Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sister Visiting and thoughts

My sister (Goddess #1) is visiting until Monday. It is her family's Spring Break and they have a son at BYU, so they decided to come here, ski and see him. Goddess #1 is 10 years older than me. She remembers very clearly when I was born and she has seen me go through most of my life's ups and downs. I have lived closer to her than any of siblings most of my adult life and until they moved to Ohio a few years ago, I saw her regularly.

Anyway, she jokeingly said to me the other night, "I really wonder what you are going to be like when you are a 75 year old woman, because you have the directness of one of those old Relief Society ladies that says her mind regardless of what people think of them." My husband laughed and said, "I am already planning on getting body guards for her because she already unknowingly offends people left and right."

I laughed and said, "Have I always been this bad?" She said, "When you were younger, no, but for the last 10 years or so yes." I then realized when I developed this direct, no apologies for what I am, what you see is what you get personality.

When I was 22, I was serving my mission in Argentina and it was a very hard time. I got very sick (emotionally and physically) and was actually sent home for about three months and then reassigned stateside, where for the record, I finished happily, gladly and successfully.

During the time that I was home, seeing doctors, etc. and we were trying to figure out what to do, I came to the conclusion that I was done playing "social games." I was not going to pretend things were OK when they were not. I was not going to sit back quietly and let things happen to me. I was going to take charge of my life on my terms and not let anyone pressure me into things that I didn't believe in or accept or want to do. I was going to be me, make decisions for me, how I wanted to make them and let the cards fall where they may.

I will say it was not easy initially and I made some, what I now know were crappy but thankfully nothing too bad or permanently damaging decisions. But, for the first time, in a long time, I was happy in my own skin. It took several more years to work out the kinks and figure out who I was and what I believed and where I stood. While at the time, it was one of the hardest things I have been through, it was the best thing to happen to me and I can still say that I am very happy in my strong willed, sometimes too vocal skin.

That decision over 10 years ago has been such a blessing to me even though it sometimes makes me unpopular with those around me. (Sure, I will be a den mother but I won't go to Round Table.). And, it has been a blessing to my kids. I make decisions based on what is best for my children and again it sometimes completely goes against what others around me are doing. The most recent example being: not signing my kids up for a kids camp with the rest of the ladies in my neighborhood. I was invited (and I am grateful they thought to include me), and I would have loved to have joined them for long fun children-free lunches, but for my kids, I knew it was not the right thing.

I would not change of one minute what I learned going through that emotional crisis at 22 and I always take it as a compliment when people say to me, "I may not like how you say or do it, but I always know where you stand and I like that I can depend on that." And, I promise all of you, if I have offended you, it was not on purpose and nothing you do will offend me either. And, for those of you who read this who have been my long, loyal friends, thank you for sticking with me. I know sometimes it can be difficult!


Queen Elizabeth said...

I knew there was a reason I liked you :)

michelle said...

Good for you! I think I still have too much of my 12 year old girl need to be liked in me. I have gotten better at saying no to things though. Like a couple of weeks ago when they called to ask me to teach RS in two hours. I actually laughed! Course then I used my nursey paranoid kid an YM teaching hubby as an excuse! I think it is good to make sure people understand where you are and not get talked into things. And I have never found you even abrasive!

Gabriela said...

I really enjoyed reading this Janice. What a blessing to feel happy in your skin at the age of 23-I think it takes most women a lifetime to feel comfortable with themselves and stand up for what they believe in.

Kudos to you.

Guapo and I are cracking up at your latest TV show-those types of shows were a dime a dozen in Mexico.

love.boxes said...

Great post... I think learning to say, "No" and mean it.. is an important life skill to have.

Jane Anne said...

Well Janice, you have never offended me and like I said earlier, I find your openess quite refreshing. I too have strong opinions about things, but most people don't hear them.. just my family and the PEC!