I’m grateful for my faith. I am grateful that it is what I need it to be in any given moment – that it is flexible, giving and forgiving. It can lift me up and still show me my shortcomings. It can see me through the dark nights of my soul: the pain and struggle that we all live through as part of this human experience.
My experiences as a child had left me wounded and sometimes I still struggle with those wounds as an adult. Sometimes I am nothing but a puddle of saline as I can do little else but weep.
Sometimes I hear my grandmother’s voice telling me that I am no good, that I am just like my mother and I’ll never amount to anything. I should be grateful that they took me in. And while I was not grateful as a child – I am grateful now. I understand now as an adult what they were trying to do, even though their love was toxic. I still carry that voice inside of me. The voice of self abuse and self hatred. I have worked hard to love myself, to love myself as I am and in the place where I am in my journey. Sometimes that drives me to work harder – to be better – to constantly strive to be better in order to appease that stern inner parent and finally gain its love.
But really, that’s me. I am the one holding myself back with feelings of being less than fully deserving. Some say I should just tell that inner monologue to shut up. But I don’t want to silence that parent – I want to gain its approval — which even in her dying days, my grandmother never said to me directly that I turned out alright. I had to hear that from someone else and honestly I am not sure what I would have said or did if I heard her express her tacit approval of who I had become in her eyes. She didn’t really know me. I kept the parts of me that were important hidden from her, because I knew they would never meet with her approval. I knew at an early age, I couldn’t win her favor and I still battle this today with my stern inner parent whose approval I may never win.
I think because of my childhood, almost all of the characters I create in roleplaying games have a hard time relating to their parents or some are orphans. I have a hard time imagining what it is like to have a more typical (non-toxic) loving parent. I do my best to emulate one with my son, but I’m sure I fail to some degree. I’m human. I’m not perfect. Perfection is something that does not exist and fortunately perfection is not something I strive for any more. I simply strive to do better and to be better than I was the last time I did (insert action or situation here). And really that is all anyone – including ourselves – can ask of ourselves.