Saturday, January 28, 2012

What is Love?

"We don't know we are worth listening to, until somebody listens. We don't know we are worth loving, until somebody loves us." Thank you Gloria Steinem. For those of you who don't know who Gloria Steinem is she was one of the women who led the feminist movement.  She was recognized for being Joy Behar's mentor in last Friday's episode of The View. This simple statement resonated with me and I found myself rewinding the dvr and listening to her simple eloquent statement over and over. with a huh. So simple and true. I felt that it could be a great blog post. So sit back and read a bit of a story... This is me, probably being the most transparent and honest about my childhood you will ever see or hear. Frankly I don't dwell on it anymore, because if you are constantly looking back you can't fix your eyes on the future, or prepare for the blessings ahead.

So much of our identity is based on life experiences, and if you don't have a firm foundation you can be so lost and alone. A firm foundation is a loving accepting home life. If we live in dysfunction our view of Love life and self worth are skewed  and dysfunctional. As children we learn to associate love with how our family life is. SO let me make this connection for you. If we see a open loving mother and father talking and expressing themselves in healthy and good ways, we are equipped with the basics to do that in our everyday life. However if we are raised in a home where no-one talks, everyone shouts, people are not respectful of thoughts, ideas, or feelings, not to mention abusive physically or emotionally our inner compass is damaged. We go through life either thinking that way is normal, and we don't realize we do it in our adult relationships...or we take charge and learn to emulate others that have come before us to get what we want. That is a constant struggle until you reach a point where you believe the statement I opened this post with.  "We don't know we are worth listening to, until somebody listens. We don't know we are worth loving, until somebody loves us." I remember hearing this statement in my first psychology class,  "Early childhood experiences leave an indelible impression on the adult personality." and I understood it immediately.
Growing up in the 70's I saw my mother struggle to support our family because my father hopped from one job to the next, had many mistresses and was for the most part absent. When he was around unless we were out in public he rarely ever interacted with me. In public I was his baby girl, he called me princess, and you would think the sun rose and set on me. I yearned for my fathers attention. They divorced for the 2nd time when I was about 6 or 7 years old and shortly after that my mother began dating and soon after married my step father. He was an alcoholic and although he didn't "run around" on my mother and was there in the home giving her and I the attention we both yearned for that hadn't been given in her former marriage and by my biological father.... there was a serious sinister undertone in our home. My step father began molesting me at the age of time went on people found out and life changed for a while. He stopped sexually abusing me, went through treatment for alcohol addiction, and was reintegrated into my home. **YES that's right they let this person move back in to the home with the child he abused. When I was in 7th grade he adopted me, and I was being raised by my step father a man who stripped me of my innocence self worth and was the second man that objectified me. I was terrified of my step father, when the sexual abuse stopped, he began to be physically and mentally abusive. HE would call me an imbecile, back hand me, choke me, hit me, or beat me with a belt. I went through junior high and high school thinking that you show a boy you like him by allowing or behaving sexually with that person.  You accept treatment that is not okay because that is how you have learned to show "love"... the best part folks is that you think it is normal, and okay for them to do it. I truly fell in love with the idea of falling in love the summer after I was a freshman in high school. An older sibling of a guy in my grade began dating me. and he treated me with love and compassion. When we got to the point of where I would have in the past been sexual he respected me enough to tell me we were young, and he liked me and valued me as a person, but we weren't ready to be physical. Lets save that for when we marry our spouses. I told him I loved him that summer when I was swimming with him at the beach he was a lifeguard at, and he held onto me and said Birdie, I'm not sure we are old enough to know what love is, but I will always respect you, and then he kissed my forehead. This guy was and always has been such a healing person in my life. We haven't talked in maybe 15 years, but I'm still in contact with his family. We are friends on facebook, and I love his wife and siblings, and parents as if they were my very own family. For the first time I saw the true meaning of love. I'd like to say that changed me and I was all better but unfortunately that's not the case, it was just the first spark of realizing I have worth, and I am loved.
Let us love ourselves enough to give the younger generations more of the good stuff. I wasn't able to get past my dysfunctional childhood experiences until I found my faith. I've learned that each and everyday we are given the opportunity to do good, live well, and love without condition. We don't have to "work" at it, we just have to be the change we want to see. Word.

5 sweet comments:

Laura said...

Hey there! Thanks for the comment on my blog! Just popped over to say hi and wow. What a powerful post. I have so much respect for your ability to be the change you want to see in the world. Truly remarkable. XO

TeamBabyCEO said...

Oh wow. I appreciate your honestly and candor. Sometimes it's hard going to those places. First, let me say that I love Gloria Steinem. Her book "Revolution from within" is one of my favorites.

Here's to knowing what you're worth, and owning it, and moving forward.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you were abused. I'm glad that guy truly loved and respected you. You are an amazing, strong woman.

Birdie said...

Thank you ladies! Honestly I feel like it took m entirely too long to overcome this stuff, and at the expense of my first marriage. However I hope that over time I am able to help other women still on the road to learning that we are worth so much more than our present and/or past circumstances. Don't hold onto the hate for that situation learn from it and become the you, you were meant to be.

Viva La Marla said...

It's amazing how the law has changed over the decades, and how far we've come as a country since the beginning. Our tolerance for crappy (← keeping it g-rated) behavior has decreased, thankfully.

On a slightly different note, I often wonder how people survive trauma. I have some of my own, and I struggle with it on a daily basis. I think it's a lifetime struggle, but as you said, ultimately, it's God, should we choose to accept Him as our Lord and Savior (and I have), that will help us overcome. He puts people in our lives when we most need it.



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