I will never be a well-behaved woman.
This is a fact that would make some ladies cringe, but one that I’m quite certain has my mom and Nonnie dancing a happy jig in heaven right now. My mom always said that I had a touch of gypsy in me, and Nonnie, embracing her inner Thoreau, told me that I definitely heard the beat of my own drummer. In fact, as a little girl, when I would be displaying one of my infamous “spirited moments,” Nonnie would always look at me, smile, wink, and ask, “you hearing that drum again, K-Bett?” I always knew I wasn’t in trouble when she said that and would smile and nod my head yes. Nonnie would tell me, “that’s okay baby, you dance to your drum.”
My kindergarten teacher told my parents that she wanted to bump me ahead a grade because I finished all of my work so quickly and was, in her opinion, ready for a higher grade. She explained that when I finished my assignments, I talked to the other children, who were still working, and this was disruptive to their progress. She stated that when she instructed me not to bother them, I sat at my desk for a few minutes, then quietly got out of my seat, walked to the back of the room, and started skipping and dancing all around. She took me into the hall and asked me what I was doing and I responded, “I’m dancing to my drum.”
My teacher didn’t appreciate my spirit as much as my Nonnie.
In fact, a lot of people didn’t appreciate my spirit and zest for life and sadly, that made me feel like I just didn’t fit…. anywhere. It takes a lot of inner strength, self-love, and confidence to be comfortable being your true, authentic self. I didn’t possess those things, but I did possess a few people who loved me just as I was and, in their presence, I could hear that drum and dance away. My best friend, Lori, has always been one of those people. She hears her own drum too; however, she was always quite comfortable with that fact.
It took me many years before I ever came close to recognizing that beautiful power. Of course, I now understand that in order to do that, I first had to heal my wounded self-esteem and build my self-worth and self-love. That’s not an easy or quick task, but it is definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve given myself permission to just be me, without asking for anyone’s approval. I’m pretty certain that’s why I love the song, “Stand in the Light,” by Jordan Smith. The chorus is my favorite part of that song:
“This is who I am inside, this is who I am, I’m not going to hide.
‘Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far, to stand in the light and be seen as we are.”
Those words touch something so deep in my soul I can’t listen to that song and not crank it ridiculously loud. I’m the same way with awesome Christian music. I will drive up somewhere and people will turn and look and then they realize it’s just me, The Homecoming Queen of Crazy Town, windows down, music blaring, hair blowing everywhere, wildly screaming the lyrics of Trading My Sorrow (Yes Lord !). –Israel & New Breed—Essence Of Praise & Worship Vol. 2 In the past I would have turned my music down a block away, now I just roll up and be me, because I am who I am, and what I am, finally, is perfectly okay with that.
One thing I know for sure is my days of apologizing for who I am are over. I will never again be involved with people who make me feel that I am hard to love. If I’m hard to love, then they are clearly not the people who are meant to love me. That, too, is okay. I am perfectly aware of the fact that I am not for everyone and I most certainly know I am not for the faint of heart or weak of mind. A friend of mine once classically said that I now have a lot of “F*#K You” in my backpack. While I enjoyed the rather hysterical image of me walking around with an invisible backpack full of THAT and handing it out generously to all who earned a serving, I think a more accurate statement would be that when it comes to bullies, and abusive, mean people, I have a lot of “Don’t give a F*#K” in there.
I no longer suffer in silence. I have found my voice and I will certainly fight for those who have lost theirs, or who don’t have one.
I am a survivor in every sense of the word. Sometimes I feel like I’ve survived far more atrocities than the average person, and yet I’m continuously cognizant of the fact that there are people who have suffered far worse. Regardless, I realize every day that I have a choice to either embrace life with joy, spreading kindness and hope, or I can be a bitter, angry person. Negativity just doesn’t even fit into my heart, there’s just no room for it there. On my darkest days, it’s as if hope dances around screaming at me, “Hey, I’m over here! I refuse to be ignored!!!“ As a result, my moments of despair are short-lived, my heart bounces back rather quickly, and I’m back to hearing my festive, little drum again.
I’m proud of myself. I’ve slowly learned to embrace my uniqueness and being completely aware of my imperfections and flaws, I love who I am. True beauty is found in the scars and dents that remain from the accidents we’ve survived in our lifetime. When I look at my circle, I don’t see friends, I see warriors. I see people who have defended me when I couldn’t fight for myself and who have loved me when I hated myself so much I couldn’t even look in the mirror. During my most trying times, I wasn’t the only one who had sleepless nights. So, inside my circle, I see the people who knew I was worth losing sleep over long before I did.
These same individuals have celebrated my joy and laughed with me without restraint. The truth is that I enjoy the little magic I find in every day things. I talk to my dogs as if they’re humans and believe they understand what I’m saying. I tell Rocket Pop that he is a hooligan when he cusses out the neighbors at the fence line and he looks right at me and tells me he doesn’t care. I know he has a whole lot of something in his doggie backpack, I’m just glad he can’t use words and tell me what it is. I love the fact that angels are everywhere and that Alec and I were both visited and touched by them. I love laughter and a happy heart. I find the humor in so many things and I laugh all by myself…… a lot.
I love loud people and I adore the quiet people who are only able to be loud on the inside. I love the people who are smiling when they want to cry and who push through to one more day, clinging to the hope that things will improve. When I was a little girl I would watch the Brady Bunch and wish I could live in that fictional, happy house where everything good always happened. I would run through my house like a little lunatic yelling, “I’M CINDY BRADY FOR LIFE !!” The thought of that has me laughing out loud at my keyboard as I write this. Sadly, the fact is, I really wanted to grow up and be anyone in the world–anybody who wasn’t me.
Things are different today. I am happy with who I am. I know I have a good, kind heart and would do anything in the world to help anyone. In spite of the ugly things I have endured in my life, I know my soul is beautiful. I know my mission and my purpose is to help people who are hurting. I hope by sharing my truth and revealing my scars, others will realize that they, too, can heal. I know I’m doing precisely what God created me to do. I no longer want to be Cindy Brady.
Amazingly enough, when I grow up, I want to be me.