At the age of 10, my family moved from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to Victoria, British Columbia and settled in a house on Cambridge Street, just two blocks from Dallas Road beach and the Pacific Ocean.
This week I returned to Victoria for my first visit in almost 40 years to see Case/lang/Veirs perform at the Jazz Fest. I was so excited when I was presented with an opportunity to see k.d. lang perform live that I booked my concert ticket and hotel room in Victoria before giving myself time to realize they would likely come to Vancouver in the near future as well. As it turned out, I was right where I needed to be…
The concert was totally amazing, but that’s a story for another day. The morning after the concert, I planned to drive around my old stomping grounds and see how things had changed over the years. My very first stop was the beach on Dallas Road. Every spare minute of my teen years was spent at this beach or across the street in Beacon Hill Park. My friends and I ran and played and dove off the cliffs into the ocean to cool off! I took a deep breath of the fragrant ocean breeze and was bombarded with a multitude of happy memories.
Later, as I drove down Cambridge Street toward my old house, I began to be assaulted by less pleasant memories. On Cook Street was the park where we played…and we saw my friend’s dog get run over by a truck. Down another street I saw the house of my first crush…the one who said “he wouldn’t touch me with a ten-foot pole!” On one corner was the house of the lady that gave out the best Hallowe’en treats…her privileged son shared that home. Two streets over was where my best friend lived…with her older brother.
With each passing street, the memories were hitting faster and harder! As I watched the movie being played out in my head, tears were streaming down my cheeks. What I saw reflected on my mind screen was the fact that nowhere in any of these scenes was I in control. I was just letting life happen to me. If what happened was bad, well, shit happens, kid! It must have been meant to be! “Suck it up, buttercup!”
As I drove, it hit me smack in the face—it is almost 40 years later and nothing has really changed. I am still allowing life to happen to me. Yes, getting beaten with a belt as a child made me feel I had no voice, conditioned me to be submissive, to be a “people-pleaser”, and to believe I had no control over my own life and circumstances, but at some point I moved out of my childhood home and I made the decision to continue handing control of my life to others. As a wise mentor once told me, doing nothing is still making a choice.
How many times have I isolated myself, sitting alone at night eating crap food and blaming the power above that beamed down and somehow took control of my mind while I was shopping? I felt as though I was watching myself being led around the store by the hand. It was never my fault! Someone else, something else, some damn emotion, some situation that was out of my control was always to blame! REALLY?!!
Today I take back my power! Today I give myself permission to make decisions! Do I believe that after today, I will make only wise choices, that I will never again eat crap food? Not likely. I am human after all. I will make mistakes, but starting today, I own that they were my decisions! If I eat crap, that is my choice and I will deal with the consequences. ALL decisions, good and bad, are mine and mine alone!
Do you, like me, believe that “fate” is somehow in charge of what is happening in your life? What if today, you accept that you have choices? What if today, you make just one decision and see what happens? I have no doubt you will make mistakes, but if you learn from your mistakes and try again, you will do better next time.
Do you need permission? Okay, here it is…I give you permission to take control of your life: to make choices, to make mistakes, to fall down then learn and get back up to try again, to own the amazing feeling of power you get from making your own decisions, right or wrong!
My friend Sherri tells me, “Deb, you are a BADASS!” Well, you can be too! Now get out there and show the world what you are made of!