By that I mean, I'm going to have to jump into the dumpster of my soul, dig deep, flush out the junk and save the BEST of my life. But I can't forget all those ugly things that molded me into what I am today, and hopefully what I am today has made a difference to my children, my family and friends. To someone...anywhere. .
When one is thinking about leaving a legacy, then one must consider one's demise. It's very creepy, and God help me, I'm actually about to write what kind of legacy am I leaving upon my "exit." Naturally, my three sons come to mind first. What am I leaving them to remember about me? Is it all good? Some not so good? Mixed bag? Can they use any of what I've left to better their lives, make them more productive members of society? It scares me a tad that I may have screwed up (of course I screwed up) and maybe I'll will be leaving the wrong trash behind...I hope not. And here's where my story begins.
Facing fear of any kind head on is something I've tried to instill in my children. That, and have courage. There's nothing you can't do, I've told them a zillion times, unless you let something or someone stand in your way. Fear is a faceless, breathless, useless emotion. Though this was not a lesson I learned early on in life. Quite the opposite, in fact. I was afraid of my own shadow. I'd have much rather tucked my tail between my boney little legs and ran the other direction when faced with conflict than to deal with it. Be it trivial or gigantic. Of course every problem and dilemma when we're children seem to appear larger than life. And the thought of death was always my biggest fear. I was afraid of the dark. Afraid of swimming in deep water (though I could swim like a fish). Afraid of car accidents. Afraid of flying. I was afraid of anything that had to do or could cause DEATH. "Let's not talk about it," I'd always say if the topic of dying raised it dark head. "NO, I'm not dying. Ever!!! By the time I'm old enough to die, they'll (the scientific world I guess I meant) will come up with something to help me stay alive forever." At that time I had no idea there would actually come a time when I would think maybe death isn't such a bad guy. That would come much later...
What the heck could or would cause a child to be so afraid of the unknown?
Easy answer: It had been my childhood environment. Our environment shapes us all. I was raised around a constant barrage of negatively. There was always yelling going on in and around my home. Hitting, slapping and berating was not an unusual occurrence. It was a daily occurrence. Unsettled roots, from moving around like Nomads. No stability. This formed me...at least temporally.
I remember sitting outside one day, when I was about seven, under a stripped awning next to my green chest that my loving grandpa built for me. I kept my dolls in the chest (which I now call Grandpa). I remember thinking "When I have kids, they are not going to have to hear all this fussing and fighting." I knew then I was going to do whatever it took to produce an environment just the opposite of the one I was in. That must be the key, I thought as a child. I wasn't going to be a monkey see-monkey do.
Now I am an adult (I think I'm an adult at 15 years old): I'd love to end this post right now and say ta-da it went as PLANNED.... but no, it didn't. Things don't always work out the way you hope as you progress from your wee child-like self to the your days of grownup-hood.. The days were now nightmares for me. I had gone from the frying pan into the fire and into a bad marriage and if I thought my life was bad before, I was in for a wake up call like no other. Again, fear consumed me. When was the beast coming in from work? What kind of mood would the beast be in? How could I keep him calm? Could I keep calm? How can I protect the boys? Most times I couldn't. Instead my little boys and I lived and walked on eggshells and we existed like this for eight long, grueling years....until I finally, FINALLY got the courage to LEAVE. Goodbye fear. Hello LIFE
Few friends and family had known of the life my children and I had been living-or rather trying to live-inside those destructive walls. But once they did, they rallied together and lent an extended hand. My sweet Aunt helped me get my "real" first job, which meant I was able to get my "real" first home for myself and my boys, and we finally got a "real" car of our own. We would never be TRAPPED again. When you have wheels, you have freedom, I learned!
I not only learned as the years rolled by what that new life had done for me, but I learned what it had done to show my boys how courageous their mother was. I also taught them there is always a better answer to a problem than ignoring it or hoping it'll to go away. I taught them to never give up their hopes and dreams. That they could do whatever their hearts and minds told them they could do.... with the proper work and dedication. I taught them there were many ways to solve problems without verbal or physical violence..... I think the legacy I will leave is "courage and determination" You can do it...
Of course there are other quirks about me I'm leaving behind in the minds and hearts of my children, family and friends which will cause them to be yapping about me forever: like her sense of humor...her vanity...her love for Christmas...her predictability (I hate that they know this about me)...her love for laughing (until she'd wet her pants)...her honesty and outspokenness (oops)... how she loved her children and nothing is left after that because she did it so well.
I am no longer afraid of my shadow or anyone else's shadow, nor am I afraid of dying. Death is only a part of living, and I am doing my part ....because Life is good
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