In this life, I was given the gift of independence. A word that is very important to me for a great many reasons, if you know me well.
I can remember not feeling very independent. I used to rely heavily on others to make me happy; bending over backward to please those around me. I wasn't an actual person with a legitimate personality of substance. I may have been entertaining to be around or a butt of jokes, but I wasn't actually me.
I was in therapy for the entirety of my teenage years, and in therapy I was given a book about co-dependence. And while I wasn't dependent on drugs or alcohol, I was dependent on others to create my happiness. The book listed ways you could be co-dependent and I wrote down every single one that I resonated with.
And then I changed every single item I wrote down.
The book literally changed me.
As a woman who has been broken down about as much as a person can be, I have learned even more exactly what it means to me to be independent and strong.
Until I was told to dial it back.
Every day for the last near fourteen years, I have battled with myself to balance motherhood and fatherhood in the most gentle of ways. I do not always excel at either and ofttimes find that fatherhood comes easier to me than motherhood. I am tough, I fight, I am hard, I am no nonsense, and I don't give in almost ever. And this is not just as a parent, but as a friend and even a lover. I cannot exactly pin-point the reasoning as to why I am as impenetrable as I am, but I do know that it has cost me a lot in my life.
Tonight, I was told in the most respectful of ways, that my daughter needs me to be her mother. It was quite difficult to hear because I immediately became defensive. But that friend was right. I need to be what a "mother" embodies. Care, concern, softness, delicacy, and tenderness are qualities I have suppressed for a long time. While I do care, have concern, have moments of tenderness, I do not often exude those qualities.
But when I was reminded tonight that I need to incorporate other traits into my current palate, I was disconcerted. I usually pride myself on my intelligence, but I can't even recognize my lack of empathy for my child.
So I will begin, again, to challenge myself and try to round out some of my square edges. To take a stab at becoming more warm and less frigid. I do not want to shape my daughter into a version of me, she should be herself. But I want her to take the best of me: my kindness, independence, and wit, yet blend it with her own tenderness, effervescence, and intellect. She is growing so fast and I need to be sure I show her the world from all angles.