Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Who I Am (The Sequel)

I don't know what possessed me to start taking out the old pictures and start scanning them into the computer, but a flood of memories followed that has sidetracked my entire day. Not really in the mood for working, I rummaged through the albums and clippings. It's hard for me to accept that over 41 years have passed since I was born, but the proof is in the pictures.
A lot has happened to shape who I am in those 41 years. I'm still the introvert who prefers silence and books to parties and hobnobbing. I do not know if my shyness came from always keeping quiet about my home life or if it was because I felt I had nothing to say. I do have some good memories, as you know if you read my post about who I am. But I also know that I always feared that the Department of Human Services would come and drag us away from our home if they found out some of the things we went through. We were always fed and clothed and rarely in physical danger. But emotionally, we went through some very rough times.

Imagine a child, three children, having to sort through the unglamorous details of their father's addiction. Imagine them having to weigh their love for him against all the things he did when out of control on a binge. Imagine never knowing what condition you would find him in when you awoke in the morning, not knowing whether you could be yourself, or if you would have to tiptoe on eggshells to appease the demons inside him. Imagine carrying the burden in secret and trying to maintain a normal life at school, at church, and in public. Imagine the angst of my mother, trying to hold it all together on what money she could manage to keep him from spending. Imagine your mother serving you a hot breakfast and looking up to see bruises, scratches, and a look of weariness and sorrow in her eyes, leaving you to wonder what exactly had transpired throughout the night. Or worse yet, imagine knowing exactly what did happen and not being able to stop it.

Now take this picture and put it along side the previous post, entitled "Who I Am." It's no wonder there are two completely different facets to my personality. It's no wonder that some mornings I wake up a completely different girl than the one who went to bed. It's no wonder that people find it hard to get to know me, and those who know me say sometimes I have multiple personalities. I have never been diagnosed with that disorder, don't get me wrong. I do not have people inside me arguing over who is going to take over today. But I do struggle with who exactly I am and who I am becoming every single day of my life.

I do tend to be overly emotional and sensitive. I am too serious, too introverted, too philosophical. I do have trouble loosening up and having fun. I have problems reaching out and making new friends--and worse yet, keeping them, because I end up withdrawing during the hard times. And at times I have been told I am bitter and hard, uncaring, brutally honest, and cutting. When I am on a roll, the sarcasm flows like river. Dark and angry sarcasm. Brooding and negative. Sad and dejected. These are the feelings I fight.

Instead, on my good days I force myself into thinking positive thoughts--loving thoughts with kind and gentle words. I make myself find the good in things and delegate the bad to an empty backseat. I tell it to be quiet, to just keep its mouth shut and no one will know. And yet, for all that, I still can hear it mumbling from the backseat, telling me how to drive and where to turn. I hear the rumblings from my past telling me I can't. I have learned that you end up in some very rocky places in life when you let the past control your destiny. It's only when I turn loose of the wheel, and let God take control...that's when who I really am comes shining through.

God sees me--the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the past, present, and future. He alone knows what pictures will fill the album's last pages. He alone knows where the journey ends. He has a reason and purpose for everything and everyone in life. By His words the worlds were formed and the seas. By His hand I was fashioned in my mother's womb. He knows every thought, every intention, every motivation, every deed. And it's good to know that his mercy endures forever. Compared to that, 41 does not seem that old, now does it?


Sista Cala said...

Movies based on true events are some of the best. I believe it is true of the written stories too. You have a way of bringing out historical data in a captivating way. Bridging the gap of the dark past to the bright future is sometimes difficult, but can be rewarding when God is the Designer.

C. H. Green said...

Your comment means a lot to me, because I know that you lived the story. I am often amazed at how resilient we were. I know you struggle with some of the same things, and yet we deal with them so differently. I remember one time you saying that we all three probably needed counseling. Well, I still haven't brought myself to do it yet, but I haven't ruled it out either. Yet, somehow working through all this in writing (and in front of the whole world, no less)is helping to sort through the jumbled mass. You're my sis, and I love ya.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the ability to express myself on paper like either one of you. I admire you so much. All I can say is we are some tough gals! We bend, but we don't break. I love you and all of your alters. Love KK

Anonymous said...

I am glad you can share this. Many of us think we are alone with these feelings. Don't know about you but, we were taught never to speak of what went on in our home.
I love looking at my pictures. Don't have but a few of me growing up,yet my children"s pictures growing up always makes me wonder where the time has gone.
And I am so bless that my kids didn't see nor live the life I did as a child.

Tammy said...

I just wanted to tell you that I have some of the same struggles. I lived for many years with an alcoholic dad before he finally became sober and came back to the Lord. But the confusing feelings we are left with and the negative effects don't go away overnight. I struggle on to this day...at age 44.
Still...what you said is such a great reminder. He designed me...and my emotions and thoughts are not too complicated for Him to understand and heal...and restore.
You write so wonderfully...and thank you for sharing with such transparency.