It's the holidays, which always makes me a bit sentimental. Perhaps it's because I miss certain faces from back home, or how much I'm beginning to realize just how long I had been living in embittered victim mode. But as I sit here, next to my Charlie Brown Christmas tree and unable to sleep, I know that I am still a Lucky Girl. And for the longest time (I'm talking decades)- I let one man terrorize my perception on every person and every situation.
I was for so long under the impression that he killed whatever was loveable in me. My father left me a broken shell of a girl - ugly, torn, refuse. And I have been helplessly holding hostage this notion that all I could ever be was what he left me. I put myself out there with the serrated edges somewhat exposed so no one could shatter me further. And then it occurred to me that for all these years I had been giving him power. It was actually a strange realization. Listening to a stand-up comedian one night discussing women with father issues, I no longer wanted to be the subject of that joke. I thought, "Oh shit. My self-esteem is at the level of being so pathetic it has become comedic fodder."
But I can't blame my father anymore. I'm no longer twelve. I haven't even seen him in nine years. It's time to let the fog of the past go; and build my self-worth on what I've accomplished, the family I have that loves me, my incredible friends who put up with me - breathe life back into myself. I look at my tattoo as a reminder that I never have to be somewhere I don't want to be. I may be small, but I cannot be contained.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for finally starting to grow the fuck up and learning to be a stronger person. As I go into the holiday season, I will remind myself daily that I am lucky to have a family that supports me, old friends who continue to make me smile, new friends who have welcomed me to the wonderful city of Chicago, and a chance to start over.