Sunday, February 22, 2009

You Don't Know Me

You think that you know me. You don't.

You will never know the 23 year old girl. The one who was wailing and crumpled, in a devastated heap, on her parents' kitchen floor. My husband and father had been to the funeral home. They were trying to prepare me for the fact that my baby no longer looked like she did when I last held her. I wanted to die. You don't know me.

You will never know the easily intimidated teenager. The one who was mocked relentlessly as she sat one row in front of the popular "queen bee" during choir. The one who had a chunk of her hair yanked by the queen, just before going on stage for a performance. Why? Because everything in that group had to be the queen's way, or there would be hell to pay. I was scared. I didn't tell anyone. You don't know me.

You will never know the insecure pre-teen girl. The one who was slammed up against a locker and grabbed, in a way you pray your daughter never is. My parents addressed the incident with the principal, and were told, "boys will be boys". I was humiliated. You don't know me.

You will never know the little girl. The one who was surrounded by people who loved her. The one who was told she was talented and beautiful, and never believed a word of it. The one who had protectors everywhere she went and was still afraid of everything, and most everyone. You don't know me.

You see only parts of me. You do not know the sum of these parts, the sum that makes me who I am. But not knowing makes it easier for you, doesn't it? So much easier to judge me, to look down condescendingly. What you don't understand is that your judgements make me stronger. So, I thank you. Your judgements remind me of why it is that I care so little about what others think of me. What you don't understand is that taking heat is my norm. I am comfortable standing in the refiner's fire. Because, my only other options are retreating or constantly fretting because I can't make everyone happy. So, I'll take the heat because at least I know it's molding me into more of the woman I am meant to be.

You see the part of me who loves God. The one who knows Jesus Christ is her Savior. Does that make you uncomfortable? Would you like for me to apologize? I won't. Just like I don't expect you to apologize for your beliefs and views. I will openly share what I believe. I will never apologize or be ashamed of my beliefs. But you should know I'm not attempting to convince you to believe as I do. I would like for you to understand what I believe, but I honestly could not care less if you choose to personally believe as I do or not. Here is where I put myself in jeopardy. If I did care that you believe just as I do, and if I tried to convince you of what I believe, you would be unhappy with me. By not caring if you believe as I do, there will be some who are disappointed, and unhappy with me. Did I mention taking the heat is my norm?

A part of me that you see is the realist. I believe in our search for answers to "why", we read too much of our own wants and needs into life's events. I do not believe for one second that God "gave" my daughter Trisomy 18. What I believe is that we live in a world ruled by laws of nature. Laws of nature that God put in place. Biology happened, and my baby ended up with three number 18 chromosomes instead of two. Do I believe that God could have intervened and given us a miracle? Absolutely. Am I angry and bitter that He did not? No, but I was for many long years. Do I understand why God intervenes sometimes, and other times He doesn't, making it seem as though He has left us alone? No, I don't understand. I don't understand why some planes crash, and others land safely. I don't believe the people on the safely landed plane were more faithful, prayed harder, or were better people. The most mind-boggling and strange thing is, I have come to great peace after years of turmoil. Peace in not understanding. Peace in finding out for myself that not having all of the answers is really okay. You think this makes me weak, misguided, or even crazy? You don't know me.

You see the part of me who is passionate about politics and government. Some agree with my opinions. And those who don't agree? Some of them believe I am cold, cruel, ignorant, etc. That I am only adding to the nastiness of politics, that if I would just bend in my beliefs the world would be a better place. There are issues that I will not bend on, I just won't. I also believe there are a countless number of gray areas in this life; therefore, I can compromise. But just because there are certain times that I will not bend, doesn't mean I am lacking compassion, or that I don't care about people. My opinions are based on my experiences, no one else's. Not compassionate? You don't know me.

There are times that I will use the word idiot to describe Pelosi or Reid. But, there will also be times I use that word to describe Republicans. I have little tolerance for the elitists, holed up on the Hill, making poor choices that impact the rest of us. Senators? Representatives? Ha! I would like to know of even one who has lived a life like yours or mine. I don't care what their party affiliation is, if they make a choice I view as stupid, I'm going to say I think it's stupid. Unfortunately, a large number of our leading politicians (on both sides of the aisle) are corrupt! Corruption, greed, a hunger for power....those are really the issues. (And I can promise you that if Pelosi and Reid come up with something that doesn't jeopardize my core values and makes practical sense, I will support them in that effort.) Agreeing just for the sake of making life look pretty is not something I find comfortable. It's fake and idealistic. There are times when we have to stand up and disagree, while treating one another with civility. Calling a few politicians idiot doesn't mean I am uncivil. It means I'm real. Don't want to make this world a better place? You don't know me.

I don't come to this spot in hopes of having my ego fed (that's why I teach preschool...those kids love me), nor do I intend on feeding lemmings. I am unlocking my silence, no one else's. In this journey, becoming the woman I am meant to be, there will be no retreating and no fretting. I am happy. I am content. I have found my peace. May you find yours as well.


Rachel T. said...

I wish people would just realize that they cannot all be as great as the Queen of Blogs. That as much as they want to, they will never be able to amount to the life experience, the know how, and the unbelievable character that you have Natalie. People judge because they don't know. But you are right, they do not know you, the depths of your soul, they do not know the experiences you have had. You are amazing, never stop what you do. You have no idea how many people you impact, but in a POSITIVE way.

Laretha said...

natalie - you are amazing, that much I know about you. I love how you say you are happy to stand in the 'refiners fire'. really beautiful.

Carly Marie said...

You are real and that is what I love about you.

I respect you because you are honest.

Keep writing your truth.

love love love

em said...

i think for the first time in my life i am finally starting to love myself. i remember my family telling me how beautiful i was, but i never really believed it myself. why is that? as i've searched and searched to find out who i really am and to love me for me (no strings attached) i've often wondered if there are other women that experienced the same thing. why do people not talk about this? besides red lipstick (as you know) being one of my resolutions, my main constant resolution the past three years has been "be honest." honest with others, but most importantly, honest with self. you gave me a little more motivation to hold my chin up high and i love you for it!
btw, when you have tens of thousands of readers to your blog please make sure to keep in touch, you're my blog bestie!!!;-)
hoping those cookies get there soon:-)
love emily

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

I'm praying that whatever evil lurking on your blog, warranting these posts, eases up on you.
Thank you for your honesty. You and I probably agree more often than not. But, I promise when I disagree, I will do so with respect. If I don't, call me on it.

emily and adrian said... and your words.

KC Mom said...

I've never felt like you try to shove your opinions down another. I've always felt that you have done well in letting people know these are your words and your thoughts. What I know about you is your heart and you mean what you I know you are up for the refiners fire. Keep unlocking the silence no matter what.

Aubrey said...

I agree with what Cheryl said :)

Sue said...

I had a feeling the snipers were back among us again when I read your last post. Now I'm certain.

I'm glad you took the time to put all of this out there because sometimes it's important to speak your piece, even to those who don't deserve to hear it.

Just remember, on those occasions when your pearls (cast before swine) get trampled, that they are still pearls, and that the vast majority of your readers both recognize and appreciate their luster.

I, for one, can see those things glowing all the way from my blog! (No wonder I and more than a few others are attracted over here every day!!)

Hugs to you...


Gretchen said...

Really good. I'm glad you continue to stand up for what you believe. I wish those who are judging could realize they can't possible know you...

Thank you for continuing to unlock your silence.

Anonymous said...

Good for you!

I don't know you,
but this post makes me wish I did, regardless of our similarities or differences.

mom said...

Well, seeing as how this is YOUR blog and seeing as how one can choose to read or not read (that is THEIR question)...then I think YOU should just keep turning the key that unlocks your silence!

Oh please....who really wants to sit around holding hands, singing "Kumbayah?" This is the best part of life...debate! Makes people smarter, think more..proof, pinheads don't know how to do it! Makes them either mad or nervous!

Attention Snarky nay-sayers: (I know you are out there, lurking in the keyboards)
"Hate the game....don't hate the player." (cause SHE is GOOD)!

For the SHOULD have told a lot of people about "Queenie" (THEN)..I would have ripped her royal freakin' stinger out!!!!!!

Micheline said...

I may not know you - buy I do know that I choose to read your blog - just as you choose to write it. Choices. We all have them every minute of every day. I wish I did know you personally. Your words have made me stop and think about myself and who I am and how strong I am or can be. Thanks for that. BTW - I found your blog from your guest blogging on Light Refreshments served. It was one of the best finds (your blog) that I have ever made!

karen said...

Did I miss something?? All I can say is that, you are much more articulate at voicing political opinions than I am, and I'm in awe of how, time after time, it's EXACTLY what I would have said myself if I could have organized the thoughts. My mind doesn't usually run in the political vein, although I'm more aware every day of the need to educate myself, form an opinion, and be willing to speak out. I think we all have experiences and sorrows that give us our depth of character, and force us to grow. Hopefully it's in a positive direction. Getting involved in these discussions helps me think, form my own opinions, and feel more strongly about them. Thanks for saying the things you do. You are clear and focused. The others are only a loud, annoying noise.

jen said...

Someone must have really ruffled your feathers to motivate that post.
Although I can't say that I always agree with everything you say (good for me, because I guess that would make me a lemming, huh?), I do love your perspective and how it helps me refine my own.
Keep it up, keep in touch, and keep strong.

little jill said...

Crap, I have a really good quote for you, that I heard somewhere that I think was from a president, except i never wrote it down.

But assured--it was a goodie

and posts down the road, if I remember it, then I'll post it

As for your youth--YIKES. That sucks.

xoxo Jill

caitsmom said...

Wow, Natalie. Your post was so revealing. I think it's always interesting how when we look within and focus on self, we end up opening ourselves in ways that serve others. This post seems to do that. I love your take on being strengthened by the judgements of others. I don't know that I could do that, but it's worth exploring!!! (((hugs)))

Dennis and Cherise said...

Natalie, Wow is all I can say. I love you and have always loved your sprit ever since I met you. So yes, of course I remember you. This post made me cry because I know I have always had feelings like that but I have never been brave enough to let them out. For often times I do care too much about what others think. I have peaked in on your blog a few times and I am always in awe at how you express yourself. I have very strong feelings how the election turned out, but I am scared to voice my opinion because the person that I disagree with is now my husband's boss. I will defiantly have to keep up with your blog more often. Hugs

Amy said...

You are awesome. Thank you for your example and for not being afraid to speak up! I also lost my first baby...she was still born at 37 weeks due to a cord accident. It was about 6 weeks ago. She is my first and my only baby right now and we can't hold her. Its hard but I find hope in people like you that have endured and who do have other children and keep on living life. Thank you.


Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

I, too, have found peace in not understanding. It is actually a gift, not one most of us would ask for...but a gift just the same. There is a freedom in trusting God...even when you don't understand.

Diva Queen said...

Nat,there is so much u and I have never been able to share because our lives went in separate directions. I cherish the day that I get to see my beautiful, wonderful and amazing best friend again. U were my best friend in school and I still consider u best! Love u always!!!