Schticks and Stones: The Turning Point Series

This is the Turning Point Series where I recall events in my life that changed the course of my journey in some significant, impactful way. I almost entitled it the TP Series but then thought better of it. Given the state of our world with covid and everything, I didn’t want people to wrongly assume this was the central spot to find the best toilet paper sales in the north (it’s not, btw).

Growing up I had a schtick, like what I truly believed about myself. I carried it with me everywhere like a security blanket. It was a bit I would tell myself, whether it was true or not. It was what I genuinely thought about myself. It had less to do with what people told me and more to do with what people never told me.

It went something like this:
I’ll never be the prettiest girl in the room…
I’ll never be someone who wins anything…
I’ll never be someone that things come easy for…
I might never end up with someone who loves me for who I am- this only happens for other people…
The belief that you can be whatever you want to be, so long as you put your mind to it? That will never be me…
I am nothing special…
But it’s okay.

And it had been okay, for a while.

To others, the above may have sounded bleak and hopeless, but I really didn’t consider any of that negative self-talk. For me, it was just my truth. For whatever reason, I’m sure I could dive deeper into this, I just understood those things about myself. I didn’t necessarily have to repeat them over and over again like a mantra, day after day, because it was my reality then. I just believed this growing up, it was almost instinctual.

That security blanket turned into baggage, and I continued to carry it with me everywhere I went. I used it as an excuse to achieve less in some areas of my life. Why try when I knew the exact outcome? I didn’t think I deserved anything more than what was given to me and whatever was given to me, I was eternally grateful for. Whether it was a less-than-average friendship, a less-than-average raise, or a less-than-average relationship, I accepted less because I believed myself to be just that- lesser.

I would then project that narrative of mine out into the world. And I suppose I got back what I put out. I can’t really pinpoint a time in my life when I morphed from a doormat into someone with a strong voice, but that voice emerged indeed (slowly but surely). That’s when I started to find my footing and challenge these thoughts in my head. Why did I ever think I wasn’t enough? I found only when I could look at myself and question my beliefs about myself, did I really have the courage to ask others for more of everything: respect, understanding, empathy, value, recognition, faith, kindness, and loyalty.

Did you have a schtick growing up? What are some things you believed about yourself? Were you wrong? Where do you think this belief of yours came from?

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23 thoughts on “Schticks and Stones: The Turning Point Series

  1. I had similar feelings in school and they popped up again when my husband was in Afghanistan. There was this nagging feeling that he would die over there and I’d be alone… exactly the way I deserved to be. I felt that I wasn’t pretty enough and more recently with my weight gain after having my son, not pretty enough has been a common theme. Asking my husband over and over again “not bad for a fat girl right?” in other words… “can you still love me in this body?”
    I definitely have an issue with these things. It takes a lot of work to overcome them and I think this is true for not just you, but a lot of women.
    I was thinking about writing something about the fat girl thing on my blog. I went from a size 0 to a size 14 in a short amount of time. I’ve attempted to lose weight and was successful. I lost 50 lbs and then… gained it back when my health became complicated again.
    It’s not easy to require our brain. I’m no more less deserving of love at a size 0 than I am at a size 14. Sometimes I have to shout that into my brain. Just because I’m heavier doesn’t mean I’m not pretty. Just because I weigh more, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have clothes that make me feel good in my own skin. I can be sexy too!

    So I can relate absolutely and we women need to do better because a confident woman IS a sexy woman. A confident woman will attract the kind of guy that she deserves and a woman who thinks she’s “less than” will end up with an abuser… not because she deserves it but because she thinks she does. Amazing post as always my talented friend 🥰❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly it, LaShelle! I believed that I was never going to find my happiness and when I did, I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall… just like how you thought your husband wouldn’t come back because you thought you deserved to be alone… that’s so fascinating that so many of us share these common feelings… I agree also that “sexy” is a state of mind, for me sexy is more the way you feel confident about yourself more than how you look… as long as you are happy with the way you look!

      Sounds like you’ve had a pretty up-and-down journey but as long as you’re still working on yourself (mind, body and soul_, then you’re seemingly on the right path, my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I changed the moment I had my daughter. I realized that I had to parent a child and my goal was to have her not feel the way I had growing up. When I became a mother, my mother and I became equals. It was perspective altering

        Liked by 1 person

      • Having a daughter will do that to ya! I totally get it.. I feel like a lot of the perspectives I had before Charlotte came along had changed as well… most of it had to do with the way I saw myself and how others treated me… I wanted to leave a better legacy for my daughter… Thanks again for sharing, always appreciate it!

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  2. It would be an interesting study to determine what percentage of people develop feelings of inadequacy from within as some kind of defense mechanism vs. those who’ve been told they’ll never measure up. Most kids I taught with self-esteem issues acquired those feelings because of their environments. It takes a strong person to overcome all those negative messages.

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    • Yes, that would be a very fascinating study! I have always been fascinated by birth order too… and how social factors and culture backgrounds determine who you become… As a teacher, do you ever foresee the futures of the children you teach just by who they are at the grade that you teach them? Like, if you looked at “Timmy” in grade 3 and he was a shy kid and kept to himself, do you ever get to see who they become and are they ever who you thought they’d become? I wonder….

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      • My wife was a preschool teacher. She maintained that many of her students’ futures were already decided by then. Pretty sad when you think about it. Of course, there were always exceptions. Some kids had every advantage and still managed to screw up their lives. Then, some had many obstacles and miraculously overcame them and broke the cycle of dysfunction. Those children made me want to get up in the morning because the most important thing they needed was someone who cared in their life.

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  3. How amazing! Sounds like you had what I call a goddess awakening, although i won’t push that terminology on you 😬🌺 I wonder where that comes from as well, as you know I’ve had a similar experience where I was like “hey, wait a minute, no, just no.” I wonder if it just comes with time and when we get to a point where we become tired of the old version of ourselves. I love hearing about this and would love more juicy details if you ever remember them! Thank you for sharing! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right, Libby. My belief has always been that people will never fully change unless it benefits them to do so.. and after a certain time of trudging along unhappily living life for others’ approval, you get tired of it and decide to live your life by your own standards surrounded by people who genuinely care about you (I suppose… at least this was my experience)…

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  4. Good questions. Growing up I believed that if I’d be perfect then good things would come to me. I was a very uptight only child with parents who didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye so I felt like I was in the middle all. the. time. I tread carefully as to not upset anyone. I don’t let perfectionism rule me anymore, but it took adulthood and living with someone who was/is constantly supportive of who I am to get me beyond it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so wonderful you were able to find someone who accepted you for who you are! That’s a rarity! Perfectionism is such an unhealthy disguise we all hide behind, isn’t it? It makes us feel superficially put-together but inside we’re anxious beings hindered by the limited boundaries of perfectionism… only one path to success… so false… Thanks so much for sharing your story…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Actually, I think most children grow up feeling this way, some more than others. I’ve watched 38 years of children, and most need plenty of assurance and positivity, and hugs. Big time. It takes adulthood before that goes away, yet for most of us it will always linger a little bit. Now you know why the social and emotional development of children is #1. Thank you for sharing ‘you’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank YOU for reading and supporting always! It’s always fascinating to get not only the parent’s perspective but also the teacher’s perspective as well. I think you’re right, we all carry that with us and it forms who we are somewhat… whether it makes us more conscious of certain things or it makes us braver… no matter how well-off or lacking our childhoods, we could all use lots of positivity and hugs 🙂

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  6. Well I was fine growing up in Canada, until we moved here to the States when I was ten. When I started school that Fall, it was grade six and the teacher and classmates both ridiculed and bullied me because I was Canadian. When I moved on to middle school it continued and on an everyday basis. I could have told my parents, but didn’t until it was unbearable … I knew my father, who had a short fuse and very bad temper, would literally “blow his top” at the school. That happened and yes, the teacher who was the culprit in grade seven (I had her for more than one class) was put on leave immediately. She was noticeably pregnant anyway and didn’t return until the Fall, so an early maternity leave for her and maybe a hand slap (if that happened). I did nothing wrong, but had to deal with the wrath of others – why, because I spoke differently, with the Oxford English I learned in Canada and precise speaking, without slang or contractions. I was filled with hatred for school while this was going on. Being an only child, I had to deal with it alone. It made me very shy. Thankfully getting a job at the diner where I worked while in college brought me out of my shell – the best job I could have had at that time in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw Linda, sorry to hear that was your part of your childhood experience. Being bullied and made to feel shame is obviously far from ideal… and what a thing to make fun of… that you’re Canadian.. It sort of tells me that no matter who we are, there will always be something that anyone can pick out as negative about us and run with it… so I am trying to teach Charlotte to embrace the differences we all have in us and celebrate it! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story, Linda! 🙂

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  7. I had the oldest child syndrome, which may or may not be an actual clinical term. I also don’t know if it has actual symptoms but for me it was basically living up to the very high bar of being the perfect child in the eyes of both parents. This definitely required therapy to overcome in my early twenties.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I believe in birth order psychology too! I had middle-child syndrome. My sister (2 years older) I feel had the same expectations that weighed on her shoulders for many years- she is the highest achieving child and most likely to submit to family demands/expectations etc.. It’s so interesting how birth order plays a role in who we seem to become…

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