Lessons Learned From My Mother’s Schizophrenia.
I can still remember the night I prayed to be “normal.”
I was twelve years old and it was the night before my first day of middle school. I squeezed my palms together and made all sorts of promises to God if he would just make me a normal girl. You know, a girl who laughed easily, chatted about simple things like the popular hairstyles and the kind of guy she would marry, a girl who was soft and gentle.
See, I knew that I had to pray for such things because my weirdness was inherited.
My mother reminded me of that every time I sat down with her at night, wiped the sweat from her nose, and sang her funny little songs to help her ignore the voices that scared her. There were even times when I pretended to hear them, as well. At an early age, I learned that being weird alone could be frightening. But, being weird together could be enjoyable.
I would love to say that after my prayer, I blossomed. I skipped around with the other girls. I played in their hair while we talked about having slumber parties and played games that predicted our future homes and who we’d marry.
But, the odds were not ever in my favor.
I grew even weirder.
Life was not easy and after my mother was deemed an unfit parent, I was bounced from home to home. I was the opposite of chatty. In fact, I only spoke when spoken to. During that time, I read lots of books and imagined myself traveling to far away lands. I read the dictionary. I wrote stories. And, I grew up…weird and alone.
However, my life began to shift when I experienced a change of mindset. Because I loved stories so much, I began to view my own life as a story. But, one that I had complete control over. I would practice telling my story to myself. Sometimes, I would tell it as if it were a joke. Other times, I would make it an empowering adventure. This became one of my favorite things to do! But, to continue this process I had to stand on my story, instead of in it. When you detach yourself from your story a bit and see it for what it really is, this allows you to really appreciate yourself in your fullness.
I looked at my weirdness and saw it as a beautiful cloak that had protected me and kept me safe when I needed most. I also noticed that my cloak was always in season and being rocked by the hottest girls around. The thing is, the people I admired most, always had a special spark about them that was different than others around them. They were working their weird! I had the best gift in the world, this cloak of weirdness. I just hadn’t been working it right.
And that’s when I decided to work my weird.
You work your weird first and foremost by being authentic.
I decided to no longer be silent about my mother’s Schizophrenia. For so long, I was afraid to reveal such to others for fear of judgment. But, once I stood on top of that story and swung my cloak around, I noticed that there were others who were eager to hang out with me and bare their truths as well. Sharing my story was just as important as acknowledging it because once we release ourselves, we have a responsibility to do the same for others.
I acknowledged my strength, thanked it, and released it.
Being a strong woman is an incredible power. It can involve tapping into our masculinity, and doing so has helped me to soar in life and business. I was grateful for this form of strength that helped me to make it through a very tumultuous childhood. But, I no longer needed my strength in that expression. I needed and wanted its equally as powerful feminine form that thrives more from connection and allowing. So, I relaxed into my feminine power, and allowed it to transform into love. Love the hardships, love the people who hurt you, and love the lessons.This is your greatest strength.
I found other weirdos.
This is perhaps one of the best things that I could have ever done. I bought tickets to events like Afest and World Domination Summit. I joined groups on Facebook full of other wild women who were eager to take big leaps in the world. I surrounded myself with those who understood me, people who were unicorns, and who danced around in their capes.
There are so many of us out here. People have different names for us. But, it isn’t the names that matter. It’s the freedom to be seen, heard, and loved for all of you-all of the time-and with ease.
You were chosen to stand out. You were gifted this cloak of weird for a reason. So, go out and work it. And if you have a mom or loved one like mine, be sure to give her a cloak as well. Because the best cloaks are accessorized with forgiveness.
Originally published at medium.com