Thursday, December 24, 2009

#best 09 "New Person"

This year, somewhere in the spring, I met someone amazing....

Her name is Shannon Danielle Burton (nee Foster), and she is me.

Maybe it sounds strange, to some, that I would be claiming, at 40, to have only just know come to truly know myself. Maybe, to others, it makes perfect sense, because they have, at some point in their own lives, had a similar sense or revelation about who they have become, and who they have always been, at their core.

This new self-awareness is, for me, the culmination of several years of gradually awakening, peeling back layer after layer of assumptions and unexamined reactions. I've been learning to step back from difficult moments for a while now, to breathe deeply, then witness them as though I am an observer, then, sometimes, to be able to defuse them with a gentle comment, such as the time, when I found myself suddenly engaged in a yelling contest with my sister, when I was able to disentangle from the deep, entrenched rivalry and end the exchange by saying softly, several times, "I love you."

This year, though, I have begun to change the way I interact with others to begin with, in hopes of avoiding those situations that I know in advance are likely to be fraught with angst. I've given up trying to convince others to believe as I believe, and my own assumption that my path is right for them. I'm paying more attention to my own needs for approval, for respect, for being proven right.

I am learning where they come from - a place where, as a child, there were things I always saw deeply, maybe even more deeply, at times, than the adults around me. But, when I was a child, I was rarely given the full freedom to speak my own thoughts in my own voice. even in writing, much was seen through the lens of what was proper, or shocking, or good writing, more than what was in the depths of my soul. And yet, I have always had a need to express my deepest wisdom, yearnings, fears, and delights....

Somewhere along the journey to understand unschooling, I began to release the imaginary gag I still held on myself, and also the need to justify the choices I've made, or the way we live. By giving my children more freedom, I found more freedom, too, for that small girl who still lives within me. I have freed her, now, to say what she believes, and not be scorned. I've done this through learning to allow my own children to say what they believe, and not be scorned.

That has led to deeper mindfulness, a liberating and meandering journey through self. There are so many roles I have played in my life, to suit so many people who could not or would not accept me (or maybe were trapped in their own assumptions about themselves, or me, and couldn't see me at all).

Now I am me. I'm not inclined to do things I find unpleasant, or to spend a lot of time around those who still relate to versions of me I created for their benefit. There are those, in this house, who see me as I am, and enjoy me for myself.

I'm finding getting to know myself a fascinating venture. So many things about myself that I once considered flaws have turned out to be a simple matter of those parts not fitting someone else's image of me. I am flawed - but so is everyone else. It's our flaws as much as our strengths that make us who we are, each of us a unique creation. I'm learning to embrace those flaws without feeling guilty about them. That doesn't mean I want to keep them, only that I finally understand the saying, "To err is human."

I'm not supposed to be perfect. No one is. I try to be the best version of myself I can, to make a better choice in each trying moment than I once might have. I own my flaws, and my strengths. They are me, as much as any other part.

And I get the company of a woman who has lived long enough to have the seasoning of 40 years of varied experience and differing vistas, but still filled with the wonder of childhood (hard not to be, living life this way!). She can be scattered or brilliant, thoughtless or sweet....and many other things. She is mulitfaceted and filled with the possibilities of a wid-open adventure of a life.....

Hello, self. Glad to meet's been a long time.....

1 comment:

hahamommy said...

I think we have to complete 4 decades before we have enough life to become interesting to ourselves; comfortable with where we are and confident about where we're going ;) Welcome to You <3