Were you raised on a farm? In a tiny town? A metro area, but within a tight-knit neighborhood where people knew your business before you did? Then you’re already on the same page with me. If none of that fits you, I’m not sure I have enough words to explain it to you.
I was raised on a farm close to a tiny town that was one tight-knit neighborhood, and those people definitely knew my business. All of it – some of which I never knew happened until I heard about it second-hand.
I’m sure it’ll shock you to know I grew up a people-pleaser from about Day One. I wasn’t necessarily a Good Girl, but it was wildly important to me that people think I was — all those relatives and townspeople who were older than I, and whose lives I knew nothing about. What a revelation when I grew up, left home, and started hearing the stories about THEM … of course, by then it was too late.
There’s also the unfortunate fact that a certain amount of suck-up-ish-ness seems to be genetically transmitted. There were kids in school who couldn’t possibly have cared any less what some classmate or adult thought of them and the things they did. It was “Get outta my way, I’m on a roll here.” My guess is most of them ended up in politics.
I wanted to please my parents, my grandparents, my Sunday school teachers, my school teachers, I wanted to somehow please God, none of which is a bad thing. But who was I? I got married at 22 and was at least 50 before I stopped trying to make every word out of my mouth, every desire of my heart, every dream line up with what I thought my husband wanted.
After a few years of getting to know myself and realizing that I could trust my own thoughts, I met and married a man who also trusts my brain and loves every inch of me as is. I mean it when I say it’s fun to be me.
Meanwhile, a bunch of years stacked up and now my driver’s license claims I’m 65, which is beyond ridiculous. I don’t want to be old, so I’m not. But I do love the freedom of not having to care whether or not people approve of who I am. Tact is a valuable commodity and I don’t set out to antagonize anyone, but neither do I censor my convictions. My ideas and beliefs are as legitimate as the next person’s. It took me a lifetime to get here and I’m not going back.
I recently reduced my Facebook friends list from far too many to still almost too much. Those who remain are either family or are there for every other possible reason. They’ll stay or go, as they decide. The me you see is the me I am, end of story.