Can You See The Real Me

This blog was originally posted on PositivelyPositive.com

That’s the nice thing about being human. We only have one life, but we can choose what kind of story it’s going to be.” ― Rick RiordanThe Hidden Oracle

What do you see when you look at people? Do you notice their clothing, or whether or not they have a designer bag? Do you notice their face or their hair? What assumptions do you make? Do you ever stop to wonder how the person got to where they are in life?

As a suburban mother, wife and yoga teacher; I don’t have a particularly fascinating life, at least not on the surface. If you spent the day with me you would watch me wake up early, go to the gym, make breakfast, take the kids to school, bring my hubby to the train station, teach yoga, walk our dog, run errands, pick the kids up from school, transport children to and from activities, make dinner, watch tv, go to bed. That’s what you would see.  And I admit, it might look a little mundane.

But what if you knew what it took for me to create this life? Or how I cherish every “mundane” moment? What if you knew the back story?

If you were to watch me teach yoga, would you ever guess that my father sold me into childhood prostitution? If you see me kiss my children goodbye when they get out of the car,  would you guess that my mother gave me away, not once, but twice? If you were in my kitchen watching me make dinner would you notice the look of gratitude on my face because I’m safe in my home, with my husband and children and I have food to make for them? Would you see the look that passes across my face during the moments I’m reminded of what happened to me? Probably not, and that is by design.

A therapist once remarked to me; “Women who have similar experiences as yours usually end up as drug addicts or prostitutes, you should be happy.” While I’m not a huge fan of this therapist setting my bar so low, I do appreciate where I could have ended up vs. where I brought myself.

I’ve earned every safe, peaceful, mundane moment. @lockeym (Click to Tweet!)

It took time and a strong commitment to myself, eventually I learned the past will never go away. It will always be there in the background. I can either fight it and make it, and thus, my life wrong. Or I can pause, reflect on the journey; what it took for me to find and honor myself in the mess that I was living in. I get to choose how to interact with my past. It took years for me to accept and make peace with my circumstances. I always try to remind myself, if it weren’t for my past, I would not be where I am today. I might not be able to appreciate my so called “mundane” life.

These days when I encounter folks, I try to focus on them, not what they have or don’t have or how they look or don’t look. I just wonder; “what’s their story?” Then I offer space for them to open up.