My childhood had dramas I don't care to write about, though people have tried to convince me to tell my stories. The things I've experienced didn't seem all that terrible at the time I lived them because it was all I knew. Situations don't seem crazy if it's your daily normal. It's only when you look back from a distance of time and space that you realize things weren't quite right,...but still not as bad as they could've been.
I don't think I saw my childhood, and young adult life, clearly until I had children of my own. It was only then that I looked through a lens that said, "Would I ever have allowed my children to experience what I did? Would I ever make my children feel the way my parents sometimes made me feel?" No, I wouldn't. In fact, there have been times I've willingly sacrificed pieces of myself to make sure if any situation hurt anyone, it hurt me - not my girls.
Then comes the question: "Did my parents even love me the way they were supposed to if they didn't love me the way I love my own children?" The love of my parents came with conditions. My love for my children does not. Once I answered that question for myself, I began to seek peace about it.
I don't sit around and analyze why my parents were the way they were, nor the reasons why they didn't love me unconditionally. I used to, many years ago, but it simply isn't worth my time. Who they were, and the choices they made, rest with them. I forgave them long ago, for my own sake.
Now? My own children are grown. I'm a grandmother. My children have their own lenses in which they see me. The three of them don't always agree on the view, but I'm okay with that. I hope if they harbor any hard feelings about their own childhoods, they forgive me - for their own sake, not mine.
You see, after spending far too many years surviving, I am thriving. And what I've found is that when you find your stride, you gain this wonderful momentum where your heart truly feels free to accept yourself and your journey. No hard feelings towards your past, no excuses, just...moving forward. When you finally learn to shed every label anyone has ever given you, and you no longer care about what lens anyone views you through, you wake with a grateful heart every day. Every. Day.
I don't know where life will lead me from this moment forward. I'm no heroine in a novel. There's no witty banter and meaningful conversations that resolve everything and give me a happy ending. There's only the time I have between this very moment and my own ending.
And I promise myself to thrive!