Married at 16 thinking I knew what love was and I wanted a life, pregnant a few months later, yes honestly I was NOT pregnant before I was married, as much as the speculation in little Portugal was over the top on, and yes that was a reality of my life back then, like most other Portuguese girls growing up everyone talked about you, everyone had an opinion AND everyone else told your parents their opinion.....as girls we had very little rights, a ton of responsibility and we had absolutely no freedoms, even the simple things that our friends took for granted....school trips, trick or treating, movies, dances, sleep overs and the such were things we didn't do.....I wonder sometimes when I look back at who was I really? I don't think I had a clue about who I was back then, no wonder I wanted to be married at 16 it was the only way to freedom.....not to say that my parents did anything wrong with their upbringing, they did the best they could with the skills they had in a very foreign world to them....think My Big Fat Greek Wedding, yes that was my life, but I was much younger.......so I quickly gained the label of being a "bad girl"....I teased my hair, I wore too much makeup, even chains at times....these were my big moments of rebellion, no I was never in trouble, I still made the grades and I did not go out...I went to school and home and on weekends I was allowed to go out with family to the local Portuguese social club......I was a shell.....I remember telling people back then and later in my 20's that I didn't have a creative bone in my body, would never dream of wire, painting, writing or anything else that required an imagination....I was dead on those fronts.....I was dead on many fronts, except that no matter what I did I had critics. No matter which road I chose it was filled with disapproving looks, many that shook their heads at me, and others that went on about how I had been born with no luck, under a cursed star and would never amount to anything......critics, my life has been filled with critics, no matter what road, what choice or how much or how little I show of myself there are always critics.
I found myself one day in my early twenties hidden under a mountain load of judgments, nasty heartbreaking opinions of me abounded....I had my cards that had been my constant companions and the backyard fire pit, the flames that licked and called to me mesmerizing me.....I stared into those flames for what seemed like an eternity, my life was in chaos around me....but still the critics were there, they were always there....not good enough, not smart enough, too fat, uneducated, no skills.....on and on they went, I had failed as a mother, a wife, as a woman, there wasn't much left of me.....now I look back and hug that child that was still fighting for her right to just be....then I was lost, so lost that I had no idea who I was.....there in that moment in that heartache I found my soul, battered and bruised....but there I was just waiting for my heart and my mind to connect...and I realized I love my soul, my faith, my integrity, my heart, I love me.....I set out to take my life back, it has been an interesting ride, lots of lows, lots of highs and a ton of valleys in between! I love the valleys they are peaceful, balanced and calm....but yet the critics they remain. Here is how it is with this for me, nothing I can do that ever makes them go away....If I work I am not a good mother and wife, if I don't work I am lazy....I am disabled, physically, to them it is because I am overweight and lazy.....I work my shop, I create, I share and I sell my own wares to support myself, it becomes all I care about is money and am greedy.....I ask for help, it means I am lazy, can't take care of myself, didn't think about my future when I was younger, should have planned better and on and on....I do things on my own without asking for help, it becomes that I am a snob and think I am better than everyone....there is no end to my critics, this is what I have come to realize about this life of mine, and that is it right there, this life is mine, so I decided to rip that lid right off the fucker.
I made a shitload of mistakes in my life, the majority of them because I was listening to one opinion of myself or another, I was a shit mother when I was young, I had to learn how to mother a child....I had to learn how to let love in, I had to learn to temper freedom with responsibility and how to make ti all work together....I had to find the artist in me that saw things differently and learn to speak to my soul all over again...I had to realize that EVERY single bone in my body is creative....I had to live the life of poverty to understand the value of money, and to respect it.....I had to come to grips with the fact that my weight is no indication of my value and know it in my heart.....I had to learn to accept that my life has left me with panic issues and this makes me no less of a strong woman....I had to learn the issue was me, I had a ton of faith in everyone else, in the Gods, in the Spirits and the Ancestors but had little faith in me....in my own magic, my own fire.....I had to know from deep down in my soul that none of this makes me less of a woman or witch....I had to learn that no matter what I do someone will always judge me, I had to learn that it really does not matter what they think of me as long as when I lay my head down at night I know I did the best I could to be authentically me.....love me or hate me is up to them, but it doesn't really matter to me because their opinion of me is theirs not mine......I had to learn to not be afraid to let people see me, I have written about this alot! Each time I do it is because I have come back to this issue and seen a deeper truth I missed before and that is life, we never get it all at once....that is my process and that is OK!
I had to accept that some people are only happy while they can keep you small, making themselves feel like they are somehow above you, do not believe them! Let your self be seen, shine strong and bright, so bright that the reflection in their eyes is a wake up call to their own insecurities...and remember not everyone will always be genuinely happy for your success, shine on regardless!!
Critics will be critics, and I will continuing being me, shining my little light over here.....