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Shaped for Success

I like my brain. I like the way my mind processes life, my ability to sort things out, and the way it journeys when my pen hits the paper. I think about how it developed in my early years, and how our lack of money would provide a catalyst for that development. I remember watching my dad fix the VCR and other things around the house because replacing them wasn’t an option. I loved going to thrift stores with him and sifting through all of the things that were no longer serving a purpose to their previous owners but were a total treasure to me. There is an art to thrift store shopping, and I’m weirdly proud to say I’m extremely talented in this arena. My brain sees the potential, rather than the damage.

My dad. Oh, my dad. God, as a child I looked up to him so much. I thought he was the greatest person in the world, and I loved making him proud. When I was 8 years old, my parents divorced and my father made his way out of the picture. Let’s just say the relationship would be limited and tumultuous from then on. It was a pivotal time in my life on a multitude of levels. There are some things I have a love-hate relationship with, my parents’ divorce being one of them. I loved my dad so much. He was everything to me, and I hated how it felt went he left me. However, I hate to think of how my life would have gone had my parents stayed together. If I was anyone else, I don’t think I would have chosen to have him in my life. He was the great and powerful Oz to me as a little girl. To everyone else, he was the most difficult person to get along with. Love. Hate.

I was so sad when my parents divorced and never understood why he left me. I still don't. He

said it was because his heart was broken from my mother and it hurt so bad that he had to leave. That sounded so silly and selfish to me - if you are hurt that badly, why would you invoke that hurt into someone else? Wouldn't you be more aware of how you are hurting others and become more loving? I missed making him proud, I missed the thrift stores and VCRs. He helped to create the mind that I love, and I've just always wished he'd stuck around to enjoy it.

Then again, my whole life, the good and the bad days have shaped this mind that I love so

much. I'm not grateful my dad left me, but I'm grateful for the depth and variety of emotions it

offered. I am who I am today because I was left. That really helped to outline my life, and the

years afterward colored it in.

My mind is working tirelessly to create and chase my dreams. They feel so big, but the crazy

part, is they feel so attainable. They feel within my reach, they feel like the written future, not

necessarily dreams. When I think of a dream, I think of a different realm; like wishes from a

genie bottle, something pulled out of thin air, something that feels like nothing.

No, this is different. These are my futures, my possibilities, my options laid out to choose from.

And the only thing standing in my way is the shakiness in my belief that those future

possibilities can be real. That shakiness comes from the guilts, shames, traumas, and fears of

yesterdays, which have a way of controlling my todays, and holding me back from the sturdiness of what could be my tomorrow. The guilts of what areas of my life will suffer if I have to redirect my focus. The shames of asking for help and admitting I am unable to do it alone. The traumas of abandonment and brokenness which keep me playing it safe. The fears of stepping off the edge of dreams and into the future, and having to rely on that thin air we call faith. Where will I land? Will I get stuck between inaction and success in that place called regret? Or will the hard work, unburnt bridges and genuine integrity of yesterday and today be enough to propel me beyond my wildest dreams and into a future self I’m proud of?

I’ve been on my mark, I got to set and I’m ready to go. The gun is fired and the race begins. Around the track are my various parts, competitive with only my other parts, who are the only ones who will ever prevent me from reaching the finish line and set the record for my own success. No one else is allowed on this track. No one else can get in my way. Understanding Parts Work or IFS Therapy has helped me to know why we all have such crazy internal struggles that prevent us or propel us depending on how they are used.

My Inner 8-Year-Old looks me square in the eye with a longing to see me be the hero she’s never had. My Glow Getter builds the fire beneath my feet, smiling as the flames gain strength. The White Rabbit is on everyone’s tail, picking up the beautifully broken pieces, careful not to disturb the Queen Control Freak who wants everyone to play their part without any surprises. The Guilt Gangster is running circles around the track with a baseball bat, taking the others out at the knees if they get too far ahead. The Bitch loves nothing more than cutting down the others in an effort to maintain control and higher ground. Rage is stuck in the past, running in place, when the only one he should be angry with is himself for showing up. Liberty can’t gain momentum because she is dragging around her scales, focused too much on fairness rather than her own performance. The Performer ensures this race is memorable and thrives on the warmth of the spotlight. Everyone looks down on the Floppy Fish who still struggles with having a backbone. The Passive Aggressor lets all the others pass, only to throw rocks at them from behind. The Only Child kicks and screams when she’s not in the lead, but the Older Sister will always be around to step in as a mother figure, reminding her that good behavior can be a saving grace. And finally, the Boss knows this race is too important to mess up, holding all the others accountable. Bravery holds her head up high knowing all the preparation for the race was worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tears.

My Last 10% is watching from the judge's box. She’s still not convinced of the group’s ability to

succeed and has yet to really join the action. However, she is the only one who can complete the team and help us win.

All the players have shaped who I am, the way I think, what my priorities are and where I am going. Although they are the ones to hold me back, they all have served their purpose, from protection to propulsion, and I’ve needed each one to get me to the starting line. These are my parts, my friends and foes, my history in the making. By bringing them all to light, I can understand my need for each and either let them go or use them for success.

Regardless, this race is my reality, the success is my future. I can feel the wind in my hair, and the speed, power, and resiliency of my performance. I’m not relying on luck or looks. I will use my knowledge and perseverance to conquer these so-called dreams and watch them blossom into my future.

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