Proud, such an important and under used word in my opinion.
Growing up with parents divorcing gave me a great deal of pain as a child, and I went through life wanting my parents to be proud of me. Being split between the two of them, I lost my way as a child, and felt punished and unloved. I yearned for the family environment, family Christmas, family meals, and the laughter we once had together.
As the years went on, I struggled to find my feet, and just drifted through life being a follower. No career in mind, no drive, no motivation, and just getting through life seemed like a chore, and one which I didn’t really enjoy in my teenage years. Having the lack of a family unit hugely impacted my school years, my exams, and my mental health, and I continued to just bumble along.
I felt the pressure to make both parents proud, and ensure that they both still wanted to spend time with me. My Dad lived hours away, and my Mum was working several jobs at the time, and it was always about getting through the day. As a child you blame yourself for divorce, you question what you did wrong, and if they love you anymore. I wanted so much to make them proud, I went to college, I secured my first job, however still wasn’t proud of myself.
I then lost my Dad to cancer at the age of 18, and to this day I will never know if he was proud of me. Had I done enough, achieved enough, shown enough drive in life? I needed to challenge myself and prove what I was capable of, not just to them, but to my brothers, and also to myself.
I moved to London, no job to go to, no home, but I was going anyway. A short stay with friends and then into my first bedsit, and into my first temp job, woohoo! Fast forward a number of years and several roles in, I was working in Covent Garden, and sharing a house in Docklands, and most people thought I was living the dream. Was that enough to make me proud of myself, it didn’t feel like it.
For me, being proud would come from my state of mind, and not from my salary at the time or the material things around me, and after over 10 years of struggling to work this out, I had my moment. What the hell was I doing in the rat race, it wasn’t me, it never was, and I couldn’t stand the fake people around me.
I relocated back to the South West, and into a new role, didn’t enjoy it and left. Next role, didn’t enjoy it either, left again. Went back to London for a few months to my safety net, nope, still not happy, and far from proud at this point. Back to the South West, new role, nope, still not right, however a chance to step up within a solid career. Two years later, redundant, new role again, nope, time to move on, next new role, redundant yet again, and then stop! Stand still, and breathe woman! I was now over 40 years old and felt like I had been on a fairground ride for the last 20 years!
So… what finally made me proud…
Leaving those miserable jobs, fake people, material things, rat race, and uncomfortable financial situations behind. Following my heart, my mind, my bohemian spirit, and my flip flops!
Drawing on my corporate background, my business and personal experiences in life, my knowledge, my skills, and my personality, and going it alone. Making connections with those I can really help, people who want some guidance and support. Those going through what I went through, always doubting themselves, and striving for perfection. Doing the right thing, being authentic, and challenging when necessary, this has always been me, and I’m no longer afraid of the outcomes.
My mum recently told me how proud she was, and this meant the world to me. We’ve been apart for several years, and are now rebuilding our relationship, and hearing those words, at that time, speechless…
My Dad, well, I’m sure he has looked down from above over the years and laughed a lot, my crazy adventures, my crazy ideas, my crazy jobs. I’m sure I’ve heard him over my shoulder saying “really’, on more than one occasion. For every time I’ve stood up to be heard within a corporate workplace, I feel proud, proud of myself for challenging. Most importantly though, I’ve overcome it all, and as Elton John would say… I’m still standing!
I have some war wounds, mentally and physically, and these are part of who I am. Never be ashamed of what you’ve been through, just always BE PROUD that you have survived it all and come out the other side.