Sometimes, people have a difficult time when someone changes. They especially don’t like it when they change their way of being. During this journey of finding myself, I’ve discovered who I really am and what I stand for. Yes it was a divorce that started the journey, but the journey was grown through a need for self-definition, not from post-divorce trauma. Who I was throughout my childhood and my first marriage is very different than the person who I am now. There are parts that are the same, of course, but for the most part, I’m different. My family, and the family I was married into at 23, didn’t talk about the “bad stuff” nor did we show our vulnerable sides. Everything was very surface at best. It was what I knew, so I lived that way, too. As Maya Angelou says, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
Yes, my family doesn’t appreciate the “new” Lori sometimes. My ex husband definitely does not appreciate her. I’m bucking the system. I’m changing my role in how the world goes round. In the past, my role in my family was that of the pleaser: the quiet and don’t rock-the-boat kind of person. When my grandmother would put me down or my mother shared her opinions which I didn’t agree with, or my ex husband would pout until he got his way, I never spoke from my true self. I would either ignore the remarks or my response was sugar coated and came from a place of trying to please them. “What can I say that won’t hurt their feelings, because I don’t want to be rude?” was a thought I had often.
I used to be the “yes girl,” you know, the one who made everything smooth and happy. If I had my own individual thoughts, I didn’t share them. I was just happy to see others happy. If I had my own needs, I didn’t bring them up for fear that it would seem too selfish. I now know that I don’t have to be a “yes girl” at all.
I’m a woman who speaks from my heart and always tries to be honest and truthful. If there’s a misunderstanding, I want to clear the air. My bringing it up doesn’t mean I’m mad. It just means that we need to talk about the issues. That’s a healthy way of dealing with things. So many people brush those types of discussions under the rug. Now when I see an issue, or I’m scared of something, or something affects me or my family, I speak up about it. It doesn’t come from a mean-spirited place. (Although sometimes, if I’ve let it fester too long, I may not speak it as eloquently as I could) I’m just trying have a healthy relationship with people and open up the lines of communication. If I’ve ever offended anyone with my openness and honesty as I evolve into myself, I’m truly sorry. I’m not the girl who purposely sets out to hurt people.
It’s a scary thing–to speak your true feelings. Most times, I’m still terrified to speak my needs or be vulnerable. I’m scared people won’t like me. I’m afraid if I tell someone “no” that they’ll judge me and hate me forever. This is the me I revert to sometimes–that 6 year-old little girl with the curls in her hair. Changing your thinking and learning to stop that feeling of shame is like walking from the dark into the light. It’s warm, it’s rewarding, it’s a bit unnerving taking that step because you’re used to the dark, desolate feeling of keeping quiet, which in a way seems safe. It’s not. I promise, if your heart is pure and your intentions are good, speaking your truth is worth every step.