Petals, is there ever a time when I know where I’m going with these entries? *sigh*
Recently, my childhood church had their reunion. I’m usually fairly excited about going. But this year? Not so much. My parents were pretty disappointed to hear that I had no interest in attending and they questioned the reasons for my decision. I gave some bullshit reason (which was partially true) about not liking the change in venue. You see, they usually do the reunion retreat-style and rent out a particular camp site and arrive the Friday night, spend the day Saturday and sleepover, then leave on the Sunday. Though I never did the whole weekend with them, there was something very fulfilling to me about packing a bag and food and stuff, to “go away” into to nature and reminisce with these folks who had watched me grown and grown with me, even if it was just for a day.
The new location was another church that had been established and it was chosen as the venue to allow persons who usually have a problem finding the money and transportation to get to the campsite, to attend; this is all fairness is a grand idea. But I gave excuse about how cramped and miserably hot this location would be, and that the same feeling of escaping temporarily would not exist and would therefore ruin the whole affair for me. I also complained that I was emotionally drained (which I truly was), and with that, I wouldn’t be able to socialize and reflect on the good old days as ably as if I were at my optimum level.
My parents accepted my excuses, for once, and didn’t hassle me about my attendance. However, I felt a small pang in my heart when my mother came home relating the days events to me, and I had an epiphany! Though the excuses I gave had truth to them, they weren’t my major issue. The major reason I didn’t want to attend the reunion was because I didn’t want to have all the small talk about my life that came with catching up!
You see, my parents couldn’t relate to me on this issue, because they stopped attending our old church as adults, with their lives in tact and accomplishments already accounted for. They were where they should’ve been for that stage in life. I, on the other hand, left as a child. Even though we’ve had reunions into the last 5 years or so, the church people still seem to see me as everyone’s little princess running around in my frilly dresses with twisted bangs, thick stockings, frilly socks and flowers in my hair. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten the comments along the lines of “You’ve grown so much” and had to bite my tongue to not sarcastically remark “That’s how time and biology work though! Was I expected to stay a child forever? I don’t think that would have been practical.”
In addition to those barrage of comments about my growth, which is the obvious factor, I’d have to answer questions about the other factors that aren’t so obvious. You know the ones. I’d have to give the updates about how life is going and what I’m doing now. I’d have to tell them about going to UTech, the disaster it was, finishing school after many hindrances, getting a shit job that pays dirt doing something I still haven’t decided how I feel about, and ALL the grimy details in between, because kill these folks dead, they’re entitled to know what happened in the interval. And that’s the part I think I was dreading, especially when I knew what their responses would be.
You see, as I said, I was always considered everyone’s little princess. At this childhood church, my parents were held in very high esteem due to the participation and involvement in the development of the church and the community, and in general, they were just all around swell and caring guys. So I, by extension, was put on this pedestal too. This meant that people, who I haven’t spoken to in years and barely remember and really have no interaction with in everyday life, have major expectations of me. I already feel like a disappointment to myself; why should I put that weight of other’s projections on my shoulders? To continue to deplete my dwindling self-worth? I don’t think so.
I could just see and hear the conversations in my head. All the great stories about what they remember about me: how I used to be in all the church’s special programs; how I would sing with my dad; how I would tell the children’s story with my mom; how I would play games at night in the community with the other kids and we’d run a muck while the adults had meetings in the church. We’d laugh and joke about those stories only we would understand, and make some confessions that we can now laugh and be open about in hindsight. I’d be filled with such joy and nostalgia from all those happy memories, only to have them shattered by that one person bringing the conversation into the present. Then one of 2 things would happen:
- All my chattiness would stop, and the tight-lipped answers would start. I’d give one word responses and very vague explanations, planting the bush and then proceeding to run around it, in the hopes that I wouldn’t have to confess just how displeased I currently am with life.
- I’d keep laughing and smiling all the while, doing my utmost to deflect the questions back to the enquirer while dying inside.
Either way, it wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have. I didn’t want to sound like a typical young person: either displeased with where they are now and confused about where to go next, or content with settling for the bare minimum and just getting by. Regardless of which category I fall into (or both), there are certain times and situations in which it’s okay to share this type of information, but this was not one of them. These were not the persons to share these inklings with, for what good would come of that but more expectations? “It’s okay young Sister Allen. You’ll do great things! We know it!” It’s not that I don’t believe you, or believe in myself. It’s just that I’m in a bit of a pickle where trying to map the route out to that greatness you’re on the lookout for is concerned, and i just wouldn’t want to disappoint these folks or take what I have “accomplished” for granted.
Or, I could’ve have gone the other way and given them some explanation as to the few plan I have going forward, in the hopes of making steps towards my dreams. But then again, are they the ones I want to be sharing my deepest burning aspirations and desires with? I’ve always been told to be careful who you share your dreams with and for good reason. I wasn’t sure they would have been worthy and handled them with care, and I didn’t want to take that chance and see it fail.
Instead, I stayed home and imagined just how much I was missing out on and tried to guess all the stories my mom would come home with about all the reliving of fond memories and the rekindling of friendships. I sat on the couch feeling so low and embarrassed and beating myself up for what? Being exactly where I am supposed to be in life: at a point of figuring things out, establishing myself and transitioning into a sustainable and fulfilling life of my own, on my own. I looked across the room and saw my vision board that I had started working on but hadn’t finished filling out, and in that moment, I grabbed it and set to work.
While working, it occurred to me: why am I being so hard on myself for doing EXACTLY what I’m supposed to be doing and trying to be independent in my progress? Why am I hating myself for not having achieved more and also treating myself like I haven’t been working to put things in place to steadily move onward and upward? I completed university and have a degree to show for it. I have a job. I have other plans in place to continue to improve myself and take the steps towards my ultimate goal. When will I stop to recognize and give myself credit for these things? While cutting and collecting clippings, I came across the words “Greatness Takes Time”. I placed it on my board and continued to fill in the spaces with other inspirational mantras and pictorial representations of the things I would like to achieve.
I finally finished the vision board and I feel so pleased. Not with the board itself (though it looks pretty bomb), but because just in sitting there to take the time to curate these examples of where I’d like to be some day, it made that some day, one day closer. It inspired me to put some of my plans I’ve been skeptically hoarding into motion, and even as I worked I was able to think of concrete things I could get done to take baby steps in the right direction.
I won’t show you my vision board because it’s very personal, but I will encourage you to make your own. You can do a quick google search to see examples and there are tons of YouTube tutorials to walk you through the process. But here’s a quick tutorial, so you can’t say that you left here not knowing how.
- poster board or cartridge paper
- old magazines (or your laptop…just somewhere to get your images)
- glue/push pins
- Create a soothing atmosphere for yourself by either moving to somewhere in your home you’re very comfortable or putting on music or whatever. You’re trying to make sure the environment is conducive to happy, introspective thoughts.
- Make a list of things you would like to achieve.
- Based on the list you made, collect images from your source to represent these things. For example, if you’d like to get a higher education, you may look for a picture of someone in a graduation gown. Also, look for encouraging and empowering quotes to include on your board as well.
- When you’ve found all your images, begin arranging them on your poster board or cartridge paper. There is no “right” way to do this. Just place them where you are comfortable and secure them in place.
- When you feel that you have adequately represented all your aspirations on your board, place it somewhere in your home where you can see it easily and often.
- Be inspired!
Please, take the time to make one. Be honest with yourself, set goals for yourself and visualize them. It makes a world of difference!
In addition to that, give yourself credit for what you’ve already accomplished, and use that to motivate instead of disappoint and hinder you.
I do not know how or when I will achieve these things, but I know that I am actively trying and I will not let anyone’s expectations dictate how I feel about myself. I will achieve my own kind of greatness in my own time and way, and I KNOW you guys will too.
xoxo, from where my 7 dreams grow…