I turned 40 years old today. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. My birthday’s have always been used in extreme celebratory fashion, regardless of what the celebration looked like. Last year was my first birthday following the death of my boyfriend. It was probably twice as painful because it was also our twins’ first birthday. If I could have skipped our birthday’s completely, I would have. It was extremely painful.
This year there wasn’t huge celebration for the milestone of entering my 40th year of life but there was a lot of reflection. Ironically, last year I started my birthday off with a therapy session and this year was the same thing. I’m new to this particular therapist but I was excited about taking some of the thoughts and emotions I’m feeling and sorting them out with an unbiased professional.
I left today’s session feeling a little disappointed. My therapist made a suggestion I didn’t particularly agree with. I told him I would try it, and I will! My hope is to open myself up to the process he’s taking me through despite my apprehension. However, Val isn’t afraid to call bullshit.
We talked about Val, Tonya, and LaTonya. All three of those people are me, but who you meet depends on the circumstances. Family knows Val. Most family forget that my first name is actually LaTonya. We talked about who Val is and what she represents. Then we talked about LaTonya. She’s the professional side of the trio. She’s the one you’ll meet at school or in business meetings. Then we talked about Tonya. She’s the hybrid of the two – not quite casual and not quite business. She was created to be a perfect blend of the two.
My therapist wants me to work towards understand and cultivating who Tonya is. The idea is that she will be the best representative of my adult self. Possibly, but here is my argument.
I want a better relationship with Val. I want to be more comfortable with who she is. I don’t I had a very good relationship with myself early on. I was battling too much of life struggles to embrace the little girl that played the piano or sang in the school choir. I was too busy hiding the fact that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up or I wanted to perform in school plays. Some of our most creative days start in childhood and my creativity was put on hold. I need to find out who exactly that little girl was before I start giving a shit about Tonya – a manufactured figure designed to mask the truth.
Ideally they all have a purpose. We all probably have a Val, Tonya, and LaTonya in some form or fashion. It’s the same idea as when someone says, “Ten years ago I would have…” in acknowledgement that you are a different person now from a decade ago. I’ve just assigned names to mine. I don’t think I can worry about Tonya or LaTonya until I’ve tended to Val. I also believe that once I tend to Val, I won’t find much need for Tonya or LaTonya. Val will be authentically me and sufficient enough to take everywhere.
The introspection is about Val’s real identity. Who is she? What’s wrong with her? Why do I even think something is wrong with Val? I believe that she holds the keys to getting unstuck from any situation I may encounter. She is the one that weathered storms and helped me survive. It was her that forced me to make some tough decisions over the last year and a half helping me move from pain to purpose. Tonya and LaTonya were still trying to maintain a dilapidated life. Val had to be the leader that my future needed.
I think it’s something worth taking a look at as we move forward in life. Your life - your own personal story – has equipped you with a skill set. This skill set may not be desirable to many or look pretty on paper, but it is a part of your story and your life training. When you start to deny yourself the skills you’ve acquired you could be denying yourself the very thing you need to walk in your purpose. This is where you find yourself stuck.
You’re not stuck because of your circumstances. You are stuck because you forgot your training.
Life does involve evolution, but even evolution is naturally implemented for survival. Many aspects still remain, they are just improved. You are not supposed to abandon your life skills, you are supposed to use them. Even the skills that don’t seem socially acceptable need to be implemented in ways that guide you to your purpose. We are taught not to fight or assault anyone, yet forms of fighting (boxing, martial arts, etc.) are considered a professional sport. No matter what your gift or skill is life has prepared you for it and it would behoove you to use it.
I’m going to do my therapeutic homework for this week. I’m open to the idea of trying something new and I remain teachable enough to embrace a lesson crafted to benefit the evolution. However, I am wise enough to trust in my training. The very training that has gotten me this far in life.
After spending a year in grief counseling, I started to see that my life needed a major overhaul. Yes, my boyfriend died making me the single mom of our infant twins, but I was still grieving my loss of innocence from decades of abuse. I decided to turn my pain into a new purpose and to share this journey with others that may need some motivation.