Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I was having a nostalgic moment earlier today. I kept thinking back on who I used to be and what has changed in my life, especially in the last 10 years or so.

It sounds like such a long time, 10 years, but it doesn't feel like it was that long ago that I was in my teens, pregnant and scared. Of course the first major things that come to mind when talking about changes in my life are the big ones: I can hold a job, drive a car, I live in my own home, and I am (what I would consider) somewhat successful.

What I really got hung up on though was my character back then. As a (pre-pregnancy) teen, I was a little out of control. I was definitely selfish, I had no respect for my parents or for myself. I was promiscuous, defiant, self-absorbed, entitled and a downright brat. I had no appreciation for anything.

Another tough part for me was actually after-the-fact. Even though I felt so much more grown up and responsible after I had my son, in many ways I wasn't. In fact, I may have regressed a bit (I am not saying this happens in every case of placement, but for me it was an issue). I relied on my parents, did not keep a job, leaned heavily on whatever person I happened to be dating at the time, I refused to get my license. I wasn't a disaster of self destruction, but in some ways I think I was scared of what "growing up" might mean. Would all my experiences as a fully grown human being be as painful as placement? Would it just be one hurtful thing after another? Would all my fairy-tale dreams and happy-ending expectations be shot down as the ones regarding my son were? It was too hard to face those realities, and so I stayed at home and stagnant for much longer than anyone else I knew.

I was still living with my parents on my 21st birthday. Still with no license, no place of my own and no sense of self, that was when it all kind of hit me. I needed to get out of there. Out of the cold winters that made my depression worsen, out of the memories of broken promises and missed experiences, and out of the constant reminders of placement. The whole city wreaked of sadness and pain for me, and it was hard to love a place so much while also hating it vehemently.

I took a leap, and I think it was the first in a series of truly grown up decisions I would have to make. I moved almost 2000 miles away from anything I had ever known, I got a job, paid rent, lived paycheck to paycheck. I had a lot of help along the way. Family I never really knew came out of the woodwork, and now have become my lifeline here in this desert I call home. I know I needed that space, and now when I go to my home town I can revel in the good memories, the love of my family, and the wonders I was too distracted to see before. I learned that while being grown up does mean you have to do hard things, it also means you start to realize the truths about life and about yourself. While I dont believe in fairy tales anymore, I can still make plans for my future knowing I will be able to be happy no matter what happens. Finding the balance of beauty after the pain was so rewarding.

I wont say that I was quite ready to be fully adult about everything after I moved. Relationships were an issue for a long time, and I had a really hard time trusting people (especially guys). I learned a lot more lessons, got the chance to have wild parties and experiment with who I wanted to be. Without the pressure of other's expectations I thrived and moved forward.

I think the final catalyst for my transformation came when I realized I was pregnant with Cookie. She was the kick in the butt that I needed to fully accept the role of adult. I needed to be the person she could rely on, someone who could make the tough choices and do the hard things for her. Pregnancy was scary and hard, especially when I was mostly on my own (although without my family and friends I never would have made it through). Once again my Mommy mode kicked in, and this time I didn't need to shut it down, I lived each day for the joy of my daughter. I breastfed as long as possible, followed all her Doctor's advice, and made sure she was healthy and happy. When we met Albert and he and I started dating, it was like all of a sudden all the pieces fit together perfectly. I know who I am, and he accepts me as I am no matter what. Knowing that this is possible makes it all worthwhile.

I'm glad I had the chance to learn some of these hard lessons, and I know that I still have a lot more lessons to learn in this life. At least now I understand that those hard experiences always make way for something more beautiful in the end.


Monika said...

This post was a beautiful way to say what I believe too - that everything happens for a reason. Even the bad stuff. I knew you had a great post lurking in there! :)

birthmothertalks said...

Great post!

birthmothertalks said...

Great post!