Authors: J. D. Freed
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I am in the lobby absently rubbing my growing stomach as I wait for my turn in the "hot seat." I am supposed to attempt to dig into the bowels of my haunting memories and find the words to ask them the questions that still remain. This apparently will help release my resentment and anger; by seeking closure I can find peace, using my words to get them out of my system. This will hopefully diffuse the uncertainty that has rocked my existence for as long as I can remember. My formerly estranged mother Ally is already here and my newly-discovered father is present, as well.
Dr. Kasay had given me their letters on my last visit and said this might also be a good way for me to express my feelings and get them off my chest, especially those that may be difficult for me to speak out loud. She said it may be a better way for me to unload a lot of the baggage without worrying about how they perceive it. She thinks I have mastered the art of delivery in my professional endeavors; however, I use it as a defense and a front for dealing with personal affairs. I let my words become my weapon of choice and a shield against the truth hidden and buried beneath. She wants me to try and separate the emotions from the true points of conflict so I can draw a line between matters of the heart and those of business preparedness. I see her point and I know she is right. I have also mastered the ability to let those looking see only what I want them to see. I have always been able to control my reactions--put on a poker face until I decided how to play my hand. It had been a long-standing survival mechanism so engrained it was instinct. I think it started when AJ would beat her and I was instructed to not react or ever try to help her. Later, it was more like a honed skill I used to hide insecurities and battle internal demons holding me back. I had to learn to kind of fake it till I could make it.
It is not surprising that when tears flow, voices rise and sighs of frustration escape in a conversation or confrontation it distracts all parties from the ability to continue to receive and process the information coming back at them. Usually if my emotions are running high in a conversation, I am likely having a personal interaction and then sarcasm, trucker lingo and insults threaten to come in and close the door on any progress that could be made. Many times this made the situation worse because, based on assumptions I had already formulated, I usually had my arsenal of comebacks loaded and ready to fire when the moment presented itself. With my parents my goal would be to make them feel as bad as their perceived neglect and withholding of love had made me feel for so many years.
I didn't know how I was going to put that in words because it wasn't what it had always seemed from the outside looking in. Reading their letters and seeing their side of my life story has brought out feelings that are tough to make sense of and that were so unexpected. This makes it difficult because everything you thought you wanted to say before doesn't appear to really apply anymore.
In their letters to me, each of them outlined the sequence of events leading up to this point in our lives. They also try to explain their reasoning to help me understand how they justified their decisions that impacted my life so dramatically. In turn, they both took accountability for not being the kind of parents that I deserved. My dad said, "Despite all our failures where you were concerned, having you as our daughter was still our best accomplishment and dream come true in life. It wasn't the path any of us wanted to take to get there, but we are all here together now, better people than we were then. We've learned some hard lessons and we've paid some high prices. We have hurt the ones we've loved most. But our paths have crossed again and we have a chance to steer our course and lean on each other to chart our next adventure. A chance to right the wrongs make up for all we've missed accept accountability for our mistakes and let them go. We can plan our next phase and strategy for attaining the remaining goals left to meet on the route life has planned for us. I know for me, doing it together would make it a journey worth so much more."
I have seen firsthand the effects of being on the receiving end of an unrealized dream come true. I am about three months or more of walking, living proof of it, although I am having a hard time comprehending the exact point in time that my hopes and dreams shifted in focus and priority. Some of the top ten list just faded out and new ones took up the spot on the speed dial. The #1 spot on my phone is currently displayed as
on my contact list. I didn't even know he existed a few months ago--more proof that dreams have a crazy way of making their way to you and the best ones are not planned.
I don't recall which morning it was when I woke up and realized that all the dreams I had set out to make happen and steered my course to knock out were pale in comparison to the ones I place the most value on now. I couldn't have dreamed for the blessings I have now in my life, because I didn't know the possibility of such things even existed. I hadn't seen it in the cards I had been dealt. It wasn't written in any stars that had come in the night. I had never had it. I had it now. I will hold on to it forever.
On the last visit my therapist she had a suggestion. She expressed that in my condition, in a short few months I will no longer be able to comfortably dance with the rigor necessary to expel the energy required to restore calm to my nerves. She thought I should try to keep a journal--write poetry or maybe a book. At least until I can find the words.
I thought about what Dr. Kasay had suggested. I have come to the conclusion that I have got some time on my hands until the baby comes. I decide to give it try. What could it hurt that won't heal?
If Is Meant To Be It Is Up To Me
I feel the pulse of the beat streaming through the speakers surrounding me. I stretch back, throwing my hands back over behind my head, and I feel the coolness of the metal pole as I clasp it tightly in both hands. The beat picks up and words spill through to my ears. The feel forces my mouth to part and breath to push through my lips. I lick my bottom lip as I feel the pull take residence in my chest… I thrust forward, still grasping the pole behind, and as the rhythmic sounds vibrate along with the words "this moment we own it… one chance", I pull up, spin and wrap around the pole. I watched the latest "Fast and Furious" last night as a tribute to the late Paul Walker. I am one of many women in the world that took that news hard.
I let the feeling of the pole cool my skin from the sweat and burn in my muscles. This is what I need to take back control of my mind. It helps clear the insecurities that make me question if I am really capable of fulfilling the quest that I have dreamed of and pushed myself and my personal limits to achieve. The answer comes to me as I flip down, slide to the floor and catch my own eyes in the mirrors. Hell YES, I am.
I have sacrificed so much for this moment, and it finally feels like I've done it… all on my own. Well, that is not entirely true. I have many to thank for getting me to where I am today. I could thank my mother for teaching me to dance. She was a dancer before I came along and shattered her dreams. It was the only survival skill she engrained in me before she kicked me to the curb at 16. She was certain that with a face and body like mine, I would catch myself a rich husband who would take care of me, and I could be the perfect "trophy" for him to show off at important events.
I did take some of her advice. I used the body God gave me. I will admit it, but it was on my own terms. It was a means to an end, and it wasn't to get the guy. I have busted my ass over the past 12 years to prove to the only judge and jury that matters anymore that I have value beyond my C-cups and pert backside! I am a ME I can now show some pride in, and it feels so good!
I wipe myself down with my towel and head down the stairs from the loft studio I had transformed into my own personal battleground. In my bedroom I peel off my sweaty sports bra and boy shorts and sit to unwrap the protective tape around the balls of my feet. As I get up and walk into the bathroom and turn the spout on in the shower, waiting for it to warm, I turn to the vanity to grab a new razor from the drawer. I catch a glimpse of the scar that mars my olive-toned skin from under my ribs up to a point below my shoulder blade. It is a reminder of what it means to survive and take back your life… the life I owed myself.
My eyes follow the line to the ink I had planted between my shoulder blades; flowers surround a scroll that sits behind my heart, reminding me of strength, truth, pain, love: "TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE." I shake off the chill that runs up my spine… I tell myself it is just the sweat and my cooling body that causes that reaction, but I know that is not true. Is it really a lie if it is just to yourself?
My beloved Dez put the tattoo on me just before she died. She gave Tyler one, too, but he hasn't ever shown me his and I've never asked to see it.
I push it out of mind and step into the shower. It is a big day for me and I embrace all of the hurt and challenges I've overcome to get here. If I had to rate it, I would say it is the biggest day in my 29 years of life! I dress in my black lace undergarments that remind me I am all woman, even if I am surrounded by egotistical male "professionals" in the conference rooms for the majority of my days, and I feel power oozing from my garter to my sheer toes. I step into my charcoal grey pencil skirt and tie off my deep slate blue wrap silk shirt. Although the blouse has a certain appeal from a visual standpoint, with a deep cut in the front, the silver lacy camisole peeking beneath ensures that I still leave plenty to the imagination. I step into my suede charcoal and black 3-inch heels. One of my "power sources" is shoes… and today I pulled out my faves.
I have to grin and a slight giggle escapes as I think about that. It is not that I am a "girly girl", per se. My previous life endeavors required that I learn how to protect and defend myself and grow some rather thick skin. I have taught myself, with the help of Evan from the Home Depot DIY service team, to lay tile, build a headboard, and replace a faucet. On my off days, jeans and clever tee shirts are my standard attire. However, that is not what a SVP of Acquisitions and Mergers wears. It is just a proven fact that your appearance can influence your opinion of your self-worth and amazingly, have an even greater effect on how others perceive you… right down to your shoes! In my position I have to exude confidence, professionalism and poise. I need to ensure my prospective investors that I can close and manage multi-million dollar deals.
I finish out my career-focused appearance by styling my auburn angled cut that falls just below my jaw. I line my hazel eyes in dark liner and finish my slight makeup, jewel-seeking regimen. I round the hallway toward the kitchen, where I can smell the aroma of strong coffee pulling me like a flower to the sun. There is a knock on the door.