In the words of Anne Lamott, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
I recently met up with my kindergarten teacher, I am now 23. I moved from Maryland to North Carolina when I was 7, and moved to Pennsylvania last year. The two of us got together and had lunch, it was slightly awkward at first, but we got over that real quick.
She began to ask me about life and how everything was, why I moved up here, etc. My mom had kept in contact with her through these years, sending Christmas Cards, school pictures, and other miscellaneous items.
Years ago I would have lied, well, not necessarily lied, but done what I had been taught growing up.
“Do not talk about your family.” “What happens in this house, stays in this house.” These rules were verbally beaten into me, for fear that people might find out we aren’t the picture perfect family we acted like.
So anyway, my kindergarten teacher began to ask questions, and rather than lie, or give the fake convincing smile I had practiced for many years, I was honest. “I guess when you are sending letters back and forth, all you hear about is the great things in our life.” She looked at me slightly curious.
I went on to tell her I had a scholarship, did sports, traveled, voted most unforgettable, (the usual happy and surface deep stuff I would typically tell people.) I also told her that my parents quickly became very close with their relationship to alcohol, I moved out in High school, my grandmother and I were no longer close, and had to go to treatment.
It wasn’t a pity party, but it wasn’t fake. She had only heard what mom had told her over the years. This was my opportunity to explain, that like everybody else, we all have something, and my life was no exception.
I consider myself very blessed, having a great job, good friends, a dog, and in recovery. It was not always like that, and I am so thankful I am mentally in a different place.
What I grew up thinking was normal, became apparent that these actions were not only not normal, but in general, were not ok.
Trust the Process!