Don't you love it when a thought occurs in your skull that had never been there before? When a problem, long gnawed over and thoroughly chewed, gets a fresh perspective from an unlikely source? Break throughs, no matter what, seem to always come from a view askew.
I'm reading the final version of my memoir with a fresh eye, seeing it from the place I'm at now, where I'm no longer surrounded by flesh-eating vampires and haven't been for a year. And I've come to a simple conclusion: I was a real weenie. Sure, there are moments where I was cool and impressive, brave and protective of cherished loved ones, but I was mostly...a weenie. I just put on a good show of being brave. And therein lies the break through.
As recently as three years ago, I would have attacked myself like a pit bull over my own fears and cowardice, my uncertainties and misplaced loyalties to people who'd done little more than hurt me all my life. I would have seen only my faults and none of the positives. But time, coupled with the support of friends and loved ones, makes all the difference. Environment is everything. I was in an environment of cruelty, abuse, contempt and prejudice for the vast majority of my existence. I recognized that cruelty and abuse were wrong but they were all I'd ever known. I knew I could live in such an environment because I always had. I was comfortable there, even in my misery. So I stayed. I'd become prejudiced about my own possibilities and sabotaged my own positive future, over and over.
But I also did something monumental. With all the negative lessons, all the fists and fucks and violent endings I grew up with, something inside of me stayed kind. I still love my mother. I even still love my father. I just recognize that he's not good for me to be around so I stay away. What a thing to recognize in oneself: the ability to remain a good person when everything is blocking such a noble path. My best friend is the same way; she grew up in shit and vicious abuse but stayed kind. There are more of us out there than people think but few of us recognize what a great achievement that truly is. Make sure you see that goodness in yourself when you begin dog-kicking your inner child. Take off those steel-toed boots and stop the chain of self-abuse. The only way to do that is to love the one who hurt you. Especially if it is you, yourself. I was a jelly gutted, weak-kneed bigmouth but I was also a good person. I just did dumbass chickenshit things. But then I stopped. I embraced my own courage and I got away. I began to nurture myself. I cut negative people out of my life and that fertilizer began to help me take root in the world I'm in today. A strange, break through world of self love and even a bit of maternal pride for that broken kid I used to be...and always will be. But that's only one aspect of Rebecca O'Donnell. There are a thousand and one multi-colored layers to my persona and only a few of them are grey and listless, broken or bitter. I will concentrate on myself as a whole instead of the two dimensional loser that I saw in the mirror for so many years. Moody and happy, sad and joyous, pissy and belligerent, thoughtful and kind. I'm all of those things and a lot more. So are you. Give yourself a kiss and a break and be nice. I'll do the same.