"I had never fit in no matter how hard I'd tried. I just had to be adopted. There was no way I could be a biological part of the family I was living with!" These were my innermost thoughts, maybe even my hopes, for years. I wasn't like my cousins, didn't follow the rules easily, hated taking care of my baby brother, and constantly received a "D" in deportment. Yet I stayed out of any big trouble. On the other hand, maybe I was just crazy.
Looking back, I wonder how I got through it. I tried locking myself in my bedroom just to have quiet time and read. But that wasn't allowed. I was never alone. And I couldn't seem to meet the expectations of my family. I didn't even clean the sink well enough! A young girl in my era had to be a good cook, housekeeper, and hopefully, a good wife. I didn't want to get married, but I couldn't identify any other alternatives for me. I was totally alone.
Eventually I gave in and married someone my parents approved of. I gave birth to three children in three years. I decorated and painted the walls, cooked the meals, and baked the cookies. The good wife and mother.
Salvation appeared in the form of a hobby, albeit against my husband's wishes. Acting. There were few rules. You could be someone else, someone new. It was not only an outlet but also a way out. Over a two-year period, I planned my escape from the abusive environment. When I did escape, it was only about a mile away, but it felt great. For a while, that is.
Two more years of ignorance, uncertainty, and abuse came and went. The great escape appeared and, although I was terrified, I grabbed it! My golden opportunity—California! And yet I was vilified by family members. No one got divorced, let alone moved away from the family. In some ways they didn't feel like my family because I didn't perceive love and acceptance for who I was and what I was doing. They said I was eccentric. Maybe I was!
I see now that my "hobby" and move to California were spurts of the creativity and desire I had within me, but had not been aware of. I was unaware for a long time. I now know that what I had done was adapt in order to fit in. I know the constant adapting made me unhappy, unfulfilled, and tired. But I just sucked it up and did what I had to do to survive and provide for my children.
Burnout wasn't quite the word years ago that it is today. I did it more than once. Got married a second time and was back where I did not belong. Got out of that, but with a great sense of loss. Where did I go wrong? Who was I that nothing worked out?
It's not that I didn't enjoy any part of my life. There were some good periods of time. Those were the peaks. It was in the valleys where the questions, depression, and losses accumulated. Getting out of each successive valley took greater and greater amounts of energy and desire. I had little of each as time kept rushing by.
Then came another in the long string of mini-salvations. A friend asked me to co-facilitate a workshop. Thus began the era of any and every type of bodywork, consciousness raising work, Tibetan Buddhism, and presenting and attending a multitude of seminars/workshops in the ongoing search for self.
As luck would have it, I met a new person and we became instant friends. She mentioned Arlene Taylor and her workshops and I was on my way. Arlene Taylor's seminar (The Brain Program) was a tremendous eye opener. I was virtually vibrating in my seat from the minute it started. I was home!
The integration of all aspects of my life within the context of her brain-function information has blown me away! Integrating who I now know myself to be is a challenge, but one I can handle.
Someone asked how I was going to apply what I had learned in Arlene's workshop. My response was that I now knew I wasn't crazy. What an enormous relief! I also said that each day was new, inviting, maybe scary, but I had the rest of my life to truly find out how to live well using my innate giftedness (e.g., thinking process preference for using the right frontal lobe, auditory sensory preference, introverted brain).
The benefits have been coming since day one. They don't stop. Learning new ways of being in the world, in my work, with my friends, and with myself is a daily adventure. I'm not crazy. Never have been! And no, I'm not adopted. Just unique!
Note: Joanne Victoria, Coach/Consultant/Speaker/Mentor/Writer, works with entrepreneurs, executives, and independent professionals who want to simplify their lives in order to create more balance, more clarity, and more creativity in their lives. Contact information: