Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Coming to the Crossroads

The more you surrender to the fear of someone’s disapproval, the more
you lose face in your own eyes, and the more desperate you become for
someone’s approval.  Within you is a void that should have been filled by
self-esteem.  When you attempt to fill it with the approval of others instead,
the void grows deeper and the hunger for acceptance and approval grows
stronger.  The only solution is to summon the courage to honor your own
judgment, frightening though that may be in the beginning.
Nathaniel Branden
There comes a time in everyone's  life when they need to slow down and reflect on the roads they have walked down, both the unpaved roads that cause one to question the choices made and the gifts we have been provided with along the way. We've all come upon crossroads at one time or another...that point in our lives that a decision must be made or a direction must be decided upon.   Today is the Day of Hecate at the Crossroads, and as I was writing the post for my other blog, I took pause to think of all the Crossroads I have faced in this journey of my life....all the decisions...both good and bad...the paths taken that made me who I am today....

...like walking into school on my 18th birthday, boldly saying to the principal, "You can't do anything to me.  I'm 18 now.  I quit."  Oh,  did I ever think I was big and bad and all grown up, but do you know what?  That was the wrong path, indeed, but one path that could be and  was rectified later in life when I obtained  my GED, my degree in Criminal Justice, and my CASAC training.   I guess I must have been a rebel just as the doctor had said, but I had so much anger in me back then...anger at my mom and dad for not being there for me....at mom for her hurtful words.  You're going to end up a fat old drunk like your father.  Although I can still hear them in my head, they don't hurt me anymore. They are no longer a part of my life.  I am not that person she said I was; I never was.  my rebellion was reaching out for attention the only way I knew how.  And, now that I am older, I know she didn't really mean it.  She was so unhappy with her life that she took it out on me...just as I quit school to get even with her.

Shortly thereafter, I moved out to live with a friend and her family.  Bad decision, but also rectified.  I didn't last long there before I moved back home.  Talk about dysfunctional families.  It was the divorced mom, my friend, and her sister.  Mom did nothing but drink and smoke cigarettes and encourage her girls to kick people's butts.   Fighting was never my bag....

....so I stayed at home for several years...working in factories....listening to mom harp on if you wait much longer to get married, no one is going to want you.  I was only in my early 20's.  I worked, cooked for them, cleaned the house, did the laundry...why, I even took care of the yard work....but it was never ever enough for my mom.  She always seemed to find fault....

....and so it was that several years later I found myself at another crossroad in my life. I was stagnating.  The one man I had thought I might settle down with had died, and even if I had wanted to settle down, there was not much left to choose from.  Mom had been right in that respect.   The time had come for me to make a decision....stay put, get married to someone I really didn't love and become a Stepford Wife like all of my friends...or venture out into the world and start a new life, in a new place....and nothing bigger and better than New York City.  Oh, I was such a free spirit back then!  No fear.  $200 in my pocket and two changes of clothes.  That's all I brought with me.  It wasn't easy.  Many wrong paths may have been taken, but for all the bad decisions I made, all the wrong turns...all eventually led to  the right path because right now I am where I need to be, where I am supposed to be. ...and, yes, one day I will face those crossroads again and have to choose between living in the city and going for a more peaceful kind of life...and, of course, with no more wild oats to sow, a home in the country will win....  

I am no longer that young woman craving adventure for I've grown, oh so much wiser with age.  The risks I took when I was young, those unpaved roads with their unexplored nooks and crannies, they are better left to the young....
I do remain haunted by reflections of that brave young woman I once was, that girl with a wandering spirit and a restless soul, who wasn't afraid to take chances and  never looked back once a decision was made. Thank you for letting me share.

 I do not ask to walk smooth paths
Nor bear an easy load.
I pray for strength and fortitude
To climb the rock-strewn road.

Give me such courage I can scale
The hardest peaks alone,
And transform every stumbling block
Into a steppingstone.
--Gail Brook Burket--


  1. life is like a labyrinth i guess, some wrong turns but in the end we find our way, or at least i hope

  2. You have had to make some hard choices, but I am glad you made it and are feeling good with everything.

  3. You are much more braver than I ever was.
    Glad you found your way and are content at heart now. :0)

  4. you were/are so brave! I look back on some of my path choices and cringe.. i am working on those now with my soul counsellor. a fantastic post once again xoxo
    love the poem :)

  5. I love that you share your story with us. It really is an inspiration. You've come so far and had so many obstacles that you got past. Your strength is a beautiful thing Mary!

  6. A couple of nights ago I was thinking about all of the different roads, good and bad that I have taken. (One of our son's is taking a really rough road.) But, like you say, it's what has made us into who we really are. I guess that this will make him into who he is going to be. Thank you Mary....