My mother always said I was stubborn.
Very rarely did she say it as a compliment.
As a child I wanted to do everything myself, without anyone else's help. I wanted to own my accomplishments as mine.
You'd be hard pressed to find a picture of me past age 4 without skinned knees, tangled hair, and bruises—all the result of falling out of trees, wrecking my bike, or just generally playing in the woods like a kid.
I wanted to bake—and if that meant that I wasted a ton of ingredients creating monstrosities, my mom learned to scrape off the burned bits and feed my experiments to our dogs (and my poor brothers).
I wanted to paint—so in the dead of night, when our house was quiet, I painted wild colors on the back panels of all my bedroom furniture before carefully moving everything back into place and finding sleep.
Every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening in bible class I heard a lot about how one day I'd have a whole hell of a lot of struggles and challenges.
I remember thinking to myself that that was silly. Struggles were for people who didn't know how easy it was to say "hey, this is wrong, let's go do something else."
Something robbed me of my peace and my confidence.
And I thought packaging it neatly away and "moving forward" was the best decision to make.
It was not.
Pretending that bad things haven't happened to you is not learning from your mistakes.
Pretending that you've grown from something horrible doesn't work when you can see how it has negatively changed the way you think, live, and work.
People can see the light peeking out through the seams in your "I'm okay" suit—even if you don't think they can.
I find myself looking at women who have it together as if I'm watching videos of a former version of myself. Smiling, self-assured, and completely oblivious to the crippling, perpetual void of being robbed of any sense of trust or security.
I try to dress and carry myself as if I'm just like them, but the act only works until I have to open my mouth to speak.
The jig is up.
Call me stubborn, call me a bitch, but I'm determined to make everything right again.
And it's time to stand up and say hey, this is wrong, let's go do something else.