I began my life just like everyone else, I was born innocent and shaped by my family. From there I experienced a thing called “life” and that life took me on a journey. On that journey there were many life experiences that shaped my life like water shapes a river bed. What I didn’t know was that there were many unforeseen things that were continually shaping my journey until one day I woke up and realized that maybe the journey needs to be re-routed for my own survival. This is the truth that I would tell myself as young, hungry girl that was desperately in search of purpose, love, adventure, identity, and self-acceptance. I would start by saying that despite what life puts in your path-always be authentic. Authenticity is something you feel and may not be able to express. Let the unspoken spark of truth guide you.
“There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.” ~Jennifer Aniston
In order to be authentic, I must say all the things I was not told.
I was never told that I, as a girl, could do and be anything I desired as a career or hobby without permission to act upon what was put in MY heart from birth. Or, that I could reach for the stars, jump off the moon, and play with fire because some girls are capable of protecting themselves from the heat of danger. I was never told that women could be more than housewives, caretakers, PTA sponsors, school campus busy-bodies and know-it-alls, and more importantly something instead of potential adulterers, man-supporters, and background eye-candy. I was never told to follow my heart as a writer. I was never told that school was a privilege not a burden or that college was an option. I was never told to find a passion and relentlessly pursue it until, one day, it became the essence of who I was. I was never told I don’t have to search for the white-picked-fence and Prince Charming. I was never told that being different was clever or that diverting from the mundane cycles of what “you should do as an adult ‘ would help me grow more as a woman and mother.
Obviously, I did not have the best home life. I lived in chaos. I lacked a mentor and a supportive role model. Lacking guidance was a detriment to my young soul back then, but it is what fed the creative wild fires of my life. I created the world I wanted to be a part of, even when I had to re-writer the script everyday due to continual learning.
No Regrets! I Know Better Now
Fast forward to today, I am a single-sober mom who has had to raise two teenage daughters from scratch. I’ve had the opportunity to make several mistakes, live authentically, embrace hardship, and triumph over life’s most challenging circumstances. I have no regrets for changing my plans from happily-ever-after to a single sober mom. I have no regrets for getting divorced-twice. I have no regrets for changing my mind. I have no regrets for choosing a job over a career so that I can be 100% available for my daughters when they need me so that when they get older they wont need me as much. I have no regrets for wearing my heart on my sleeve and crying when I am angry. I have no regrets for learning to say NO! And, I have no regrets for not knowing what I didn’t know.
As for my girls, I have told them all the things I wanted to hear as a young girl. I stay up late to answer any questions they have about life without filters. We have long talks about fears and even longer conversations about boys. I will never candy-coat the truth or dissuade them from embracing the pains of learning valuable life lessons. I tell them to never fold under the pressure of fitting into a boxes or shapes, but instead to create their own space to grow, love, and live authentically. I tell them to never be pressured by “they said I should” and do not seek validation from someone who doesn’t know who you are. I tell them to let love come find you and do not ever give away something you do not have to give. I tell them to say what they mean, mean what they say, but say it nicely. I tell them to be bold, brave, courageous and kind, but also strong, determined, and confident without being a snotty bitch because it is very unattractive to be ugly. And most importantly, mistakes are normal and failing is just an illusion. And what I say to the world is this:
“I do not want to be labeled as “just a mom” or that I am an “emotional woman” or a woman whose life is directed by fear of rejection or built form the idea of failure. What I know now is that sometimes it is in failing that we find our most authentic success.” ~Rebecca L. Edwards