QOTD on the Recipe Board on BabyCenter: If you could sit down and have a heart to heart with your 13 year old self, what would you say?"
"You're more beautiful than you realize, and more people love you than you know. You touch more lives than you ever think possible and hold more power as a woman then you could ever guess. You're on the right track but you need to hold your head high with self-confidence. You have good, lifelong friends and family that loves you... trust that you'll be out from under Dad's thumb soon. Be patient. Cry if you need to. Stand up for yourself more. Love yourself and get yourself to a shrink sooner than you did. Don't wait for life to happen, make it happen for yourself."
That was my answer, but I could sooooo expand on that. I had the worst self-esteem as a child, thanks to my Dad. He was overbearing, overprotective and excessively controlling. He wasn't very nice either. I'll leave it at that for now, except to say that his emotionally abusive and occasionally physically abusive punishments left scars on me that still make me angry. My self-esteem is hundreds times better than it was as a child, but I still have a lot of emotional healing to do. I have such a good life now, and I appreciate it more probably because of how I grew up. I hardly ever got into trouble, but I don't attribute that to my father's method of raising me. I attribute it to a good mother and having good moral values of my own. I attribute it to my own good sense of right and wrong and making good choices in my friends.
I really had no self-esteem. I rarely actually stood up for myself. I tried to be as strong as I could and cry only when I was alone. The closer I got to graduating high school, the more confident I became but that only came with realizing my power as a woman. I realized that people didn't see me as I believed they did. And the more confident I became, the more guys wanted to be my friend. College was a whole new me. I got to start over with people who didn't know how "sweet" I was in high school. People who weren't so judgemental and cliquey, even though in High School I managed to be friends with groups of people who were in different "cliques." I liked everyone except the snooty, snobby stuck up cheerleader-types that would only date the most popular guys in school. And honestly, there were only a few that I didn't like. But college... wow. That was something else. People who I went to High School with that attended the same college were shocked at how many friends I had on campus. People who snubbed me in High School became friendly to me in college. It was really quite an ego boost and very enlightening. My confidence soared, but I still reverted to a scared little girl who was afraid to confront Daddy once I got home.
I didn't start to feel truly good about myself until I married. I should have started counseling then, but shied away from it. I waited another 7 1/2 YEARS to get counseling for PPD!!! Then discovered that I'm so "messed up" that I really should have gone years and years ago. Not messed up as in crazy, but messed up as in "I have so many things to straighten up emotionally." Just writing this is making my leg jitter uncontrollably. I'm actually starting to get short of breathe so I think I'll be revisiting this subject later.