Finding the core of my soul

January 29, 2008

I recently thought about people finding themselves.  I wondered how many people actually do.  We have layers and layers of outside influences, which have built up over our lifetimes, and one day we wake up and are completely unaware that the other person (who is the real US) ever existed.

How is it possible to strip away all of the layers of emotional, reactionary person that gets created as we 1) survive childhoods with less-than-perfect families  2) run around building careers and supporting families and 3) live up to everyone else’s expectations of us?  How many people even care?

I think back on my childhood and how I always felt that there was something very very wrong with me.  It wasn’t an outward thing, it was an inward thing.  I remember writing poetry where time and time again I would feel that I was really from some other planet, and had somehow dropped here.  I felt in the core of my being that I somehow wasn’t made of the same stuff as the people I knew.

As I reflect on that now, I realize that my gut feeling as that child was absolutely right.  That wasn’t me.  I was learning to build, on top of the “real” me, a shell of a person who would be able to survive in the world.  I needed to do this to make my parents happy, be acceptable to my friends, and be able to go out into the world and make a living.

I don’t regret any of that because at the time, that’s what I needed to do to survive.  I’m not sure that as a 17 year older, with the intense pressures that were put on me, that I would have ever been enable to do anything short of molding myself into a survivor of the moment.

Now I’m 50 years old, and I’ve been through a lot.  I’ve graduated from college, built up a successful career, have a husband that I love, a home that I also love very much, and I’ve also survived cancer.  All of these things have gradually given me the ability to work on stripping away all of the superficial “me” that has been the survivor.  First I needed to recognize it and go back to the “me” of high school to realize what had happened.  Then I needed to make peace with the circumstances that created that situation.  Now I need to take my mental/spiritual hand and dig deep into myself to see who has been dormant all these years.  I need to grab onto her and pull her out of my soul, out of my core, and nurture her.

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