Reality Bites

Our perception is our reality. Or is perception how we model our reality? Is it colored by the way in which we want rather than simply the way it really is? What about the perception of others? Confused? Yeah. Me too.

I’m kind of a worry-wart. My mind is notorious for running races around things, even if they’re fairly insignificant. And when I think back, I’m certain this lifelong characteristic was cultivated out of fear. When you grow up without a whole lot of acclamation, you doubt yourself. Often. And you doubt others. Frequently. Because when you’re young, you rely on the most obvious people to lift you up. But when you don’t really have those people cheering you on in life then you’re left to cheer on yourself. Except there’s a line between esteem and ego. And I wasn’t sure which way to lean. So I got lost between both. And therefore, felt entirely misplaced. Consumed with perceptions of others and disoriented by my own reality. reality-bites

I remember the day I wanted so badly to have a different life. Do most kids have that thought at some point in their adolescence? Yes. Undoubtedly. {Hello teenage years}. But my memory was much earlier than that. It was at a time when being different was so unheard of. And I was different. It set me apart from others. It created a wall. And my family didn’t have experience in dealing with that kind of thing. Nope. My whiter than white [adoptive] parents with a strong Swedish and German descent, living in rural Iowa with an adopted Korean daughter and a biological daughter of their own. It wasn’t the standard sight for that kind of place. And we stuck out like the sorest thumb possible. I was bullied. I was teased. I was left out. And I was lonely. I didn’t know how to be included so I was bossy. I bossed the neighbor kids around. I bossed my little sister around. I bossed our dog around! Because I wanted to be able to control something in my life. I wanted to be someone that mattered.

We didn’t stay long. Mostly due to the aforementioned. We moved there shortly after I started kindergarten. Then we moved away two months into my second grade year and shortly after my 8th birthday. The year I got my first diary. A beautiful little book with a soft padded exterior. It was shiny and white and covered with colorful music notes. Because I loved music. I loved playing the piano. And I loved to sing. Even though I don’t have a singing voice. My mother and sister both had {have} beautiful voices. But I [obviously] wasn’t gifted with their genes and it turns out I didn’t get those from my own biological kin. But I sang anyway. And I still sing. I’m not terrible. I sang in a few musicals in high school and at church. But I’m not gifted. And that’s okay. Because a passion doesn’t have to come from a natural gift. Sometimes they just come from within. And music, for me, definitely comes from within. So, you can just imagine the joy I got when I received that perfect little gift. At an imperfect time. It even had a small lock and key. Yes. Something I could finally have command of. My own thoughts. Written down as if I had someone to talk to. Someone that would accept. Understand. And leave all the misconceptions at bay. It was my most prized possession. So much so, I still have it. Yes. Along with every other journal since then. That diary combined my passion for music and writing and my desire to be something, if even for myself. I loved to get lost in my thoughts and I continued to nurture that self-reflection all the way into college. Because it was an absolutely necessary part of my survival. I have a large plastic bin filled with my thoughts and my words. And by large, I mean it’s so heavy I can’t hardly lift it on my own. But I’ve carried it with me to each place I’ve ever lived. And one of these days, I’ll open it up…and read some of what I wrote. But that day hasn’t come just yet. Because I know that some of those thoughts and words will be hard to read. They’re dark. They’re painful. They’re a reflection of the person I was…and to some degree, still am. And that’s kind of scary. No. I take that back. That’s really scary. But I also believe it might offer up a sense of peace. Because I’ve come a long way. It’s all about perspective. Right? Those moments can either make me or break me. Some of them broke me back then. Some of them still break me now. But they all make me. Now I’m older. Stronger. Wiser. And I understand they cumulatively represent my whole colorful picture on life. Even on the days when it was [is] mostly just black and white. Because my reality is not defined by the perspective of others but simply by my own.  And that’s much less confusing.

 

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