Your Voice Matters
Your voice matters. As a child we were told, “children are to be seen and not heard”. It became my underlying belief that whatever I had to say wasn’t important. Being the youngest in the family for the first 9 years of my life, I was always little, always considered the baby in the family. I never considered as I grew up that my age was an indicator that I was no longer little, no longer a child. I accepted my role as the baby girl in the family even though there were frustrations. Maybe frustration is too strong of a word, more like puzzling moments. Moments when I knew I had something to contribute to a conversation but instead stayed quiet. After all, if you are the “little one” of the family, then what you have to say is probably not important or not accurate and you are probably never going to be as smart as your older siblings. Because, little.
I was 43 years old when I decided to go back to school and finish my bachelor’s degree. Not a really big deal until you consider the fact that I was a single mom, raising two boys pretty much on my own, working full time, coaching roller hockey, umpiring little league and active in my church. Add in that one of my boys had huge struggles with drugs (see chapter 4 for his story). Oh! I had also met my future husband, so had a bit of preoccupation with dating too. To say that my plate was full is probably an understatement. Regardless, I registered for school and dug in to my classes which crazy as it was to me, was easy. I found a rhythm in studying, writing papers, passing class after class and taking care of my family. What I didn’t realize until several years and 3 degrees later was my ability to do well in school, very well in school, 3.9-4.0 GPA. Author and scientist, Erol Ozan said, “In pursuit of happiness, smart people often end up dumbing down themselves.” In my pursuit of happiness in my life, I had dumbed down myself after all, I was “little” with no real ability to contribute and that translated in my mind to someone who wasn’t all that smart. Very quickly I learned how to compartmentalize in order to focus on my kids, get school done and have a healthy dating relationship.
Too Little to be Enough
I need to back up a bit and explain. All my thoughts of being too “little” are really just another way of saying I felt “not good enough” or “not smart enough”. I also need to explain that growing up my family was full of fun and my childhood almost entirely filled good memories. With that said, it really doesn’t matter how you were raised, it’s the little bits of negative or unintended negative comments that we hold on to, that build that inner voice that tells us things like we aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, you fill in the blank. There is a saying “good enough is good enough” but that never seemed quite right to me. It’s more like “good enough will never happen for me.” Do you ever wonder about how the negative thoughts get into your head? What I discovered as an adult is my thoughts of not being good enough, of still being little came from a sprinkling of negative comments and even some positive comments. What was meant to be a teaching moment about how to properly make a bed from my Mom came across as a negative comment, (still don’t have that down right but oh well.). That translated to I can’t even make a bed right. Positive comments from my oldest brother about how I was too little to do something so “let me do that for you”. That translated to I wasn’t capable. You see; comments don’t have to be blatantly horrible to set the stage for adulthood struggles.
Continuing with my education….. The story continues in Bonnie’s Book (working title)
For Real Life - Live your life crushing your boxes