There were two things my father always told me, “When you were born did anyone ever tell you that life was going to be fair?” And, “I only married your mother to give you a name.” My mother’s two favorite confessions to me were, “You ruined my life being born,” and, “I only kept you for the child support.” I was an accident. You should have seen their surprise that, during my teen years, I was not who that had wanted me to be. Frankly, I was a teenage runaway who went off the rails.
I eventually settled in a very controlling relationship. He became a narcissist and I ended up with Stockholm syndrome. I tried to become more. I tried to grow. Each step fought with his losing control over me and me being punished for it.
I went on to help raise 14 children. But who was I? I was someone’s mother. I was someone’s wife. But I still didn’t not know who I was. Then, my husband died, and my children left home. I was nothing. Could I be more?
Michel Foucault wrote, “I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.”.
Did it matter who I was? Did it matter that my physical limitations made it impossible for me to keep a job? Could I shed the past of being someone who was worthless, someone who society, including my parents, thought of as trash?
I began volunteering. I made new friends in the homeless and poor community. I found they were kinder and truer friends than all the people who claimed to be my friends when I was married. I began to donate my time on Sundays to feeding the homeless at church.
Both of my parents were completely against it. This was not who they had wanted me to become. My mother wanted to know why I was wasting my time when I could be making good money. My father wanted all of my new friends to die, so that they were no longer a drain on taxpayers. I was still a disappointment.
I would take the time to sit and listen to stories the homeless and poor would tell. I learned of all the resources in the area and shared with them what I had learned. They began to call me Mama Bear.
I also pulled out my Tarot cards and began reading on the street, for free. I discovered I had a gift and a talent for using the cards to help people. I used my intuition and the truth to give people inspiration for their future. I was making a difference in these peoples’ lives. I was for the first time in my life becoming someone. Someone I could be proud of. I was no longer the sum of my past. I was no longer the trash that no one would let me forget. I was using my past to empathize and help others. Who I had been, who I was, didn’t matter. It was who I was going to become.
I came across many Hispanic people that I could not help. I had no way of communicating with them. I tried learning Spanish but kept hitting walls. It was frustrating. They needed help and I didn’t know how to help them. I didn’t understand their culture. One elderly Hispanic lady wanted me to make her daughter pregnant. Even if I could do that, there is no way I morally would. But why would she think I could?
I decided to take a year and move to Mexico. Everyone told me it was a crazy idea. I was tired of listening to what others thought I should do. I wanted to make more of myself.
It has been 3 months. I have immersed myself in the Mexican culture. I have learned a lot more Spanish, although I am nowhere near as fluent as I would like to be. I now understand why the lady thought I could make her daughter pregnant. Tarot readers in Latin American countries are thought of as spirits who can make their future happen, not just tell them about their future.
I still don’t know who I am exactly. I am an ever-changing person striving to do better, to make more of myself. I know however, who and what I am not. I am not trash. I am not worthless. I am not “good for nothing.”
I have made a huge change in a lot of peoples’ lives. While there is no real money in it, there is more to my worth than how much money I have in the bank.