I am a different person than I was say, 20 years ago.
I mean besides the obvious differences that are affected by things like age and gravity and too much chocolate (ok, too much chocolate…that’s not actually a thing…..)
I was shy, and quiet, and I really wanted people to like me. I think I tried to change things about myself to suit others, and never thought much about what I actually liked or wanted.
Grade school years weren’t my best. Punctuated with moments of being teased about my clothes, my shoes, my hair, I just didn’t know how to defend myself. I lacked the bitchiness that girls these days seem to need to survive. I didn’t know how to respond to bullies, or people who weren’t exactly bullies, but just wanted to get their way.
I walked away from confrontation, which is not always a bad thing….. but even when I should have defended myself, or my ideas…. I didn’t.
And then, I had my first child.
Suddenly, I had the purpose I lacked. I had someone to fight FOR.
I remember when I realized how much I’d changed…. when my oldest was 3, I came to pick her up at preschool. She was in a large room with most other kids waiting for their parents to come. Seeing me, she got up and hugged some of the friends near her goodbye.
A teacher on the other side of the room yelled out for my child to stop disrupting the kids and stop hugging right now. She was very bitchy about it.
And then I felt the rage. didn’t help that I was pregnant and possibly hormonal.
The old me would have apologized and walked out of there probably angry at that teacher for yelling about something so silly, but more angry at myself for not defending my child.
The new me, the person I had become COULD NOT walk out of there. Not without looking that teacher in the eye, and asking how hugging a friend goodbye was hurting anyone? Was she really going to tell my child that she couldn’t give anyone a hug goodbye!!?? It didn’t seem to disrupt anyone but that teacher.
She stuttered, and backpedaled. And said she was sorry, and of course she could hug her friends. And so she did. My daughter decided that she should probably then hug every damn kid in that room goodbye…..
And so the doormat phase ended….. thanks to my firstborn who taught me not only how to stick up for her because I loved her so damn much, but to love myself too. Because SHE loved me that much. And guess what??? I still love her that much, and more.