Every experience in our lives shapes us into the people we are today. I was pondering this the other night and was thinking about the significance of the events in my own life, and the way I perceived and internalized them. Was it the actual event, or the beliefs I adopted ABOUT the event that impacted me? I believe it was my perspective…
I was five years old when I found out that my dad was not my biological father. I was playing outside in my front yard with my neighbor friend, when she said: “your dad is not your real dad. Your real dad didn’t want you…” I remember this incident so clearly. She was just a little girl too, and had no idea the impact it would have. It changed me forever.
I ran inside to my mom and told her what was said. She wrapped me up in a blanket and sat me on her lap. As we sat there rocking in our rocking chair, she confirmed that what my friend said was in fact, true. My dad (the only dad I had ever known to be my dad) had adopted me when he and my mom got married. Finding out the way I did, at that delicate young age, rooted some negative beliefs inside of me. The first was that I was a “fool”. Even though I couldn’t have labeled it that way being that young, it felt like everyone knew, except me. I also adopted the belief that I was “not wanted, that I get left behind and that I was not good enough” Why else wouldn’t my real dad have wanted me?
My mother never said a single negative thing about my bio dad. He was young. He was an accomplished musician and had been traveling the country playing music. He loved me, but he just wasn’t ready… that’s the story I always got. His mother, whom I called Nanny Kathy, always kept in touch with my parents and I, and was a very special part of my life. She always took pictures and I knew that my bio dad watched me grow up through them.
The beliefs that sprung from that day in the front yard, however, would run my life from behind the scenes, well into my adult life.
One night, at 21 years old, I was getting ready to go to a birthday party with my friends, and the phone rang. My bio dad was on the other end of the line. This was the first time I had ever heard his voice. He wanted to fly me to Arkansas. Long story short- his mother, my Nanny Kathy, was dying. She had had stayed in contact with my parents and always been a special part of my life. She wanted me there, but I didn’t make it in time to see her alive. When she died, I went to her funeral in Arkansas. This would be the first time I would meet my bio dad. I stepped off the airplane and looking at the sea of faces, wondered which man could be my father. He recognized me and off we went. It was a very meaningful trip for me and would change the course of my life…
A few years later, I MOVED to Arkansas. I wanted to get to know him better and learn more about who I was. I wanted to be a singer/ songwriter and I was hoping to collaborate with him.
It didn’t take me long to realize that he gave me his nose, his blue eyes and his LOVE for music – but that is all. I would never get his heart, his approval or his love for me.
My bio dad is not emotionally stable. At ALL. One day he would be so proud of me. We would play music together and it would light my whole world up. We would make dinner, have bonfires and go fishing. I loved it so much! The problem was that things could and often would, drastically change. In the next sentence or sometimes the next day, he would be in a rage. He would be angry that I was ever born. He told me multiple times that he never wanted a child and to not come over and not ever call him again. This hurt me deeply. He sought ME out only to bring me into his life and drag my heart through the mud.
I came to a place in my life where I knew I could not allow this to keep happening. It was inconsistent and making me feel crazy. My dad who raised me taught me to never settle for a man who didn’t treat me like gold. And I didn’t – So why did I continue to forgive my bio dad and allow him to put me down and push me away, time after time? I wanted his approval, and I wanted him to love me. I was stuck in an unhealthy cycle and I didn’t know how to break free.
My coaching program really helped me to dive deep into a lot of this internal conflict. I was ready to heal my heart, but I was so angry. I tried to write a letter but it was too long and I would rewrite it too many times.
One day as I sat quiet with myself, and idea came to me. WRITE A SONG! I got my guitar and wrote everything I wanted to say to him in a song. I was living in California at this time. I had the song recorded in studio so I could give it to him on CD. I was so proud of myself because it healed me on such a deep level to write it. I’m always amazed at how our healing shows up! When I flew back to Arkansas, he was in one of his manic rages, and refused to see me. It was mailed to his house from a mile away and by the time he received it, I was gone.
I really needed a new perspective about my bio dad. The emotional triggers he caused were like little hurricanes inside of me. I prayed about it, I meditated on it and was open to a fresh perception of what was happening…
It was a revelation that came on a stormy California day as I walked along the ocean. A simple change in perception that changed my entire way of dealing with all of it. The thoughts were:
If my bio dad had raised me, I would be an emotional train wreck. The biggest gift he EVER could have given me, was giving me up.
This changed the way I looked at the whole situation. I was able to forgive my bio dad for not being able to step up to the plate. I choose not to have a relationship with him today, but I have no hard feelings. I am grateful that I met him. He put music in my heart in more ways than one. Most of all, I’m grateful for my childhood and for the man that raised me. I got so much goodness from him and wouldn’t be who I am today without his strong, committed and very present love.
It’s ALL perspective… things will always happen that are not in our control. We are not responsible for all of our hurts. We are, however, responsible for our healing. I love that there are so many choices… We can pray for insights. We can choose to see the good. We can ask ourselves- “ is THIS how I want to feel right now?”
We can decide when we want to heal our thoughts, our beliefs and our hearts. Healing shows up in such personal ways to each of us. I believe God has our back in ways we can’t even imagine! We have so much more power than we give ourselves credit for… Our perception can always be changed and there is always room to be set free…