning, when they found out about my creative endeavors.
I have had others sabotage works that I created, and jobs related to my creative pursuits. While others have used them to their advantage.
An example would be my own mother selling things I made for her as gifts and me finding out later. That whole time, I thought she was creating and selling her own work. It turned out she was selling the things that I gave her.
Another would be the cake decorator I worked with threatening to quit if I were not moved. She found out I was in a few cake competitions. All I wanted was to work in a bakery part time, on the weekends as something fun to do, and make extra cash. I already had a full time job in a call center and working in a bakery was not going to be a full time pursuit at that time. The store cut all my hours and removed me from the bakery, so I quit.
Underneath, this exterior, is a person who desires to be viewed as beautiful. I am not talking about in a movie star glamorous kind of way but as a beautiful person overall. I believe that if you feel this coming from others it automatically makes your own self-image change to a more positive one. I have had very few people, especially other women, tell me this about myself.
When it does happen, the negative self-view gets overwhelmed by it, and automatically refutes it. It is the same reaction when it comes from men as well. I have been working on accepting compliments as just that, a compliment. It does not have any underlying ulterior motive attached to them. That is still a work in progress but it is getting easier every day.
All of these “things” about me as a person. A person who is never brash about herself and never tries to draw attention because there are more pressing matters in the world. I am just one in eight billion people.
At the end of the day, it would be nice to just have a friend call me and see how I was doing or make plans to get together. To feel included by groups of people and to be accepted for just being me. The good, bad, and ugly parts of myself. The flaws and all.
If at the end of my time here on this floating rock in the universe, I just made one devoted friend, then that would be enough.
Thank you for stopping by.
Have a wonderful week!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always.