It is so easy to mistake our journey in life to be out of our control To feel small and powerless. For me it started as a child. As with all children, I looked to my parents for everything. They were my North Star. I would put my faith in them over and over again. Even as they failed me, I remained loyal. I was unshakable in the belief if I did something, a magical thing, well then they would love me and protect me. But, of course I never learned what that mysterious ritual that I needed to enact to change my world. And so, I came to believe that everything was beyond my control. That I had no power and I could affect nothing. It is a desolate thing, this lose of the possible. So, I became a passenger in my own life. Someone else always steering the ship that was named my destiny. I willingly gave away the wheel to almost anyone willing to captain it. I went from my parents, to my husbands with barely a moment in between.
It is the dichotomy of abuse, that the victim is made to believe they are both responsible for the acts visited upon them and at the same time, they have no power to stop it. This constant tension between being to blame and yet being able to do nothing to prevent it creates the mindset of victim. I spent years wearing that label. My entire childhood and many years after. I would stare up at the stars and wonder what port my ship would lay sail for next. I would look through charts and test the winds, but I did nothing to further my journey. Nor did I take the helm. I would have rather stayed a passenger then ever take control of my own boat. No, someone else who knew more than I, who had more power, they would come along. I knew that they would. I would be rescued from the jagged rocks of depression and hopelessness. There was a life raft out there I just knew it.
Of all the things my parents took from me, my feeling of independence, my sense of trust in myself was one of the most egregious. It took so long for me to take up control. to steer my own ship. It came very slowly to me. I saw my life drifting too close to shore with the storm clouds gathering over head and I realized I would have to mutiny. To throw over the captain of complacency and ambivalence. I was going to have to stand up for myself and be my own rescuer. No one could do it better than I could No one was more likely to be able to accomplish the task than myself. I came to realize I was more than a passenger. I was the skipper. Where ever I found myself, was exactly where I had let myself drift to. I had allowed my life to go haphazardly by and every time I found myself in an eddy, rudderless I was so shocked. Surprised at what turn my course had taken. I was still playing victim. However, now I had no one else to blame. These were my choices. My decisions had lead to whatever shipwreck my life had become.
This was a saddening reality. Yet, it must be faced. I had to look at the charts laid out with little pins set down marking each misstep. And I had to plot a new course. To see where I was, how I got there was interracial in making sure I never ended up back there again. And if by chance I did, I would have no one to answer for but myself. It was scary at first. The idea that I could do what I wanted. I did not have any idea what that would be. We are all born in little boats. Tethered to our parents and we bob in the water of life until the day we unattached ourselves from them. To go our own way. When things go astray we have to be able to send up a flare. We must create way points for when the seas get stormy. We must never abandon our ship. There is that tendency, when you came through the blinding cold rain and the rocking great waves to say no more. To yell up to the heavens that I could take no more. It was all too much. I was ill equipped. I would just learn to paddle and my boat would spring a leak. I used little things I found in the water to fill those many holes. Hope. Hope always came first and it mended many a sail for me. I lashed together faith and love and used them to as a buoy. To tie up to when things got rough.
It became an adventure. I became more confident in my own decisions. More able to see the stars above. More able to navigate treacherous bodies of water and sale through banks of fog without getting lost. I kept the compass called belief near my heart and I reached for it when needed. I learned to use a sexton to find my way in the night and I sailed on. On past hate. I made no stops in bitterness or revenge. I moved on from fear. Despair I gave no purchase. I rode out wild times and smooth waters. The further I went from where I began the better I felt. I have my provisions. Self esteem and self worth. And I sail on. We all sail on.
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