Come The Python
A story about shedding layers and finding YOU
Those of us who have come from impoverished lifestyles, where the past has damaged the present and dictated the future. Where expectations were imposed on you from day one and your dreams restricted.
The adults around you unknowingly, yet consistently placed issues upon you and you had no choice but to either succumb to your environment… or do whatever you can to protect yourself from it.
I was the latter. The layers of protection were very thick. This is what I discovered on my very last breakdown before I handed in my resignation. The company I had worked for 11 years, could no longer sustain my unique ability to conform and hide from the truth.
The truth that I wanted a life of purpose. Things had to change and the reality that the change was going to be severely difficult. It was a tough year, I couldn't run from it.
In one year, I had 7 breakdowns that I couldn't control. Moments of severe depression, taking Diazepam to hide the ache. Uncontrollable deep crying where I literally had to lock myself in my bathroom with a pillow to my face so my son couldn't hear the agony. Then as the last tear drops, I start again when I see his fingers under the door and him asking, 'Mummy, what's wrong?'.
I couldn't tell him about the loneliness and how I failed at finding love because I didn't think I was worth anything. I couldn't tell him I was living a life I despise, in order to please others and supposedly make my loved ones proud.
I couldn't tell him that I pretend to be strong because I refuse to look in the mirror and face the fact that everything I was, is and am, was a lie.
My son needed me. Primary School was difficult for him and he needed to be nurtured by the one person who would never judge him and accept him completely. His mummy.
I needed to take the leap for him and stop conforming to the belief system that was the foundation to our life - Work Hard, Have a Good Job and Hold Your Own. But at what cost?
Work Hard - Growing up, you were seen and mocked as the 'lazy one' if you were not doing any work. The unemployed bum or the 'scab' or 'bludger' was never a good status in our neck of the woods. So to ensure I was not seen as ‘this 'lazy' person, I overcompensated.
Have a Good Job - What does this even mean? Oh, title and pay. When I was a kid, the adults would praise the ones who had 'climbed the corporate ladder' and were earning 'high pay'. The unemployed were scorned or seen as those to be pitied. So, in order to avoid being scorned or a charity case, I made sure I got a job and whatever that was, succeeded at it.
Hold Your Own - There was a great deal of people asking for money and never paying it back in our family. Saying 'yes' was so normal that people would spend recklessly and think, “we'll just ask so and so for blah blah”, actually relying on a family member to feed them that week. The habit was so normal that if you asked for money, there was an underlying judgement of, 'geez you're useless' which I made sure I avoided at all costs.
Then to top it all off, having an independent nature, high compliance to responsibility, a strong need to please others, someone who is very respectful, loyal and obedient with a desire to never be indebted to anyone was a human recipe for Losing Your Self.
The stupid thing is, those 3 things were the result of my childhood observations of what people think! As a child, people's opinions matter and they shape how you behave because let's face it, you are new to this world and it's all you have got to go off.
Observation is the first step to learning and it takes a while to comprehend the complexities of these observations. So, unless you are shown otherwise, or taught to think critically, this is what you learn and was what I had learnt growing up.
I learnt, what 'not' to be.
This went on for 32 years. The line of 'copying' and 'becoming' had been lost in the years of 'trying'.
Resigning from a great job within a good company and becoming an unemployed full-time Mum was a scary decision. I was breaking all of the 3 main things I based my functioning on.
I hesitated, resisted and contemplated this choice over many drinking sessions, but it was finally made and when the resignation got handed over wow - the feeling!
the feeling of handing in that resignation was absolutely amazing. Euphoric to say the least. The feeling of liberation and having the freedom to paint whatever future I wanted for my son and I.
The freedom of not allowing money to control our decisions from here on in. The decisions were now, all about doing the right thing, the scariest thing and the hardest thing and not give a flying f@#$ about what anyone thinks.
Little did I know what I was getting myself into, asking for purpose and going through the process of shedding skins. I had finally got the guts to shed the most important skin of all, the First One! It was the hardest and definitely not the last.
There have been many shed since then and now, we are no longer who we were. Come the Python and all your glorious scales of rebirth to help us dream and create new shiny pathways to glide into Purpose.
Yes, we do look at the old skins now and then, to reflect, re-evaluate and realise how far we have come. It is only right to celebrate the self, check the position and improve wherever possible.
This is a lifetime we have been granted, why not make it a bloody good one eh?!
Ataria Sharman (the founder of Awa Wahine) provides mentoring for wāhine who want to know their creative-calling and/or to start their own creative business. She can guide you step-by-step through your own creative process or how to create your own blog/website and/or social media accounts + social media strategy.
She is currently offering one free creative-mentoring session via Zoom to wāhine to help you step into your creative life. Click the button to take advantage of this amazing offer.