I made a list of as many activities and interests I had in my childhood and teen years after listening to a podcast on life purpose. I found a couple things I enjoyed with my parents (baking with my mom and working out with my dad) that ended with their violent deaths. My grandmother blasted everything else I loved: the beauty industry, the entertainment industry, the fashion industry, hypnotherapy, reading and writing, not to mention my body, my connection to my extended family, my education, my feelings and my likelihood of marriage and family as an adult. She vetoed everything without ever steering me toward, or even suggesting, anything else. That created a very shaky foundation for adult success.
I also asked myself what kind of a person I am. I remember my grandmother and my great aunt saying, "But you're not a 'gentle treasure,'" after asking for a cheap toy with those words printed on it. I remember reading a novel called Garden of Lies, which inspired my grandmother to accuse me of being a liar. I remember proudly sharing my own made up stories with my other grandmother, only to be warned against lying. I remember my grandmother always conveniently having "high blood pressure" whenever I asserted or advocated for myself. I remember being blasted for earning an expensive education and for taking time for self-care. I remember hiding in the bathroom to exercise and wearing girdles around the house so my grandmother couldn't "pinch an inch." I remember being warned as a very young girl never to try alcohol or gambling because I would never stop if I ever started. I remember my grandmother being pleased with herself for breaking me.
I remember evenings spent drinking stale, over steeped tea while listening to jazz or world music. I remember reading and writing by flashlight. I remember shining in my fiction and poetry writing workshops, and keeping that all secret. I remember iced tea and fruit tarts and French baguette with Brie with the girls. I remember stealing kisses with young men I never saw again. I remember wearing garter belts and stockings to school. I remember taking many, many bus trips to the beach, the mall and the movies. I remember using a pay phone to check in at home. I remember having a secret life that I no longer consciously remember.
In Alameda before Belle, I was called greedy, entitled, selfish, suspicious, distrustful, conceited, lazy, insecure, unstable and ostentatious because I had moved to a new town alone and could take care of myself. I could walk into a room well dressed, with my hair and makeup done, and hear someone ask me to take it all off or leave. I could clear a room by walking in. I could accept an invitation and be later asked not to bother even showing up, lest I be thrown out. I have practically been bullied out of here as an adult, by other adults. As a sad result, I have stopped allowing things to manifest. I have stopped being carefree and confident. I have swapped faith with fear. I have never felt so shaken. Who am I? What am I most passionate about? How can I make a significant contribution while being accepted as my authentic self, when that authentic self likes eating, living indoors and wearing finer fabrics ?