All my life, the only person who ever made me genuinely feel like they were proud of me was my Grandma J. She would tell me everytime she saw me and I could feel that she really meant it. On one other occasion out of the blue my ex grandfather-in-law told me he was proud of me because he was amazed by my wealth of computer knowledge and my ability to teach it to him. That was a great moment for me. Aside from that, the only time anyone has really told me they were proud of me was when I told them this story and they'd say, "well of course WE are proud of you too." Yeah, that doesn't count.
I spent about the first 28 years of my life worrying about what other people thought about my choices and decisions, only to have them be unsupportive and over-critical.
When I decided to leave my husband, you'd think I had just murdered someone. Apparently being unhappy your entire life is more important than the "shame" of being divorced. Someone once told me that it is better for children to "come from a broken home than to live in one." I definitely agree with this. I want to provide a positive role model for my children and I want them to know that they don't have to suffer their whole lives if they are unhappy just because some people put a negative connotation on divorce. I want my daughter to become strong and independent and realize that her life doesn't need to revolve around men. She can accomplish anything she wants in life by herself. I want my son to grow up in a positive environment to break the cycle of anger and treating women as second class citizens.
If this makes me a selfish demon, that is NOT my opinion of the situation. As you know if you follow my blog regularly, you know that in August I was offered a job to teach at a community college. I couldn't believe it. I have wanted to teach since I was a child, but I could never put my finger on what age I wanted to teach until I actually went to community college and it was my best educational experience by far. The people actually are choosing to be there and although I like kids, it's nice not having to teach these students right from wrong.
I absolutely LOVE my job. Sure, I'd love to do a million other things as well, but I would never want to not teach. I achieved this job because I went to school and chose to pay attention in my classes. I finished my associates in two years, while working and paying for classes out of my own pocket. When I finished my bachelor my daughter was 1 and my daughter was 3. I started my masters the fall after that.
I could have been like many other people I knew and chosen to party and drink and then later drop out. I could have decided that having kids meant I had to wait until they were grown and gone to finish my education. But I didn't.
And how are my kids now? AWESOME! Sure, being 6 and 4 they have their issues, but no more so than any other kid. They smile all the time, they laugh, they're happy, they love being around other kids, they are soooo loving and are constant affirmations that I am making good choices with my life.
So, to draw this to a close: two years ago I realized that there was no point in living my life to try to meet up to someone else's standards. I wanted to be happy, I wanted my children to have a positive life experience and I wanted us to enjoy our life together. I am proud of myself and I don't need anyone else to be proud of me. And that's a good feeling.