As I was driving this afternoon I heard a pop song (top 40s song, what the kids are listening to, whatever you want to call it). I don’t even remember what it was and certainly don’t know who it was by. But I liked it and it resonated with me. Then I realized that more than a song that I just love now it was more of a song I would’ve loved in high school. And I smiled. And I thought, “But I’m not that girl anymore.” And though there was a twinge of sadness at that thought it was more of a relief. I like not being that girl anymore. I like being this girl. This woman. That seems so far removed from not only that high school girl of nearly 20 years ago, but even the girl who started this blog just a few short years ago. Though I’m more her than that silly teenager, I still barely recognize either of them. So much growth, so much maturity, yet still so far to go.
Adding to the thoughts about who I used to be in contrast to who I am now is the fact that my parents are going through a very ugly, very messy divorce (are any of them pretty and clean?) I feel like I have come to a place that I can talk about it. I still do it delicately, with kid gloves, and walking lightly on egg shells. But I’m through covering it up and I’m through pretending it isn’t really happening. Because it is. And because it is so particularly ugly I went to court on Monday to defend my father’s honor. I’ve chosen sides (don’t all children have to?) I’ve chosen the side I have based on the facts of the divorce and the untruths being told. Court almost undid me. I count it as one of the top worst days of my life. But I survived. Along with that survival I’ve also endured some allegations of my own through this whole horrid process. Some bold lies (such as I once tried to attack someone – really? Me? I have a temper, I yell, but never once have I ever attempted to attack or harm anyone, even in the group home when my very life was being physically threatened).
One of the other allegations brought up against me is that I’m a sinner. Oh if it only weren’t so. I wish, I try, I hope to not be. But I am. Every single stinkin’ day of my life. I sin. And I mourn that sin and I ask forgiveness and I cry and I begin again. Never have I ever thought that I am above sin.
One of those sins, if you will, one of those components of the girl I used to be was that I am bipolar and off my meds. I’ve mentioned this before here. I was definitely diagnosed as bipolar and put on some very heavy meds as a teenager. Did I believe that I was bipolar at the time? Yes. It’s what was told to me, it’s what I was convinced of, it’s what I was medicated for. Am I bipolar? Absolutely not. I have taken no meds for bipolarness since I was a young 20s. I’ve never once had an issue with it since those rough couple of years where I was attempting to transition out of my house and into the real world. I was young, I was confused, I came from a difficult home where everything I believed was through a lens my mother colored. But with that label given so easily when I was a mere 17 years old has come much anguish for years. I’m still portrayed as that girl. The one with the mental illness. The one who doesn’t take her meds. Along with the defense of who I really am, I beg you as parents to think twice (or a hundred times) before testing, labeling, and medicating your child for anything. Yes, there really are illnesses that medications can help. And yes, I’ve struggled with some postpartum issues and taken some mild low dose antidepressants off and on. But I just warn you, what you may be giving as a label to help you, may very well hurt your child for years to come. Especially when doctors are quick to scribble a prescription and a clean cut diagnosis. Just know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and allow your child to be a child, then allow them to be an adult. As one of those misdiagnosed, mislabled children, I beg that of you.
And one of those other sins of mine that was brought up is my promiscuity. Oh, not now, mind you. I like my husband too much for any of that. But the allegations go back to when I was young. My late teens, my early 20s. Oh to take those years back. To get back what the locusts have eaten. But I can’t. There they are. There they remain. In many a person’s memory. It gave me pause when I joined Facebook and my high school acquaintances’ friend requests started rolling in. Did I really want to friend them? What would they think of me? Would they believe that I, the girl I used to be, had truly turned her life around and become this? A mom of many who adores her husband, doesn’t party, tries to serve her God, accepts the salvation of her Christ, and strives to be an upright person each day? Would they believe it? But it’s what actually drove me to accept those invites. I wanted them to see who I’ve become. Who God through Jesus Christ is making me to be. When I let Him. Deep down I longed for those far away friends to know that I’m not that girl they thought they once knew.
Was I promiscuous? Yes. Once upon a time that I’ve prayed to forget. I’ve talked about it here before. It’s tucked away in the archives of this blog and the recesses of my mind. But I feel so removed from that girl that I don’t think about her often. Except when a lilting angst ridden song comes along. Or when someone brings it up to rub my nose in it. But you know what? I deserve it. It is my crap. It is my past. It was my actions. And with my actions comes the responsibility to do something with it. I’ve worked through those times. I’ve been forgiven for those times. And I’ve even forgiven them. It was a long time ago. And I’m not that girl anymore.
I’m this girl. This woman. And I like her. For the most part.
She still has a long way to go, but she sure has come a long way. And I’m grateful.