I am thankful today for my warm house, my beautiful and healthy children, and support from those around me. I just opened up my new shop late last night (or early this morning, depending on how you look at it) on Etsy – something that has been in the making for nearly two years now, but kept being interrupted by life. Perhaps a better way to see it is not as being interrupted, but rather “punctuated”.
Punctuation is what guides and defines a piece of writing. Although I make no claims to being an excellent writer or heeding most “rules”, I can at least apply enough grammatical sense to take my jumbled words and give them a meaning.
In the past two years since I began to dream about starting my shop, many things have changed in my life – tangible things like having a second child, job changes, and moving, but also things that tend to go unseen like conviction, focus, relationships, and habits. Some of these delays in starting my shop caused me to feel like I was failing and I would only ever talk about my dreams and never pursue them. In the end, I found that these delays helped me to hone in on what I really wanted to do and I gained a greater desire to do it. So in many ways, even the things I choose to make and share with others are only what they are today, because of the way my life has been “punctuated.”
One of the ways I proofread myself and try to figure out where to put punctuation is by reading what I have written out-loud and placing the (hopefully) appropriate dots and squiggles to help convey how I am saying what I am writing.
My husband and I find ourselves doing this with our life. We will have long conversations reflecting on seasons of life we have gone through and try to see what we have learned through the experiences and situations we endured. Sometimes we decide these things as they are happening, but many times we find these moments hidden under emotions and perceptions when something in us we hadn’t noticed before was defined, and a little period or comma or underline is seared into our memory. And even this may change as time passes and we reflect once again, or we understand ourselves from another person’s point of view.
Although I don’t remember exactly when this happened, I often think about this one defining moment I remember from childhood, because it caused such a changed in the way I acted in order to be perceived in a certain way. I was at a church function at our family’s church. There was one little girl who was about my age (around 7 or 8) who was so very shy (and this is coming from me!) she would not even play the group games without holding one of her parent’s or an adult’s hand, and she cried about everything (from my perspective). In my mind, I never wanted to be that girl. So, the solution I came up with was to purposefully stop myself from crying whenever I got hurt, no matter what, but especially if it was insignificant. I wanted to appear strong. I wanted to be strong. So anytime I would get hurt and people would come over and ask if I was okay, I would fight tears and never allow them to sympathize for long. I was FINE. Later on in life, I found that this made it harder for me to empathize with others who were hurting in “small ways” and also to allow others to see my own weaknesses and accept help and actually be of more help to others. Maybe I was perceived as “strong” (not so sure about this), but in the end, I only created more distance between myself and others.
I am now slowly re-writing the words from my childhood mantra of “I am strong.” to something new; something defined only as I live life, look back on it, and look forward with a new perspective.
I wonder so much what messages my own children will gather about themselves as they grow older and use to define who they are and how they fit into this world. Do you have any defining moments in your life that stand out to you? Have you ever looked back on them and had your perspective change?