When I first started working on this book, four chapters wrote themselves...and then the words stopped.
All of my life I have secretly feared being negatively judged by others. You may not know this about me because I'm a pretty good actress.
I grew up in a town that was small in size, but large in judgment.
I was a "Cloud" (my maiden name). My Dad and Uncle made national news when they shot at a game warden and went to prison. I was a promiscuous teenager...always seeking "love" from men that I didn't get from my father. I got pregnant during my Senior year of high school and promptly divorced my husband two years later because I thought I was in love with another man.
In short, despite fearing judgment, I gave people plenty of ammunition to judge me. I couldn't help being born into the Cloud family...that judgment I didn't deserve, but all of my other actions, well I made those choices. And I eventually faced the consequences.
People thought I was a snob and acted like I was "better than them". No, I was shy. I was insecure. I didn't feel like I was worthy of love. So I made myself an unlovable person. I was selfish. I carried anger around like a shield to keep love away. I was hateful. I was mean. I was broken and didn't know how to fix myself. To protect myself against judgment, I built up a huge wall. I wouldn't let people close enough to see the real me. I pretended I didn't care what others thought of me...and I did whatever the fuck I wanted. I hurt people. I let them hurt me.
I didn't want or need judgment...I needed love...but not love from others. Love from myself. I never loved me.
These last ten months, I have been trying to find myself; trying to learn to love me. I've found it is harder than I thought it would be. I go to bed every night whispering to myself, "You are loved". I wake myself with the same mantra. "I love you, Brandy. You are loved."
And there are days that I still don't believe it.
I often think of Noelle's death as a sacrifice for me. Had she not died, I would have never taken the steps I am now to really see myself as a person, to fix what's broken inside me. And that makes me hate myself even more. Her birth fixed part of my broken soul, holding her in my arms was the first time I ever felt loved. Her death, well her death is forcing me to fix the rest. Because if I can't love me...I will not survive this. But I'll be damned if I disappoint her. I disappointed her enough in life. I refuse to disappoint her in death.
Funny how a song can give you courage.
I debated posting that blog. Even though I have written numerous times about how Noelle's death has effected me, I have never so bluntly said...I am depressed...I didn't want to post the blog because I didn't want people to worry about me and because I didn't want them to judge me.
My sister-in-law shared my post and for the most part it was well received, but there was an individual who chose to cast judgment. The message was completely lost to this person because of my foul language and it was decided that all I really needed was God.
Amber deleted the comment to spare my feelings. I wish she hadn't. Leaving that comment on her page would have given me the opportunity to face the judgment and keep my head held high. What this person doesn't know about me is that I HAVE found God in this tragedy. He has never been lost from me. He works on me every day, and believe it or not...he doesn't mind my cussing. He knows my heart. Furthermore, He is the only one allowed to judge me...not hypocritical Christians...not even myself.
I am not going to change the way I talk for fear of offending someone or being judged by them, because the people who really NEED to hear what I have to say will not be offended, nor will they judge me. They have walked down my path. They can relate...and they are OK with the word, "fuck".
I think that first little taste of "public judgment" was a nudge from God, a way to absolve my fear of putting down on paper for anyone to see the worst parts of me. Writing this is another step in letting go of that fear. I mean, fuck, I just told you some pretty nasty shit about myself. Maybe now I can stop being afraid and continue working on my book. Maybe somewhere out there someone feels the same way I do and needs to read this so they can begin the process of loving themselves and let go of their fear. Maybe they too need to understand they can "Rise Up".
"Everyone may not be good, but there's always something good in everyone. Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."