Welcome to “Let Herself Go.” I have this notion that I have things to say and a desire to share my journey. It’s been on my heart for a long time, but I am afraid of what the world would think and how I will be perceived. I started to blog over a year ago, but was insecure about it so I stopped. I have grown a lot over the last year, and I am ready to start fresh. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
My little girl writes sweet little stories all the time. Maybe I’m biased because I am her mom, and think she and her sisters hang the moon, but the stories are so great. The thing that amazes me is her confidence in the greatness of her stories. She reads them proudly to me and I soak up every word.
I’ve noticed lately, she gets a little shy smile when I tell her to read them to her daddy. There is this little second of hesitation, and it kills me. I often wonder when and how self-confidence is lost, because all of the children are completely unconcerned with what the world thinks of them. At what point does that change? At what point do they start wondering if they are good enough, or if the story they wrote worth sharing? When they are 5 years old, they believe they are amazing. It’s right there, in that moment of hesitation, before she reads the story to her dad, I see the insecurity starting. It’s painful to watch.
He enjoys her stories and tells her so, and we let her know we can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next. What if he made fun of the story, even jokingly so? What if he didn’t give her the time of day to even listen? Would she still share them with us? What if she just stopped writing her stories? We would lose that peak into her thoughts and imagination, and to me, that would be a profound loss.
Her latest story is about two cats who meet and fall in love, get married, raise kittens and live happily ever after. I used to write things like she does. She is such a romantic and has always been. Even at three years old, watching the little mermaid, she sighed when Ariel and Eric fell in love. I was like that. I always wanted to fall in love and live happily ever after. My family found it amusing. They loved to “good-heartedly” tease me about it. They weren’t coming from a mean place, but that doesn’t make it kind.
My early life is complicated, we can get into that later, but when I talk about my mom, I am talking about my dad’s sister who raised us after he died. I am learning to let go of wishing anything had been different, because I am who I am because of her, and the I wouldn’t trade all the good to have avoided the bad. She’s a great person, the kind who gives up everything to take in two little kids, and there’s no way for her to have known how certain things would affect me. I learned to laugh even when my feelings were hurt because it was worse to “not be able to take a joke”. Inadvertently, I was taught not to acknowledge my feelings if they made others uncomfortable. All we can do is the best we can. I am fortunate because I know the impact “joking around” can have, so one of my top parenting goals is to preserve their self-esteem the best I can. I love the quote:
“Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry.”―
This quote, to me, is everything. Everything I needed and wanted, but couldn’t always get. So now I strive to provide it for my girls. The thing is, actions speak volumes louder than words. I know it is not enough for me to fill their buckets if I am constantly running around with mine empty. If they don’t see me owning who I am and being the best version of me, I am going to fail them. I am constantly letting myself down. I have let myself go. I have never been skinny or completely put together, but since having kids, I’ve given up trying. I don’t want to grow old wishing I hadn’t “let myself go” in the hot-mess sense. I want to “let myself go” in the sense that I live my life to the fullest and am the best me I can be for my husband, my girls, and myself.