Accepting who I am
This is the last blog post I will write from my home in Portland Oregon. This is the last Saturday I will spend sitting in my bed in this home looking out the window to the blue grey morning sky and the pine trees. It is quiet here. It makes me sad to leave this peaceful spot. It has been a strange week as I alter between being so excited to leave Portland for the place I love; Redondo Beach, California, and being nostalgic about all the memories I have created here.
When my daughter was born we lived in Sausalito California and my husband and I both worked in San Francisco. I had recently moved back to the Bay Area from Denver Colorado. I loved the Bay Area, and swore I wouldn’t leave again. But after having my daughter the pace was overwhelming to me, and I wanted a slower, easier pace. My husband and I decided to move, but didn’t know where. We used to have a large sized map book where each state was on a different page. We used to get it out and open it to a random page and see if we wanted to live there. We never opened it to Oregon, but a few months later that is where we decided to move.
We came up here for the Portland marathon, and I remember standing on the race route waiting for my husband to run by and seeing a beautiful family with three blue eyed, blonde children. They were smiling, happy and innocent. I felt it right then. I want to bring my daughter up here, where she can be a kid when she is a kid. I felt that she wouldn’t be forced to grow up too fast in Portland.
So, within a few months we moved. I hadn’t gone back to my job after maternity leave, and my husband quit his job. We rented a 2 story condo and started our life. We knew nobody, and knew nothing about the area but I was glad to start fresh and have this town be ours alone.
My husband found a job within a few months, and I stayed home with our baby. We began our life of slowly navigating the area, buying our first home and then upgrading to our current home. We did it together, it was just the three of us doing everything. We were in a bubble of love and connection. My husband and daughter were my world and my heart. Everything I did, I did with them in mind.
It made me happy to see them happy, and I poured my heart into creating a home. I tried to make the holidays and birthdays memorable for them, as we had no family in the area and I wanted it to be special. I wanted to create a new world away from all the hurt of my past. I wanted us to support and love each other because I had not known that feeling growing up.
My intentions were good, but somewhere along the way I started to become disillusioned with my vision. I had poured my heart into the hope of something different, but in doing that I exhausted myself. I thought my new family could take away all the hurt and unfairness of my childhood. But I still felt sad. My sadness made me double my efforts to make us closer as a family. But in doing that I ended up exhausted and depressed, and ultimately too clingy which pushed my family away from me.
No one can take away the hurt from my past. And I can’t hide myself in a new identity which is what I wanted to do when I moved to Portland. I wanted to pretend the little girl that I was didn’t exist. I wanted to pretend that I didn’t come from parents that didn’t care about me and abused me. I wanted to pretend that my sisters actually cared about me when they called to tell me the family drama. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I came from a bad place with bad people. I just didn’t think it was fair, that out of no fault of my own, I had to carry that burden. It made me angry, it made me feel powerless. So, I wanted to hide it, forget it, do anything to get away from it.
But it didn’t go away, and running from it just made it all worse. My shame grew larger in the darkness as I used all my energy pretending to be ‘normal’. I used all my energy to cover up my shame and my disgust about where I came from. And ultimately, I couldn’t keep up the pace. So, when my mom died 3 years ago, I had a breakdown. That was the beginning of the end. I had to come clean, I had to speak my truth and admit where I came from, it was the only way out of the dark place I had created for myself. I am a surviver of childhood sexual and emotional abuse. I hate writing it even now, but there is nothing I can do about it. That is who I am.
This journey back to myself has taught me that I can’t run from my past, and I can’t run from my feelings. So, moving to Redondo Beach is not about running away, it is about embracing who I am, and doing what I love. That is where I want to be, even it it makes sense to no one but me.
I transferred with my finance job, and I start November 4th. I leased a small apartment across the street from the beach. I bought a one way ticket to fly out of Portland on October 31st. We are selling our home here, and I have no real desire to buy another home. I want to be free of encumbrances, and all the things I always thought I ‘should’ do, and I want to decide for myself what I really ‘want’ to do. I am taking a leap of faith because it feels right to me, and it makes the little girl in me happy. I have ignored and shamed her for so long, I am now fully indulging her.
I don’t know what the future holds, I am letting go of all certainty and stability for the unknown. I am excited and sad at the same moment. It is a new feeling for me, but I know I will be ok. I am learning to trust myself, and love myself. And most importantly I am learning to forgive myself, and have empathy for the person that I was. I had good intentions, but building a life to hide in, ultimately destroyed the old me. I see it all so clearly now, I apologize to anyone that I hurt with my self hate and insecurities, it definitely wasn’t you, it was me.
I move forward in truth, I move forward in love, I move forward with hope, I move forward taking care of the little girl in me who never deserved to be ignored in the first place.