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Changing the Narrative

  • Romany Malco asked about narratives today. My narrative response turned into a blog when I was typing it out, so instead of posting it on the post itself, I moved it here in hopes someone could relate. This will be my first time EVER posting something this personal on social media, so here goes! 

    My narrative up until 3 years ago was that of a woman who had been oppressed most of her early life. Although I have always been vocal and strong-willed, I also always felt that what I had to say just wouldn't matter- in any situation. I was in management for most of my career life (up until now), which I would say is a bit ironic because there's a LOT of talking and coaching of employees that goes on. There's a lot of district meeting presentations and events to speak at. Hundreds of people were listening to my every word ..... and somehow, I managed to try and feel be impactful to all of these people depending on me for whatever knowledge it was I was presenting. After years of therapy I realized a couple of things that I hadn't been able to put my finger on before.... but first, let me give you some background on my childhood.

    I grew up with a bipolar father, and brother, both undiagnosed. It was a mental disorder that doctors hadn't quite assessed enough back in the 80's & 90's. My father and brother were also misdiagnosed for part of their lives. My mother was the brunt of a lot of abuse from my father and suffered from depression. My father also drank to self-medicate and had multiple affairs. My brother acted out against my father, so they constantly fought. I did not have any mental disorders, was never educated about them, so I didn't really understand what was happening. Not that there was much education to be given...again we are talking the 80's, early 90's. The toxicity I endured had a huge impact in my life as a young woman. It wasn't until my 30's that I REALLY figured out just how much I had been neglected emotionally, as well as "overlooked". I mean how do you gain healthy attention in a household where things are so chaotic? You don't. I somehow had the capacity-with the help of therapy (and maybe a higher being?)- to move forward and build my own confidence. To build my own life. To design it in such a way that I am in control- where before, I felt I had very little. It's a weird feeling to feel like you are so in control, yet so out of control. It's like being awakened when you figure out just how much your childhood affects you as an adult.

    With that said, a few years ago I made very huge changes in my life...I quit my job that I had been in for 17 years, picked up volunteer coaching for girls basketball (I love sports and working with kids), and enrolled in college to obtain a new, different degree. My therapist said it was a moment where I decided to "start over" (because I was too young to call it a mid-life crisis). I was shedding old skin and moving into new skin. I was releasing the negative energy that had impacted me for so very long. I was finding my voice in that I started to talk about what I endured. How my father preached "kids should be seen and not heard". Just HOW what I witnessed growing up made me feel as a woman. How small I felt. How bad I felt for my mom whenever my dad would cheat on her. Or hurt her. I had had enough. So I started living my life with zero tolerance for BS. Zero tolerance for people who abuse others (emotionally, physically, and spiritually). I stopped the cycle that could have very well consumed me. I am a strong-willed woman, and always will be. I learned from the things that shaped me...and I also learned how to change the things that negatively impacted me. My new narrative is to raise my daughter to be as strong as I am and for her to love others with no expectations of anything back (in a healthy way). I am teaching her how to have healthy boundaries and to not bend them under any circumstance. I want her to have healthy boundaries like I do NOW. Her and I are going after our dreams and there's no stopping us! 

    I want you to know that I understand the stigma of therapy. I understand the reluctance to go and to cry. Or to go and feel so angry. I understand you. I also want you to understand that IT IS OK. Single, married, straight, gay, woman, man, child, or deserve to get help. Our mental health is important. It affects our physical health. It helped me to not only deal with the consuming feelings I had for many years, but to also help in the current maintenance of me. I also do hot yoga on a regular basis. This is a must for me because it has such positive affects on my emotional and physical well-being. I have never felt better! (had to put this plug in here for therapy since we're on the topic)

    Our childhood shapes us, but it is our job to choose the narrative of our life when we become adults. It is our job to be who we want to be and who we are destined to be. You are strong and powerful. You are unique. No-one comes with the same story or background. You are YOU. 

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Much love and peace to you all. 

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