Remembering Who I Am

Recently someone told me, to my face, “You can’t do anything.” They were dead serious. Not only was it awkward, I was taken aback by such a statement. I had only known this person for a short time, but they were privy to in depth information about me and my life, via mutual friends. (So, I guess I got some insight into what someone else thinks of me as well.)

 
It felt like a slap in the face, or more like a punch in the gut. I did not really know how to respond when they went on to ask “What, exactly, do you know how to do?” Hmmmm. I thought about it for a few seconds. How do I describe what I know how to do, to this person. I simply said, “I know how to do a lot of things”. She responded “Like what? Name a few things that you can do.” I just sat there in stunned silence, staring at her and trying to figure out what to say.
 
I was taken so off guard that I couldn’t really formulate any response, let alone a snappy comeback that would put her in her place. Had I been quick enough to come up with something snarky, I would have kept it in check anyway. I am not rude and I am not about making a scene. We were in a public place, among friends, and I was a little stunned so I kept quiet. I changed the subject and the evening continued.  But, the effects of that encounter stayed with me and forced me to look more deeply at why it was so hurtful.
 
First, the other friend knows me very well and if the opinion of our mutual friend is that I am incapable of doing anything at all, well, that’s another blow to the heart. This person, who does many, many things well, thinks I am a failure. I do not feel the need to compete with other women and I think there is enough good (and goodness) in the world to go around. So, if you are good at something, I will applaud you and I don’t feel the need to put others down, to make myself feel better.  I know, all too well, that people tend to knock others as a cover up for their own low self-esteem.  But, what about me? Why did this hit me like a knife to the heart?  Mostly, I surmised, that my purpose in life has shifted, my daily focus has become less about doing and more about becoming.  But, still, I began to question myself. What do I really know how to do? What have I accomplished in my life?  So, I began ticking off a mental list.  OK, I started making a list in the notes on my phone.
  • Born 7 weeks premature and survived, against all odds.
  • Got my first job at 16 and paid for my own car.
  • Graduated from High School, amidst family drama and trauma.
  • Got a full-time job at a Savings Bank at age 18.
  • Worked two jobs for several years to afford to support myself in my own place, since age 19.
  • At age 20, began helping to raise a child who would later become my stepson.
  • Worked my way up from the lowest position in the bank, through every single position available until I became Branch Manager.  Not just Branch Manager, but, the first woman Manager the company had ever had.
  • Gave birth to my first child two weeks after my beloved brother was killed in a drunk driving accident.
  • Began a journey of self-discovery shortly after my brother’s death, which included therapy, couple’s counseling,  Al-anon (my brother’s accident was caused by his own drunk driving) as well as meetings for Adult Children of Alcoholics (sorry Dad, you’ve been outed) and learned what kind of coping mechanisms I had developed in order to get by. I wanted to make sure that my child (and my future children) would not have to go to therapy because of my unhealed wounds.  I was 25 years old.
  • Walked out of a job that was sucking my soul and taking my heart away from my child. I have made that decision 3 times in my life.
  • Started numerous businesses that would be successful, and, walked away when it was no longer working or no longer fulfilling.
  • Helped raise a stepson, and 2 3/4 kids to adulthood (still have one who is almost 17) with no run-ins with the law, no drug use, no major attitude issues and I am pretty sure they all still like me. They are all extremely loving and caring people with a great deal of empathy which is the best thing I could ask for.
  • Helped to raise my grandchildren, as basically a second mom, for 10 years.
  • Sat on the Board of Directors and, later, the Core Counsel at the church I attended and worked at.
  • Received certifications in Life Coaching (2), Hypnotherapy, SoulCollage (a spiritual creative process), Reiki, NLP, grief counseling and Spiritual Counseling.
  • Completed an intense two year training program which resulted in being ordained as a minister.
  • Experienced a massive spiritual awakening (look it up, it isn’t always pretty and it can very frightening) and awakened a natural ability to heal others.
  • Facilitated healing in cancer patients who had previously been given a very grim prognosis.
  • Healed an injured horse for which traditional treatment had previously been unsuccessful.
  • I teach meditation.
  • I facilitate a women’s circle of over 2,200 people. And, I do it well.  I facilitate numerous smaller circles, as well.
  • I run 5 Facebook pages, which I use to inspire and uplift people.
  • Currently attending college and have 3 kids in college.
  • Homeschooled all of my kids at various phases of life.
  • My youngest child graduated high school and started college at age 16.
  • I have worked as a volunteer helping people who are dying and their families experiencing grief and loss.
  • After one more semester of college, I should be eligible to walk up and receive four degrees.  Four. AA Degrees in Communication Studies, Business, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Diversity Studies, and a Certificate in Peace and Global Studies. I’d say I am good at something.

I guess that pretty much wraps it up.  I mean, I am still raising a kid, help out with my grandkids, work on myself constantly and consistently.  So, when you ask me “What can you do?”, well, it might take me a minute.  Not because I am not good at anything, and not because I don’t know, but, because I don’t know you well enough to know if you understand how much value these things have.  I don’t know if you will shake your head and ask me what the bottom line of my tax return says, as if that is the measurement of my value and worth.  I don’t know if you have ever looked yourself in the mirror and asked “What must I change, in order to be the best possible me that I can be?”, because I have.  And I do.  Almost every day.  The one thing that I have not done is to consistently remind myself of how much good I have done. So, when someone catches me off guard like that, I won’t fall into the pit of their low self-worth; I will continue to work on me, because that’s what I do.  And, to that person, well, I hope that we don’t meet again.  Truly. One thing that I have learned, is that I get to control my environment, and I get to decide who I let into my spaces, in person and otherwise.  I wish you well. But, I’m not perfect, so I also kind of want to tell you to go ahead and  fuck right off. But I won’t. I will, however, say a quick word of thanks.  Thank you for helping me to remember where I have been, and who I am. Peace.