Excerpt from I Know This Much is True
I had it. That dynamic of someone who fully allows you to be who you are, and experiment with life. The container of the relationship is flexible, free-flowing like a jellyfish, rather than rigid and barriered like an armadillo. Even still, within that delicious, heady, warm summer feeling, I panicked. Never before, and not again since, had I felt the freedom of standing on my own two feet, the options as endless as the horizon. Like someone who had just come out of the desert, I was parched, and drank greedily of the cool water given me. And almost just as quickly, I got scared of never being able to drink again.
It’s funny how humans behave when they get what they wanted all along. It either is taken for granted how long you worked to get to that place and how badly you wanted it; or you get frightened of losing what you accomplished, so you retreat to the safety of what you knew. All I had wanted was someone to see me for me, to see my abilities, to grant me freedom to stand in my power, to speak my thoughts freely. Once I had it, I relished it for a time, but then the old voices in my head crept back in, telling me I was inadequate. I lit a match and threw it carelessly, turning back only momentarily to watch it go up in flames.
It was safe, oh so safe, in the next relationship that sequestered me and dictated how I was supposed to think, behave and feel. I had a taste of freedom and it was too scary to remain in it. I also now had children to think of, and there was no longer time to make mistakes and learn along the way. Best that you walk the well-worn path that others have trod before you, because if you go the other direction, you risk endangering these little ones.
There were occasions I veered off the common path, choosing not to cry it out, or later on spank as discipline, giving them freedom to speak their minds, but then I would hurriedly run back to the trusted route, because who was I to do something differently?
The first step in my extravagant self love journey involves listening to my gut, my intuition, from the very first sign it offers me. Even if it’s wrong, I need to retrain my intuition that it’s allowed to speak up and I will listen to it. For 40% of my life, I ignored it. For 44% of my life, I listened to it and waited for the opportunity to do better by it. For 2% of my life, I vacillated back and forth between deciding which way was best. For only 14% of my life, as of this writing, that’s 8 years, I listened to everything my intuition told me and acted on it. Job no longer serving me? Quit. Switching education paths? Done. Those 8 years were the most spontaneous, growth inducing, free-flowing years of my life. Imagine the possibilities had those percentages been flipped around.
To reiterate: EIGHTY-FOUR PERCENT of my life was spent ignoring or pushing aside my intuition.
This first step has no time frame to date. But here’s a few examples of how it will go down:
*Do I want ice cream or salad for dinner? Done.
*Do I want to shave my legs or not? Done.
*Do I want to answer that text right this minute, or can it wait 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour? Done.
*Do I want to continue talking to this person, regardless of how much time might have been invested or how they may feel about me? Done, with kindness of course.
Every single choice will be asked to ME, MY HIGHER SELF, and it will be heard. Rather than responding with trained reactions to previously held beliefs that were projected onto me by others (because that’s what imperfect human parents do, no shade to anyone), my answers will come from intuition, regardless of how large or insignificant the questions may seem.
(Intuition says this chapter is complete, even though my trained writer brain says it’s not)