Thankful Thursday

Don’t need to get Mom anywhere for a few days, so we’re plotting how productive we’re going to be later. I still have some Christmas items to pack away. They’re downstairs littering the storage area. The 1300 lights still need to be detangled and secured. The two beaded garlands need to be unknotted and secured. A few ornaments still belong in their storage containers. It’s just a matter of starting, and I’m sure I’ll finish in maybe an hour. Except for the lights. That could be lengthy. Putting those things in their place will declutter our storage area and lead to getting the patio and deck furniture out for the weekend when it will be great outdoor weather. Rewards make tasks like that go much easier.

My handy daily reminders on how to behave and help others while helping myself

I mentioned this book awhile ago when writing about three places I look for inspiration to write. This one helps me remember how to be a good citizen and help others while providing opportunities for growth. Growth for myself and others. They go hand in hand sometimes. For example, today, March 5 speaks to not having a voice.

People who meet me today have no clue I had no voice about my own life until I took charge of making my voice heard. Growing up, my parents voice was the only one that could be heard in the home. Since I got married after high school graduation, there was no opportunity to speak up while I was still at home. My dad could have a conversation that was an exchange with me, but Mom could not. At times we still use the weather and whatever she talks about as topics for the time we’re together. I tend to shut down while she pontificates about a lot of things. Yes, it’s an unhealthy pattern from life. She can’t see a need to change now, and I’m keeping quiet to pick a better battle. She has always been this way, and will stay this way. I have come to forgive her and leave her quirks in her house, not mine. It’s saved me a lot of frustration. It’s just not worth trying to resolve at this point in her life.

This daily discussion piece tells of not having power or choice without a voice. It’s true. Children often have no voice. In a baby boomer world, you were seen and not heard. Currently, children are often allowed the same voice as an adult. I think you can only have an adult voice when your experiences and level of learning are equal to an adult. No five year old should be allowed to choose where to eat, what time to go to bed, what time to get up, etc. They can, however, learn to make those choices for when they’re older.

In highly dysfunctional homes, homes with high levels of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and violence, the children have no choice in what happens to them. It is a devastating result all the time. They know no better. They need to learn an alternative exists and how to achieve it for them. I must stress here, there was no violence in our home. My dad was a perfect gentleman to my mom. My mom was the alcoholic as I’ve revealed before. My younger brothers, like most kids in the 70’s, experimented with whatever their friends were doing. No longer. Thank God!

Society told me I needed to rely first on parents, then husband #1 to provide for me, protect me, and yes, even think for me. I was a latecomer to the whole equality issue. Yes, I was a very late bloomer. When I filed to divorce at 29 was when I found my voice. Maybe I went a little crazy with it, but eventually, I loved speaking up and out about what was best for my life. What was best for my kids’ lives while they were young and lived with me. And I made sure they learned their voices by teaching them respect of others’ opinions, decisions, and life choices. I think they had massive doses of reality before they set out on their own.

Compared to the wallflower I used to be, I enjoy speaking up. One thing I have noticed is if I get a bad vibe from someone, chances are they are a manipulator and either alcoholic or drug abuser. I don’t want to stop being a caring person who helps others. I want to be a caring person who helps others without being taken advantage of. I’m learning how to use my voice loud and clear. I know who I have to stay away from. I know when to leave. I know who to avoid. I’ve learned the hard way in some instances.

I am grateful for the miracle of growing and finding my voice. It’s not my mom’s, or my dad’s, my husband’s or my children’s. It’s mine. And God gave it back to me, ready to use at my discretion. I tell you about this voice because it’s in my book. Katie is the main character who needs to find and use her voice. She recalls the family dynamic, the lessons that taught her she had a voice, and even lets it roar when it needs to. It’s a journey many women take in their lives. You can too, male or female. Young or old. Gay or straight. Use your voice to make your own best life. I hope to see you again tomorrow. Thank you for reading today.