Me-gitimacy pronunciation & definition:
the state or quality of me deriving by reasoning, or concluding based on evidence that I am of genuine or authentic character.
Back at the Beginning
From the time each of us was born, we were taught by those around us. First our parents and siblings, next friends outside the home. My parents were quite careful to ensure that there were not too many friends to influence me away from their chosen dogma. Most parents choose to protect their children from harm, and mine defined harm as anything that challenged their moral convictions. They were faithful followers of a strict religion. My first interactions among people outside my home were the church people my family knew and loved. Of course I believed what my parents taught me. I loved them. They were good parents, and I felt loved.
I think many of us have those beginnings. My life was quite good with some confusion along the way. No one grows to adulthood without problems. Some problems are bigger than others. I grew up with domestic violence in my home, and I was ashamed. Little did I know that 20-25% of my friends had grown up with it as well. No one spoke of it.
Was it society’s dirty little secret? I think the answer is a lot more complicated than that. In my opinion, it was a long-standing way of living that was tolerated for many different reasons. In 1800, when two of my great, great grandfathers were living, life was much different from now.
By the way, that is only five generations ago, even though it is a span of 217 years! Many families today take five generation pictures with everyone still living. My family is quite spread out, though. I didn’t know my grandparents because they had passed away before I was born!
But I digress. Why was domestic violence ever tolerated? Americans feel the need to fight and die for personal freedom. I think people in olden days did not believe the government had the right to legislate family life, and Joe didn’t think that it was his business to tell Bob how to care for his family. They didn’t trust the government, most people thought that men should govern themselves according to the laws of God. The thinking was along the lines of this: “I don’t approve of my neighbor beating his wife and children, but I do not have the right to intervene.”
With these social mores (social norms observed that are considered to have greater moral significance than others), our ancestors may have hated abuse, but they did not believe they had the right to do anything about it. It was abhorred, but tolerated. Before long it became epidemic. Men, women, and children fist fighting over control.
- The sole factor that shaped my life.
- Everyone wanted it.
- Different ones had it at times.
- I needed it, but didn’t know how to get it.
From day one in a baby’s life, each person who comes in contact with her thinks HE or SHE knows the best way to:
That was how all of the people I knew helped me become me; my mom, dad, aunts, uncles, Sunday School teachers, ecclesiastical figures, school teachers, friends, boyfriends, husbands, bosses, and on and on. They all seemed to have my best interests at heart, but every one of them only showed me one way to live. Their way! They clung to passed down and slightly changed values, and feared anything different. Their fear of life outside their understanding scared me, and I was never comfortable with the hate of differences.
I wanted to do it right, so I listened, watched, questioned, and mimicked everyone. Through observing, applying, evaluating, and adopting, or abandoning a method, I researched what worked for me and what didn’t.
I am now over 50 years old, and still I am learning about everything. It feels good to know that so much of my life has been about becoming part of something bigger than just me. I have always felt like some tiny little speck of something much more. A fabric that becomes the world, the universe, and beyond. I am stating that I feel insignificant. On the contrary, I feel so important because my tiny little speck of existence weaves this fabric along with every living thing. If my existence in this place damages the structure we call life, who will account for that?
So…in finding my genuine character, I have responsibility to everything around me. Therein is my purpose, if one needs to have a purpose. In my Me-gitimacy, I believe I have a responsibility to let life control itself, and let me control myself.
As I adopted or abandoned methods of living after realizing what worked for me and what didn’t work for me; I learned so much. I have had to choose more than once which individuals would be a part of my life…or not. It is truly a painful experience when those you love force you to choose them or your free agency. The thing I have learned with certainty is that people will come and go. They will take a risk or shrink in fear. It is only because they are not ready to let go and love. I can wait for all of them because somewhere along our journey through space and time, we will all become Me-gitimate. I am not yet there and most I know are not, but I am learning to give myself and everyone I know the chance to find it. The key is simple. Stop trying to control others. Accept differences. If someone you love wishes to live differently than you do, it’s ok. You may have to let them go to live your way, but that’s ok.
Where it gets ugly is when a person is so fearful, that they hurt another in order to part ways. I’ve been through that too often. I have been the victim and the perpetrator. Life is precious and I am just like all of you. Trying to find a balance in life. My conclusion so far is to accept differences and leave fear behind. Fear nothing for we all will end at some point and begin again. Setting boundaries, and letting others choose to be in or out of our lives is a freeing concept. Try it. It is working for me.