A Place of Empowerment
Last summer, I was blessed to be part of a small group of adults who grew up in homes like mine. Our wonderful hostess and champion, Dr. Suzanne Chabaud, invited us to join her in New Orleans for a Summit of adult-children of hoarders. She welcomed us to the Dante house with open doors, and open arms. All of us were touched deeply by our experience.
This week, I got the opportunity to return to visit Dr. Chabaud. My brothers and sisters from the hoard were not all here, and so the dynamic was different, but when I walked through the back door of the Dante house and through the kitchen, I was transformed.
Where my childhood home had so many negative memories attached to it, this house has only beautiful, warm feelings to serve as reminders of who I am, who I've been, and who I can become. I truly believe that when I walk through that door, I became all the things I've ever wanted to be--strong, beautiful, articulate, caring, encouraging and courageous. It was almost as though the back door was an eraser of the wrongs in my past.
Last summer, Dr. C and I had a conversation when we were in San Diego. During that conversation, Dr. C became the nurturing parent that I needed as a child. Our conversation replaced the broken tape recording of my childhood in which I repeatedly belittled myself with the same criticism over and over.
"You are so smart! Whatever you choose to do, you will be brilliant and successful!" That's the message I hear in my head these days. Sometimes the broken tape recording starts, but it's drowned out these days by the encouraging words of a nurturing, kind parent.
For all my fellow Summit-ees, I've missed being here without you. Each of you holds a very dear place in my heart and I cannot wait to see each and every one of you again.
I'm sharing the giraffe picture, because I found some symbolism in that painting and our lives. When you stand directly in front of the picture and look at it head on, you see this beautiful giraffe. But remember, when you step to the side and look at it from an angle, there is texture in the background that forms musical notes. The world sees us now, only head on. They only see the obvious picture. But there are some who dare to step to the side and look at us in a different light or angle, and they see something wonderful and beautiful--music notes hidden in texture.
What we've faced and endured is wrong and unfair. But there is an underlying element in the painting of our lives that our survival and empowerment speaks to. Each day, I pray that you will look at yourself and each other from that other angle and bask in the hidden beauty of YOU!