Let me tell you a story. It’s a tale of two women.
The first woman was born to teenaged parents. She was extremely shy and usually only had one friend at a time. Her parents were alcoholic drug addicts and violent toward each other. There was always yelling in her house growing up and money was always tight. For four years, she lived way out in the boonies without running water or electricity. She was close to her paternal grandparents who provided some relief from a difficult home life. When she was twelve years old, her uncle sexually abused her. She tried to tell her mother, but she didn’t know how. Later, her maternal grandmother told her sexual abuse was just a fact of life and wasn’t something that should be spoken of. This woman thrived in high school where good grades boosted her self esteem. She lived for good grades. She started dating when she was fourteen, lost her virginity when she was sixteen and was engaged to be married to her high school sweetheart. Just before her sophomore year of college, a good friend died a tragic death. One month later her mother died after being in a car accident. Then a month after that, her grandfather passed away. During the aftermath of losing her mother, her father went to prison and her little sister was put into foster care after being sexually abused by the same uncle. After living with her for a year, her little sister chose to go back into the foster care system, and years later they still do not have a good relationship. She became estranged from her mother’s sister, who she was close to as a child. Transition to motherhood was difficult for this woman, and while she loves her three children, she often wonders if she is doing enough to be a good mother. In more recent years, this woman has learned to enjoy life, relying on her faith, despite her unhappy history. She is now in her late 30s and feels like she has lost herself and searches for her purpose in life.
Woman Number Two grew up in the same small town as the first. She had a loving mother who read to her constantly and worked hard to make life as good as possible. Her father was a hard worker who did his best to provide for their family. When he wasn’t at work he was whistling, singing and watching football. She was very close to her two sisters as well as her extended family who lived nearby. Her grandparents introduced her to the Church, which has become a defining factor in her life. Her family enjoyed much time in the outdoors swimming, fishing, camping, biking and hiking. Because she was a hard worker all throughout school, she was the first person in her family to go to college. She also enjoyed many different extra-curricular activities and learning opportunities outside of school. She graduated with a degree in four years and was married to the love of her life during that time. She realized her dream of becoming a stay-at-home mom to three smart, strong, fun children. For five years, she homeschooled her children, reinvigorating her love of learning. She has been able to travel throughout the United States, and recently moved to Germany, visiting many different cities Europe with her family. She is also now in her late thirties, planning and dreaming about her future.
Which one would you rather be?
I’d rather be Woman Number Two. But truthfully? I am both. These stories are both about me. The first one focuses on the negative things that have happened to me and the second, of course, focuses on the positive. Isn’t it incredible that just a difference of perspective can change a story so drastically? What story do you tell about yourself?