How I longed -physically ACHED -to be like the quiet kid in the corner who dressed normal and talked a normal amount and got normal grades. He blended in perfectly.
Because my parents owned a farm and leased ranching property and ran a mechanic shop, I earned my own money for everything. This meant I couldn't be like other kids.
Other kids wore brand new Calvin Klein and I wore Wal-Mart or Good Will or (heaven forbid anyone from school see me in it...) Wrangler.
But I can only try so hard for so long to stifle the me inside of me before I hit rock bottom and embrace the me in me.
Rock Bottom back then hit me my junior year. Around that time I gave up on Calvin Klein ($30 for a shirt that your brother shrinks in the dryer! Forget it) and I started learning to really love thrift shopping.
Did you know that I can't coordinate or match? I don't understand it. So I bought what stood out to me which means I bought stuff that stood OUT. The more color, the more I liked it, the more I wore it.
I started paying VERY CLOSE attention to the me in me.
She would guide me in every decision -what to order, what to wear, where to walk. She liked Weezer and The Judds and Sublime and Reba. She hated techno and Anime. She loved old western ANYthing and took a crazy amount of joy in raiding her Dad's closet (because, guys, he wore western clothes in the 70s and saved them. Isn't that the greatest gift EVER?).
She loves anything made before 1982 and actually prefers if it's been previously owned. She pours over old pictures at antique shops.
And -at the risk of coming across as a haughty mess -I really like her. I like giving her her way.
A few years later, I was married (moment of silence for the fact that juniors in high school are quite possibly only a few years from marriage. What the HECK?!). As I lived the married way, The Me in Me was put aside, ignored and eventually trampled.
She's a fighter -I'll give her that. She never once left or was completely silent. She was always there.
I don't want to do this.
You shouldn't do that.
But I went against her. And when I did, She let me know.
When I didn't give her her way, I felt betrayal -SELF-betrayal. But I didn't know what to do with it because I was lost. I didn't know how to give her her way anymore. I didn't know how to stand up and say, "This is what I'm going to do."
Just like my junior year of high school, I hit another sort of rock bottom. This rock bottom was harder, colder, lonelier, and meaner.
But she was there.
Go call your brother.
Go get a blessing.
Go see the Bishop.
I put my fingers to the keyboard and let her type. I print out her words. I read them to my husband.
And this is how it starts: I begin writing scripts by putting my hands to the keyboard. She lets her words out and I read them. I rehearse them. I pray for courage and then I read them. I write out scripts for every situation I can think of. I let her write my boundaries. I only poise my fingers over the keyboard -She does the work. The words-on-paper give me strength. I memorize them and use them when she starts feeling uncomfortable, offended or unsafe.
It is a forced relationship... one in which I have to be very aware of.
She and I hammered on that way for a long time. Her voice, my words.
And then one day She came out without the keyboard in the way. Her voice, my voice. A boundary was set and enforced without a paper carrier... it just came out.
Our forced relationship resumed it's natural state and I found myself once again basking in giving her what she asks for -our playground is The Land of the Previously Owned and we find joy in simplicity, in children, and in music. When I feel uncomfortable, I don't need my script anymore. When I feel unsafe, I don't need a previously determined plan. I simply SAY it and then DO SOMETHING about it.
Honesty and Can-Do... it's Her way.
She's stronger than I am right now, but I take heart in her voice, taking courage in knowing inside of me... is Me.