There were so many great speakers at the WOF Conference. Many of us laughed and cried together.
I never even heard of some of these people, but boy am I a fan now. I really enjoyed Patsy Clairmont. She is so funny. And I grew up watching Lisa Whelchel on The Facts of Life so it was really great to hear her speak.
All of these women spoke from their heart, but Lisa really spoke TO my heart. She spoke about her childhood, "growing up" on TFOL, and her adulthood. She spoke about feeling disconnected from her family. She also spoke about all women needing to find that special friend that we can share everything with. That friend who supports you through everything you are going through in life. That friend who listens to you, encourages you, laughs with you , cries with you, gives you a safe place to go when life is getting you down. You get the point. Right? And of course you do the same for her.
Well as she was speaking about all of this I was thinking about my life. I definitely didn't have the challenges in my life that Lisa did. But I did have things happen to me that shaped who I am today.
Warning--this might be more than you care to know about me. LOL
My parents divorced when I was in 2nd grade. My mom's family and my dad's family all lived very close to each other. But my dad moved three hours away to another state. My sister and I were to spend every other weekend with my dad, but because of his work schedule and the distance he would have to drive we spent this time with my dad's parents instead. I became very close to my grandparents.
My dad's side of the family (with the exception of my dad) were Christians and would go to church every Sunday. My mom's side of the family were not religious at all and never went to church. When I would go to church with my grandparents I felt very uncomfortable and did not like it much. I always viewed my mom's side of the family as being "fun".
Since I had two very different sides of the family and I wanted love and acceptance from both I felt like I needed to be what each side wanted me to be. I felt like two different people (actually three if you count the person I had to be when I went to visit my dad and step mom). With my mom's family I could be more of the me I thought I wanted to be. I didn't feel like I had to try as hard because they lived like we did. But when I went to my grandparents house I felt like that me wasn't good enough. I had to be better and because I wanted their love I felt myself behaving differently when I was with them. This would make me very tense, always trying so hard to please everyone. I remember times when I would go home after a weekend with my grandparents and just explode on my mom. I felt like I had to be perfect all weekend and once I got home I had to let loose. My poor mother. I spent so much time worrying about what others thought of me. I was afraid to do anything wrong for fear that they wouldn't love me anymore. I can't really recall ever being "carefree" as a child.
Now after hearing all of this you would think that my safe haven was my home. That at home I could be the "real me" whatever that is. But that really isn't the case either. My mom remarried when I was in 4th grade and the man she chose just happened to be an alcoholic. When he was drunk he was not a nice man. He would verbally and at times physically abuse my mother. She stayed with him because she felt like she could not raise two children on her own. (She finally divorced him when I was in 11th grade.) So you see my home was not the safe haven it should have been. I remember having a handful of friends growing up that I enjoyed spending time with, but it was always at their houses. None of my friends wanted to come to my house to play because of my step dad.
Because of all of this (and some things having to do with my sister that I won't get into today) I have become what some people call a "people pleaser". I hate conflict. I just want everyone to get along. I hate to see someone hurting. If someone is hurting I want to go to them and let them know that I am there for them. But I find myself holding back at times. Still worrying about what other people would think about me.
Kurt and I became Christians in 1998. The funny thing is now I am so much closer to my dad's family. I get it now. I understand why I felt like I needed to be better when I was with them. Because when you are living for Christ you make different choices. You want your life to glorify God. You want to be better.
I planned this post to be all about that special friend Lisa was talking about. But I feel a little drained from sharing so much so I will make another post about that tomorrow.