Truth Teller

Today I got a letter from one of my many aunts/uncles. I haven't seen this person in at least 10 years (Shelby was an infant I believe). I'm sure the letter was written with good intentions. Okay, I hope it was. Unfortunately, the letter labeled me a very angry person and accused me of holding onto the past.

Okay, it's been 10+ years, but you're sure I'm angry, huh? How did you come up with judgment? Perhaps it's an assumption. And you know what happens when you ASSUME...

My friend Fred calls me a "Truth Teller". Fred knew me back when stuff was REALLY bad, when I was a teenager. When horrible things were happening to me. All my life, it has been extremely important to me to tell the truth, honesty is a must! In my 20s I probably spent more time trying to prove myself more than anything. I'm sure I repeated myself more than necessary. Probably louder than necessary too. But one thing is for sure, I was telling the truth.

I think that perhaps, some of my family members decide that labeling me as "angry" is much easier than acknowledging the horrible things that happened in the past. I may be wrong though. But, I have a sister whom I love so very much and she and I have no relationship. Why? I think because I speak my mind. Sometimes bluntly. Never with bad intentions or in a cruel way, but I tell the truth. The truth includes being abused as a child and as an adult. Abused in every way possible. I understand this is hard for people to deal with. Trust me, it happened to me. That being said... It's my truth, my life, my story. If I was always angry, there is no way I'd be a productive member of society. I'll take "intense", even "too serious", but not angry. I get angry; everyone does! I can tell you that if I were holding on to things that happened to me 25 years ago, I don't know if I'd be alive right now.

I honestly don't know how I have survived some of bad seasons of my life. I know that there are people out there who have not come out of similar situations as well as I have. It's been a struggle. I've sought love from the wrong people, including family. One of the biggest lessons I've learned and am teaching my sweet girl is that family isn't always made up of people you are related to, but of the friends who love you and lift you up when you need it.

I have been cursed with two nasty wrinkles between my eyebrows. If I am stressed, or have a headache or don't feel well - you can tell! I've been told that my eyes tell my story. But, am I angry? No. I'm hurt that there are people out there who have no contact with me but can make such accusatory statements. Hmmmm, it's like celebrity gossip... but it's about me!

I called my good friend Traci after reading the letter. Thank God for her! I read her a short portion of the letter. I'm not ignorant and know that sometimes I'm a little bit too literal for some people. But what is wrong with that? I don't think there is anyone who can say "I'm not sure how Mary Beth feels about (blank)..." If you ask me, I'll tell you. If I don't know, I will tell you "I don't know". Seriously people? Does that sound angry? Maybe the truth is just too hard for someone to take. Uh oh, Jack Nicholson in that move "A Few Good Men" yelling "You can't handle the truth!" Okay, that was angry I suppose. I don't think I'm that intense!!

Here's the truth. I'm not an angry person. I feel anger, disappointment, happiness, joy, sadness, and a slew of other emotions. I have felt unheard at times in my life and perhaps got a little loud in an attempt to be heard. I have been damaged. But, I wouldn't be the person I am without all the bad and good things that have happened in my life. I am a survivor! I am a fighter (sometimes more than necessary). I am fiercely loyal. I am funny! I am kind, giving compassionate, caring, passionate, silly and loving. I'm a dork with a capital D. I am intelligent. I am worthy of a good life. And, in Traci's words "it's their loss, not yours". Guess what? Traci is in my life by choice - no blood ties, she likes me - even when I'm not very likable (which is hardly ever, right Traci?)

I suppose this might have been a lesson for me today. To remember not to judge a book by it's cover, or a person for his/her passion. To try to find a way to love those who are incapable of loving me back. I'm not talking about pining away, but loving from a distance, letting them go. Focus on the good stuff in my life instead of wishing the bad stuff was different. You know, whenever I go to the store, I make a conscious effort to smile at the people I encounter. I talk with the people while I'm waiting in line. I tell the parents what beautiful children they have. I make a joke when things seem stressful (like in the 15 item or less aisle and we're behind
someone with a full cart). Does a person full of anger do that?

Maybe someday the people who don't know me and who make assumptions will take a chance to get to know me. Maybe, they'll see that just because I do things differently (i.e. acknowledging the truth about some pretty serious things), doesn't mean I'm angry. I'm just honest. I don't tell the truth to hurt people. I just don't believe in keeping secrets and truths about myself in hopes of not hurting another person's idea of how things should have been. Does that make sense? It's my truth folks. It's my story. Not yours. If I want to tell it and it makes you uncomfortable, don't say I'm angry. Tell the truth. Acknowledge that you are uncomfortable, sad, angry, hurt, embarrassed... whatever you're feeling. But, never assume you know how I am feeling or what is going on in my head. I promise I will do my best to do the same.

I am not perfect. But I am being true to myself. I am FINALLY doing what I need to do to take care of Mary Beth. I am FINALLY showing my daughter that if you don't take care of you, no one else will. At 40, I am finally starting to feel some self-worth. At 40, I will not let anyone tell me what, when and how to feel.

This is my life and I am going to live it with integrity.

xo mb

Comments

  1. You can blog about me, just don't try to hug me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. One day you will want a hug from me & I just might consider NOT hugging you ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had an emergent situation in my Family of Origin. I was called by each side. One side of the war called me asking for advice, after taking ownership of their parts of the situation. The call from the other side informed me how I feel about the emergent situation. Instructed me on my behavior and judged me for my lack of values and ethics. Guess whose story I believed?

    My family (like all families with pervasive abuse) was built upon lies. Lies kept us functional when the truth was too horrible to even acknowledge. Funny thing, I've never been a good liar - I can spin like nobody's business. . .but an out-and-out lie? Heck no, not unless I believe that lie with every cell in my body. Individuating from that family of origin involved a promise to myself to never allow anyone else to inform me what I am feeling emotionally ever again.

    I am deeply sorry for the abuse you suffered at the hands of those who should have protected and comforted you.

    In your writing, I hear my own voice - the mirror image of one who has faced large swaths of horrible reality and by the grace of God remains (mostly) intact. There are far fewer of us out here than need be.

    Truth telling gets a bad rap - from the btards who try to use a truth-telling modality for nasty human vivisection & ingestion. Telling the truth is only horrible when the truths themselves are horrible. Being a nasty beyotch is rarely called for, and isn't truth-telling at all. I see truth telling as one of the great gifts of resiliency. If I couldn't speak my truth, like you I'd be long cold and dead. Some of the truths I;ve told seem to be enough to kill a person all on their own. . .I wield this tool very precisely to minimize collateral damage. From your posts and replies, sounds like you do too.

    Best wishes,
    ~Lara

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