Gumption

Blonde ringlets, solid frame, pink cheeks & a look of determination so severe, the nickname Killer Baby was deemed a worthy appointment.
She’s arrived.
Sassy, sarcastic, bold.
A feisty force to be reckoned with.

A kid built on being last in the predominantly strong-willed female family line.
The easy target for a lazy schoolyard bully.
The odd one out.
She knew it. She stood her ground.

A kid who grew to have a lot of fight inside, who could take a punch – who did it often.
A little girl who craved a voice. A place in the world.
One who rubbed some people the wrong way, and sizzled charisma to others.
She never knew why.
She didn’t know which qualities made her admirable or contemptible.

A picture of Anne Shirley – the hallmark vibe she strived to give off.
Not all together a bad thing. In fact, at the time, a role model.
Stubbornness & all.

A girl who was smart, tough, funny, loyal, capable – at least that’s what she wanted to be. What she wanted people to see.
Not always successful.
Misinterpreted intentions or poor execution could get in the way.

Never the “inbetweener”, a common phrase expressed to her was, “You’re the kind of person people either love or hate”.
That’s a weird thing to say to a kid.
She believed them, too.

She evolved as a person never thinking she could “win ’em all”.
Never everyone’s “cup of tea”.
That’s good, in a way? Right?
At least she wasn’t cocky.

She had a “healthy sense of self”, they said. She knew her level of acceptance.
Though, not quite sure what she really considered it when left to ponder it alone.
In retrospect, it was clearly a lack of self-confidence, a long way to go to worthy, though she could convince herself otherwise when needed. A survival tactic.

She was never under the impression she was going to win a popularity contest, or be Belle of the Ball.
She knew hard work was ahead, no handouts or favours were coming her way.
She’d have to prove herself.
Perpetually ready to meet the challenge.
She wasn’t necessarily good at it, though.

The shout inside her was never from the lion. It was always more like a mouse with a megaphone.
But, she couldn’t show that. She had to seem tenacious to them. Strong. Sure.
I’m made of something great, just wait and see!
An adolescence steeped in misunderstanding.

But, somewhere along the way it changed.
No clear beginning, no specific turning point. Just a gradual development.

Eventually life would knock her about enough to chip away the resistant exterior facade. The one held together with fraudulent self-possession, concealing the not-so-sure-I’m-good-enough little girl trembling inside.
She was going to be something undeniable, unavoidable. Valid.
Once she stopped listening to what people told her she was, she could start discovering it for herself.
It slowly revealed the person she believed was in there all along. Legitimately.
She had built her, finally!

I see it now.
It was me.

I was in charge. Now qualified & ready at the helm.
It didn’t matter what they saw anymore. What did I see?
I had no desire to be weak, flimsy, unreliable.
No plans to be vicious. No need for slander.
No use for becoming a mockery of a human being.

The results of a lifetime of perseverance.
No more pretending to be the worthy warrior, now unequivocally living as her.
I know what I’m made of now. I am smart, tough, funny, loyal, capable.
I’m also a million other things that fill in the gaps & make me well-rounded.

I like me now.
Grateful to a little girl who stood her ground long enough to mould me.
Patient enough to know her time would come.

There will always be plenty who hold the same kinds of opinions as before.
The ones who don’t quite know what to do with me. What to make of me.
They can’t decide, is she entertaining or irritating, intelligent or tedious, endearing or repellant?
I bet I’m all of that. I don’t care.
I know who I am. I’ve put in the work.
I made the sacrifices and endured the battles.

What matters are my actions.
Love me or hate me, I’m going to be an undeniably good human being.
That’s the most important qualification.
I’ll fight for myself, for those like the old me. I’ll give them more time to make it out alive.

Working on that part helps all the other pieces fall in to place. The parts that build & fortify a person, capable of withstanding the remainder of life’s beatings.
Good quality stock that keeps the world moving in the right direction.
That’s what I’ll be.

This old gal still needs work, though. There are still coarse edges and gritty textures, many years left for re-evaluation, for fine-tuning.
She’ll never fully be considered finished until she’s dead. Even then, her memory will be contested by those on both sides of her personal sphere. 

But so far, so good. Everyone should get to feel like this.
Satisfied with their progress.
Capable of growth.
Eager for the challenges of life.
Regret free.

 

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2 comments

  1. WOW – that’s amazing!! I’m so glad that you have been able to free yourself from the expectations of others and figure out what YOU want. It’s a huge thing to do.
    Love you – even with he rough edges xo

  2. I’m loving this self appreciating woman you have become. Hopefully still tenacious enough to fight off ‘mechanics’ who want to deface family property!!!!! Aaah the memory!! ❤️

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