Whole and Wild Worth (A Lesson from the Unwise Ones)

Wholeness, I kept hidden, for fear it would undo me. Who am I to be as I am?

Growing up with the unwise ones as I call them, there was no room to grow, let alone feel one’s soul was enough in the first place. I instinctively knew at a very young age that I was valuable, but that value did not come from anyone in my family telling me it was so, or from a leader in church or a teacher at school. I just was. And so was everyone else. I didn’t realize this belief was not the norm in our household and that somehow it was a threat to others who had forgotten their own self-worth and ultimately their right to individuate beyond a dysfunctional family system.

For many children who grow up in abusive environments, it is the most basic right to individual beliefs and identity that get repeatedly undermined or impaired. There are zero boundaries, in fact, boundaries are often extremely violated, and there is absolutely no guidance on how to achieve or create a life of one’s own.

Because to the unwise ones, we are not our own, we belong to them and their very miniscule perception of who we are and who we can be. We exist to believe and behave in ways that comply with the cycle of their addiction or maladaptive behavior, because, sadly, we learn this is the only way to receive love and acceptance from them. If we oppose them, if we are angry or speak our truth about any pain or abuse they caused us, there is never any remorse, and we become the scapegoat for their suffering. Love is always absent or denied.

Of course one can never stand out too far from their achievements, and if we do, there is a price to pay. I’ll never forget the day I wanted to talk to my mother about what I was learning in a college course. She snapped, “I didn’t go to college. I have nothing to say to you about it.” If I was made to feel "good" about any achievement, money was the focus. “You spend all this money on college, I sure hope you can be rich and successful, then it will be worth it.” It doesn’t matter what is achieved internally, it ultimately has to prove valuable to the rest of the family’s sick idea of what they can gain by profiting off of it.

My parents constantly asked me for money, or stole it. In their minds they had every right to take any income I earned. I always thought this was normal and that most parents need financial support from their children. Instead of guiding me to save and to strive to build my own life and independence, I had to pay for their help and continually feel reliant on them at the same time.

In my childhood I learned that I couldn’t survive on my own, so that in some way my mother would always be needed and in control. As I got older, the unwise ones held it over my head and asked for more money. They complained about their financial problems and told me it was my fault they would lose their house because I was selfish and went to an expensive school.

Of course I felt so guilty and ashamed. I would give into them. It was clearly mentally and emotionally abusive, but I couldn’t see it at the time. I now recognize how deeply wounding this dynamic is and I understand why children guided by unwise hands often struggle with trusting they can identify beyond the co-dependency of toxic relationships, and even more, enliven their soul and spirit back to that original wholeness.

At some point, my instinctive value was reconditioned, and so I existed as a shadow of myself. I hid my natural gifts and desires to be an artist, a creator of my own dreams and visions. Little did the unwise ones know, they set the stage for me. What they attempted to sabotage only went into hiding for a while. I am more and more of what they never hoped I’d be. A woman who knows her true value, her whole and wild worth. A woman who creates a life fully, and freely, from that knowing.

Rise and remember the worth of your wings They are born with you

through trial and error A grace to open

And faith

to fly again

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