Three In One

I want to talk tonight about how we can have many people inside of us. Not like a multiple personality disorder, but more like character traits that are brought out depending on the situation in which we walk into. Everyone has roles to fill in life. For my children, that could easily be divided into home, work and school.

Three is an important number in the Bible, indeed, used to describe the deity that must holistically be believed in in order to enter eternal peace, comfort and rest.

I do want to keep things simple. It never ends up that way with me though, does it. I have a hard time choosing an avenue that I want to go down, when I get there I find that it is too much commitment and fall to another train of thought until I backspace in complete fluster and frustration with myself. So, what better place to start than with a simple picture that has an involved and heavy emotion behind it’s simplicity.

This is me.

I’m 8 or 9 years old. My life is wonderful. I have two loving parents, I’m proud of my mom and dad and respect them both tremendously, I have younger siblings and lots of pets. Our house, built by my dad, is one of a kind crafted with skill made just for us. My parents chose property that is quite park like in it’s aura–trees, ferns and wild flowers growing everywhere. There are birds, butterflies and salamanders. We’d run around barefoot all day and have to be called in for supper at dusk. Our meals were home made and often had dessert (a cobbler or pie) following the casserole and side of home grown vegetables. My parents made sure that we always had Bible and prayer time at the end of each day, no matter how busy they had been. Does this sound like a dream childhood? Yes, for many, this would be a dream.

For me however, there was something huge missing, that even the most caring person could not hand me help for. My head just wasn’t right. I couldn’t grab onto information for keeps that I wanted. Thus, I was always in trouble, hardly living a day without a tremendous spanking, many tears and a bruised bottom. These words are not delayed abuse allegations. After a spanking, depending on whom it came from, I would be asked if I, “deserved another swat” Of course I wanted to say no, but what a moment of bewilderment. What I wanted was space to be angry, space to be mad, even a safe place in which I could take a breath to mourn over the physical sting. That was not a freedom I had. A wriggle to the side equalled rebellion in the perception of whomever’s knee I vulnerably lay across and the paddle often landed itself resoundingly against the thin cloth that provided modesty. I was told that I did not, “receive spankings well” and again, somehow, the next day it would happen again. What was my problem?!

Every morning was a new chance. When I’d come down the stairs, my beautiful mother would be there, humming a tune from the Psalms with a wonderful smile on her face upon the occasion of seeing me. Her eyes were always tired, no doubt from spending the night awake with whichever child was an infant at the time–we had a new baby in the family every 18 months or so.

Years later when I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder the doctor told us that in childhood, prior to medications I was most likely experiencing hundreds of small epileptic episodes a night…which in retrospect would explain why I so often woke with a sore neck and numb feeling in my head.
At the time this photo was taken I could not read. I could copy down writing. I knew I could, because I wrote thank you notes to my grandma after she’d send us money for our birthdays and gifts for Christmas. I did this by dictating to my mom what I wanted to say, then copying it out. My mom always wrote, “Love, Laura” at the end of the letters of appreciation. As an 8 year old I actually thought that L-O-V-E before Laura was part of my name. There was so much that I didn’t understand. Not because I was stupid, but because I did not take to learning. I had stories in my head that I wanted to bring out, imaginary adventures that I would take, and just the daily special moments that made me love my life.

For me, the only heart break was the disobedience to my parents that some how time and time happened. I still can’t explain it. I do remember my last though. It was special, I think because my dad prayed and cried, and that I really wondered why the hell a 14 year old was being spanked. That day we found our peace. I really believe that.

At my wedding when we stood side by side for pictures, I glanced over at his face and saw satisfaction. Now as I look at the photos I do interpret his expression as love. Love Laura even. He’d miss me if I were gone. He took this photo, and gave me the childhood I had. He never lost his cool or swore. Every movement he made was intentional and with control. Each choice he made was bigger than any of us, it was faith that he was doing what pleased God.

I’m doing it again, aren’t I?! Ebbing away from my initial purpose.

Have you ever had it said to you, “This is a side of you haven’t seen before”

As a young girl I had a habit of stowing away ideas and things I wanted to say, knowing disapproval and punishment were at least a 50/50 chance against applause and approval. What I did do was try to hold memories, promising myself that one day I could write and that I would put all my happiness on paper so that other people could know of my good times.

The year before I started college I started Depakote. That EEG that found me to be an individual who would be on medication for life changed everything. I now had a new mind to piece together. I checked out a book from the library with calligraphy styles, picked a font that I liked and wrote my alphabet over and over until I achieved the look that I saw in the book. Sitting back, I was pleased with what I saw and knew I now could do more and more having captured the ability to write which I had started in my mind so long ago.

Medication brought side effects. Exhaustion, hormonal flip flops, etc. But despite those things I felt a new ease and peace. I could put everything together, on my own terms. My mind felt clear, this was my time.

This is a side of you I haven’t seen before

This is not a comment of approval. It’s something said when they’ve liked the peace of your personality they’ve liked then see another angle or part of your life. For example, how you relate to your original family opposed to how you behave with the family you’ve created together.

Or if you’ve only talked about a set of topics and something else comes up.

I think that this can be uncomfortable, but everyone experiences it. What’s important is the level of compatibility between these elements of a person. Is it something that makes them an unreliable unstable person? Or is it just something you never noticed that, upon a closer look, only makes them that much more beautiful and worthy of spending time with.

The proper conclusion, as I feel it is time to reach for one, is to state a significant fear that I carry with me. And here that is.

My relationships have been built on written words, not physical appearance. Be the mood just right to host self doubt, I imagine a scenario in which, what was my rise would equally be my demise. Could it be that the writing that made me be attractive and worthy of being sought out, also be my falling. Yes, it could.

The nice thing here, is that that is my choice. I am in charge of my own destiny, I choose those angles and parts of who I am, while God has orcastrated it, I am responsible. For each word and reason. If I choose happiness and fulfillment, if I choose to be the optimist. This is how my life will be colored. For tonight, I choose happy. I choose to be who I need to be for my loved ones, and for myself.

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