Over the last several days I have been watching Sarah Ferguson’s reality show about finding herself (thanks to whoever invented the DVR!). I did not know when I began watching how much it would affect me; how much it would make me look at who I really am; how much of my soul would be laid open and how raw it really was.
Like Sarah, for years I have spoken of my mother and her death rather openly, but hiding the pain of her leaving. Yes, leaving! She was sick, too sick to stay here on Earth, but she left me just the same. I was 17 and rather sheltered. I did not know I was sheltered. Can we ever really know something like that when we are in the midst of it? I was capable, but incapable at the same time. I could do well at school. I could cook and clean. I could talk to others, but it was awkward and I didn’t really relate to them. I said what I thought people wanted to hear. I even said things that I thought I wanted to hear. I tried to put a positive spin on things. Even to the extent of telling myself (and others a few times) that it was probably better than my mom had died when she had. She was in pain and there was no promise of her being well ever again. I even said it was better for me that she was gone because I had to learn to rely on myself away from the shelter she provided.
Back then I was so good at putting on a capable face that adults often told me how “together” I was. Together, ha! I was a whirling pool of emotions, unsure of myself, but able to put forth someone that others saw as “together”. It was something else I was capable of. Amazing how good we can be at showing others what we think they want to see, what they will accept.
When someone told me I had it “together”, I would be puzzled. I could not have felt less “together”. I was scared, that is what I was! Scared of doing the wrong thing, scared people wouldn’t like me, scared of not being loved. I was so scared that I kept my head down, avoided eye contact, and even crossed the street to avoid having the come upon a person walking in the opposite direction!
People that know me now can’t believe that I would do such a thing. I
am appear assured. Am I really? I struggle with that. I am capable of so much more than I was at 17, but am I really assured? People comment on my confidence in situations and again I wonder what they see that I don’t.
Dr. Phil McGraw is helping Sarah Ferguson on her journey of self discovery. He told her something that keep playing on the recorder that runs in the back of my in the quiet times when I think about my life. He told her that people write on the slate of who we are as children, but the worst thing is for us to write bad things on our own slates. Of course as a parent I am only too aware of how we write on our children’s slates. We teach them, mold them, and influence them. I just hadn’t thought about how we continue to write on our own slates.
Wow! Self deprecation is the first thing that comes to mind. I thought that was a good thing, that it was being humble! Not true! I went to the dictionary and found “belittling or undervaluing oneself; excessively modest.” Modest, hmm, not so bad, but when I read undervaluing I saw myself. Every time I say or see myself in a way that is self deprecating I am belittling myself, undermining my own worth! I can tell myself I am good, kind, fun, funny, etc, etc, but belittling thoughts and actions work against seeing the good.
I have to let go of anything that goes against the person I see myself as and the person I want to be. My work is cut out for me. The journey begins!