The little girl sat on the step with her denim overnight bag and her Mrs. Beasley doll in her lap. Her long red hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she sat patiently waiting for the car to come down the street. She didn’t really want to go, but understood that these were the adult rules that she had to play by. She sighed and admired the new miniature Dr. Scholl’s sandals that she had so desperately wanted. She waited and waited and waited…and after awhile an adult came out, spoke quietly to the little girl, took her hand, and together they went back inside and shut the door.
And that dear Readers, is the last memory I have of my biological mother; as you may have already deduced I was the little red haired girl. I suppose that that is not even really a memory of her, but it’s a memory of my experience with her.
I always think of my mom on my birthday. I wonder if she remembers that it’s her eldest daughter’s birthday, if she wonders what I’m doing, how my life turned out, what my journey has been like, if, in fact, I’m even still alive. By the same token, I wonder those things of her.
You see, my mom left when I was about 4. Both my parents were barely out of high school themselves when *surprise* there I was. My dad cancelled plans for college and set about getting a job to provide for this immediate family. He was away a lot for his job and my mom clearly struggled with being on her own and having a toddler. So she met someone else, climbed over the back fence in our yard (taking me with her) and skedaddled out of town. Imagine my father’s surprise when he got home and we were gone, baby, gone.
That could very well have been the end of the story (after all, my dad was only about 22 yrs old), but clearly you don’t know my father. Headstrong, stubborn, and thoroughly pissed off, he literally chased my mom and her boyfriend for a period of about 18 months all over the United States. At the same time, they (mom and boyfriend) were seriously rethinking the idea of hauling a toddler around (indeed I remember being told that I was not wanted…ouch). Obviously, the emotional scars lasted for years.
There is, of course, much, much more to this tale, but it’s way too long for a blog post 🙂 and of course, I do have a point in telling you this story.
You see, for many, many years I considered myself a victim. Not in an overt, woe is me kind of way, but more in an angry, stunted kind of way. I closed myself off from risk, vulnerability, and making mistakes; because if you’re perfect then there is no excuse for anyone to leave you, think badly of you, and ultimately leave you. Right?
What a crappy way to live. And even crappier that it took me so long to figure it out; when I finally did (only about 10 yrs ago), it was like the light bulb turning on and growing brighter ever since.
Because ultimately, here’s the thing that I’d like to pass on to you: I (you) do not have to let my (your) past control my (your) here and now. I get to choose for myself how I’m going to be, act, and think.
Exposing those toxic thought patterns and those tired old looping beliefs and letting them go like so much dandelion fluff in the wind is liberating, scary, exciting, and unbelievably empowering.
WOW…if you don’t think that that is profound, well then you haven’t really tried it and I highly encourage you to put on your big girl panties and start doing it.
Is it freakin’ frakin’ easy? Oh hell no; as with anything worthwhile in life, sometimes it’s hard. But walking on the edge of the box is so much more amazing than just sitting in the box playing it safe.
Perhaps you recognize some self limiting beliefs that are holding you back, but you’re not sure how to move past them? Maybe you need a wee bit o’ help getting from HERE to THERE or support in getting that deep soul-satisfying work out into the world? Maybe you just want to learn how to walk on the edges of the box?
Let’s talk about it.
Allison Nazarian says
What a moving memory/story — and what a burden for you to have carried that around with you in the way you, very naturally, interpreted it. I think the best part of the story is that you saw the “error” in your thinking and because and also despite all of it, you are one of the most optimistic, wonderful, generous people I have known.
I think this blog post is the best bday present you could have given yourself.
Thank you Allison. It was so hard and at the same time so easy to publish this post…if that makes any sense at all…(sheesh!) Part of the process I suppose…and you’re right it is a birthday present to moi 🙂
Thank you for stopping by, for the encouragement, your friendship and most of all being YOU. I’m grateful that we connected; I’m so looking forward to meeting you IRL 🙂
I’m so glad you hit publish.
There is nothing like a birthday to send us spiraling back to questions about the mother who birthed us.
And those stories, that you carried, hefty burdens for sure.
But they are only that — stories. and You have the gift of moving forward.
What a beautiful post. I’m so happy you wrote it.
From one February baby to another – huzzah!
Thank you so much for stopping by and so nice to meet you! You’re so right and wise 🙂 Took me a looonnng time to recognize my past as just that, a story, one I can use for good and growth, or one that will stunt and cripple me.
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom here 🙂 and Happy Birthday to you too! Boo-rah!
Steph Almoney says
That was beautiful. It was also probably very hard to post. But it is
nice that you felt you could post for all to see.
I am dealing with some of the same thoughts myself In a bit different respect, I need to stop blaming myself for bad things that happened to my marriage, my kids, etc. I am slowing accepting that I wasn’t totally in the wrong. I accept some of the problems were mine but not all.
You are a special person. Happy Birthday!
Thank you…it was hard to post; but very freeing too 🙂 And you’re right, you do need to stop blaming yourself. Responsibility and accountability must be shared by all, not just you. There’s a huge difference between admitting your mistakes and blaming yourself for everything that happened.
You’re pretty special yourself 🙂
You are so brave, my friend. I am so proud of you for sharing this.
You’re an amazing woman. And I love you.
It wasn’t easy that’s for sure…and as you also know, that is only part of the story
And if I am amazing, it is because I surround myself with other amazing women (present company being at the top of the list)
Love You too
John Lusher says
I have nothing but love, respect and admiration for you Danielle; even more now. To share with the world such a personal and painful part of you takes a lot of guts; well done my dear friend.
You are a source of inspiration to so many and your light is shining so bright for all of us to see. I am fortunate and thankful to know you.
Thank you so much John:) It’s been like peeling back layer after layer the last few years; and breaking free of the past has been very empowering for me.
Just want to share that feeling with others:) Thank you so much for stopping by.
Paul Tran says
Wow – I didn’t know the struggles that you went through when you were younger, DM. It breaks my heart to read the 1st half, but the 2nd half defined you. You could’ve chosen to continue the victimized path of self-destruction – but you are not your average bear. You worked hard to eliminate the trajectory, and instead aimed up – and you are wonderful, amazing, powerful, inspiring in the process.
You reminded me of the part in the movie “Pursuit of Happyness” where Will Smith’s son asks: “Did mom leave because of me?” “NO, Son – mom left because of mom.”
In any case, family is who truly loves you and sticks it there through thick and thin. It’s a choice, not by default – we’re part of your family, DM! You’re in my clan, ninja! #insidejoke
Indeed I am not your average bear (you know it Boo Boo!). Thank you Paul for including me in your family 🙂 That is infinitely precious to me and something I truly treasure. The ninja clan rawks!!!
j steele says
Thanks for sharing that Danielle…I’m looking for a word besides ‘wow’… I appreciate your vulnerability- you will be able to help so many people who have a similar story.
I’ll skip putting on my ‘big girl panties’ but will definitely take your story and life lesson to heart 🙂
Vulnerability has always been a struggle for me and I hope that in stepping out of my comfort zone I can inspire others to do the same. Awww, c’mon doncha want to live dangerously;)
Thank you my friend for stopping by my neck of the woods 🙂
Rochelle Veturis says
Oh Danielle, I can’t imagine what the story above must have felt like. As others have already pointed out, you are brave, courageous, strong, and inspiring for sharing your story. You are remarkable. Luminescent. And I’m grateful for your journey – and the decisions and actions you have taken. I can’t imagine the world without your gifts/talents, spunk, and spirit.
Love ya sis.