Don't Tell Me What To Do, Kelly Hogaboom Bespoke Hogaboom

I once told my mother I was thinking about getting voice lessons. Like so many people, l love to sing. And I wanted to get better at it!

At the time I was in my late teens. My mother and I were sitting at the piano when I told her my intention. I remember this moment as clear as day. She took her hands off the piano, looked at me, said, “You?” and laughed – meanly.

***

You know what, I know my mother pretty well but to this day I honestly can’t tell you why she was a jerk like that. It could be as simple as her teasing me and thinking it was funny. See we have that “teasing” streak in our family – I used to think it was cool but it’s some of the most cowardly behavior because you can tease a family member instead of being honest and dealing with your own shit.

Anyway she could have just been snotty. It’s fun to judge her but let’s be real: I’ve teased my own children when I shouldn’t. And I regret it. We’ve all done stuff like that.

But her comment could have been something more sinister. It could be that she wanted to hurt my feelings. Or that she was/is jealous of me.

Who knows.

But ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.

She wasn’t the first or the last family member, teacher, grownup who (tried to) put me in my place while I was growing up.

Listen: parents, teachers, grownups, etc – they make mistakes. 

We all do. 

We’re all human.

The problem with the whole pickle is – like I shared last Tuesday – if you grow up hearing enough of that stuff it can really affect you. I’m forty-five now and I am still painfully peeling off layers of self-doubt and confusion. I’ve been known to seek validation in the wrong places.

And this is because of all those grownups who tried to squash me when I was younger (and some of them try to squash me now).

Don’t get it twisted: I’m not particularly blaming, or even angry with the people who said/say the wrong thing, who put me down, who shrugged me off when I needed support, or gave me crappy “advice” (ie. spoke from their own unresolved traumas).

Nothing wrong with being angry – and stay angry as long as you need to. Really.

What’s more important to me today, is to forensically deconstruct the past, re-write my response, and move forward.

That’s what’s best for me –

and what’s best if I want to support others.

***

Two days ago I was talking with a friend about this stuff, and she told me the following:

“The first time I did a DIY French manicure was in late elementary school. I was so excited and impressed with myself. I didn’t have any special tools or materials, just some pearl white polish and topcoat. I lived with an abusive family member at the time who required me to ask permission before using any makeup or body care products and most of the time she said no. I got permission to paint my nails but did not explicitly get permission to do a French manicure. When I came out to show my abuser my lovely nails, she rolled her eyes and said it looked silly. Which hurt a great deal and made me feel like the creative energy and vision I had were only in my mind, not real. What’s worse is, my nails weren’t completely dry yet. She called me over and one by one literally smooshed/smeared all ten nails and made me wear it to school like that for the entire week. I was gutted.

“This is one small example of the ways in which my creativity was discouraged and diminished. I can still feel the ridges from her fingerprints in the polish, in my mind. It was like decades before I tried another DIY French manicure. I still brace myself for failure every time I do it.”

Ouch!

We all have these stories.

They hurt.

***

See: that’s the thing.

When we’re hurt deeply – especially by someone we trust (or are biologically wired to depend on), by someone we thought was supposed to protect us, all that jazz – 

it can be really hard to recover.

But here’s one thing I know:

We are the only ones with the power – and responsibility-  to start healing this stuff. Or at bare minimum – looking at it, knowing it operates on us.

If I’m waiting around for the person who hurt me to come around offering an apology and amends, before I can move on?

Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen.

It might. 

But it probably won’t.

You hear a lot of self-help ish about resentment, but here’s what I have to say about it:

Resentment is waiting around for a different past.

Resentment keeps me from living my life!

So what I’ve had to learn to to is to move out of resentment back into anger – get fired up, burn it all out – and move on!

I have had to let go of so many conversations, beliefs, institutions, and even people – so many clownhorns who said something rude or diminishing. Maybe they were clumsy, maybe they were trying to be cruel, maybe they were jealous (they often are!) – whatever.

Our culture thinks we need to have these big snappy comebacks or prove those dorks wrong or whatever.

But I’m here to tell you: 

It’s okay to just drop them. And if my brain picks them back up, keep dropping them again.

It’s okay to push that shit out of my braincase, and focus.

Focus on unsquashing myself.

The work can be fast, or slow (it’s usually slow).

But I dunno… I am here for it.

I am worth learning what my real story is going to be

***

If you like what I have to share, and you’re willing to invest time in your dream – I’d love to work with you formally!

You can read more about my course here (or – get my emails).

You can read about, and apply for, mentorship here.