I used to think that all my problems stemmed from my childhood. I blamed bullies, bitches, and boys for my mood swings. They were such inconsiderate jerks.
I used to think all of the men I dated were emotionally stunted. Why else would they be ignorant enough to hurt my feelings, take me for granted, and have the audacity to breathe after we broke ties? I mean, come on, I was paralytic after those idiotic lust fests.
I used to think that women shared more DNA with cats than the human race.
Two-faced, conniving, and vindictive, I never found my tribe. I did let my guard down, too many times to mention. Nothing hurts quite like the sting of slash marks left by a supposed best friend forever. A glutton for punishment I keep my heart open, even to this day waiting to find a tribe of awesome, loving, and supportive girlfriends. Other women seem to have them, but never me. I always get the shaft, jealousy disguised in a warm embrace. Commonalities used as a ruse for one-upmanship (make that one-upwomanship).
I used to think that parenting was not for me. I have kids (too late now to reconsider), but I know that I have done everything wrong. Poor babies stuck with a mother who has swallowed her tongue most of her life and has a tendency to lash out with barbs quicker than you can flip a switch.
They are trying to kill me. Each one of my little darlings holds my heart as ransom. On a daily basis, I am presented with a rainbow of emotions, problems and quirks, gifts from my offspring. I love them, and they make me proud, but I wonder why I have to deal with a lion’s share of child-rearing drama. In fact, if I think about it, I have been “responsible” for young ones since I was nine years old. That is when I began my indentured servant stage. No kidding, my little brothers were my “job” every day until my parents came home from work. Rain or shine. Why I decided to launch into parenthood while in my teens, I will never know.
I used to think that I had shit taste in men.
I married a handful;
One for 48 hours, he was a French hairdresser with a sexy accent, I was eighteen. We were high on mushrooms, high on life, and high on denial while a whirlwind holiday in Vegas. Poor guy, his head is still spinning. We are friends, though, chalking the experience up to the folly of rebels without a cause.
One for a year and a half. What can I say? I was nineteen, still wild, and very pregnant. My religious beliefs and innocent heart never considered alternatives, so I married that narcissistic asshole. He was twenty-seven at the time. I was the first teen/woman who he blatantly used for a “lifestyle” upgrade. It took about two years to shake him off; I never denied him access to his child. On the contrary, I supported their relationship. What a mistake that was. In fact, I will say this for the record, because of his continued earthly existence I question karma.
Now I am headed for my twentieth anniversary with the last of the Mohicans, the one who has stuck by my side. It has been thick rather than thin. I don’t think death will see us part, but it has been a rough ride. Not enough laughter, in my opinion, to balance out the tears. But he is my man, through and through. He knows me better than most; he is always at the ready with a helping hand. The adventures we have had would blow your mind. A perfect union? Nope. But at this point, we are too tired to fight. Instead, we have called a truce. We have no other choice really; the darn kids are always standing right in the way with a calamity for us to sort out. ASAP. Maybe one day we will be able to have a vacation. Just the two of us. What would we even have to talk about, without the kids peppering our conversations with endless interruptions? I wonder.
I used to think like a victim.
Why me? Why did I make all of those stupid mistakes? Why did I pick the long winding rocky, straight uphill path in life?
I always blamed the other parties. I had too. It never occurred to me to think otherwise. I am innocent. I swear.
This past year I have had yet again a devastating turn with depression.
Diagnosed with PTSD and OCD, my sad little soul now is classified as a Major Depressive Disordered mess. The Brilliance of Mental Illness
It is all their fault.
Or is it?
Through intensive, blistering sessions with my therapist and with the help of a psychologist, I now realize that my relationship woes start and end with me.
I have never loved myself.
I have never exercised my voice.
I passively let others take control. I willingly rolled over and begged. I have taken risks because I am a junkie for thrills. Live fast, live hard and die young.
Just like in the movies. Crap, I am almost in my fifties. Guess that plan did not work out.
My highs are heaven. My lows are hell
My opinion of self has always relied on the judgment of others.
I have heard the following in regards to my personality countless times: uneducated, intense, misinformed, erratic, flamboyant and flippant.
Therefore my perceptions are always in the wrong.
VICTIM In capital letters.
Self-loathing and negative chatter drive me. They do. They did. Sometimes both.
All the time.
Why wouldn’t they? If you hear the same song over and over you start to sing the tune, don’t you?
Relationships are hard. They hurt. They can be destructive. They can be a wellspring of misery. They can also be profoundly stunning.
My relationship with myself is my biggest hurdle. I am working on being kind and gentle. I am working on being encouraging and loving. I am working on setting boundaries, for myself and for others.
I have come to the conclusion that I no longer care, one way or another about other people’s opinions regarding who I am as a person. I know who I am. I am a damaged, yet dynamic individual, who struggles every day to stay here, in the present, instead of giving up and calling it a day.
I told you before that I am a thrill seeking junkie.
Hang on a minute, you need to know that I have changed my paradigm.
Now I get off shaking up the status quo.
Loving and nurturing myself is my top priority. There is no other option for me. In fact, there is a new decisive voice that has taken up residence in my mind.
It says: “You can do anything you want to Julie. Anything at all. You are brave. You are confident. You are worthy. You are the Come Back Kid.”
Julie Anderson is the Creator and Publisher of Feminine Collective. Julie was inspired to create a safe place for women to share their secrets, desires, triumphs and pain as the antithesis of what mass media offers women today. Entrepreneur, writer, photographer, mother and wife, Julie’s creative’s vision has yet to be satiated. Visit her website JulieAndersonOfficial to learn more about her past, present and future.