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.