Not disappearing: Having a voice and using it
Why is it that I often feel adrift without someone else’s expectations fueling my life?
When I was younger I didn’t even see I was motivated more by outside expectations than my own. Now I see it, again and again, and it frustrates the hell out of me.
From a very young age, I have not taken well to being told what to do. Partly because I was told what to do all the time. But throughout my life I have consistently rebelled against the status quo. There’s something about it that doesn’t fit with who I am at all. I am seeing that now.
But despite that there’s a part of me that wants some normalcy, some influences in my life. I know that comes from feeling as if I have disappeared because I’m living alone. But I think I have denied who I am for most of my life to try and have a life like other people, whatever that means.
The idea that other people live normal lives is false. I realize that now. Behind every door is a world unlike any other in many ways.
I wasn’t brought up to love my unique me, I was expected to conform, to disappear even into the woodwork. Feeling invisible is not natural for me. I know people who are abused sometimes try to be invisible. But for me my personality doesn’t shrink, it expands.
I suppose a part of me might feel that to really grow I need to be reflected through someone else. That I need a mirror to really be here.
However I am coming to realize that is not at all true. I moved in here on my own on purpose to finally come to terms with the fact that I am a whole person even when no one else is around.
Because I work from home, I am afforded a large amount of time to myself, and it is through this time that I’m coming to terms with who I am.
I’m not sure why society doesn’t encourage individuality. I know that the climate is changing in that respect and more people are speaking up about their experiences and who they are, as the world gets smaller because of social media.
I certainly feel connected to people through my work. Writing my blog, and editing people’s novels really helps me feel that I’m making a solid contribution to the world that is based on who I truly am.
And I have contributed to the world in some very significant ways that people often don’t acknowledge.
I am a daughter and step-daughter, I have a step-brother and step-sister, I am a mother. I live with a dog and cat who I rescued. I have friends and my tribe who look forward to seeing me. I make a difference in many lives. These people care about me and hold me in their hearts.
It’s easy to forget this as we get caught up in the minutia of daily life and the workings of our mind.
And for all these people it’s important that I exist. That I am a part of their lives. Just as much as they’re important to me in my life. We so often forget that it is our connection to others that brings us meaning.
And the connection I have with others is liberating. They do not “expect” me to be a certain way. No, that is old baggage I am learning to let go from my childhood.
Likely everyone has these holdover issues that make us feel less than. It is something I am laying to rest, and it may take me the full year to do it, but I will.
In the meantime I will grapple with it and continue acknowledging that my contribution is already significant and real.
The only reason I would actually disappear is if I let myself, and as I’m coming to realize that is not me at all.
I have a voice and I’m going to use it.
I am using it.
From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor
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