Peace

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How can we have it in the world, when we’re constantly at war with ourselves? By the age of 11 or 12, I had had an ample amount of experiences where I felt judged, embarrassed, shamed or less than to figure out I didn’t need other people or outside forces to make me feel less than, I could do it all by myself. Through negative self talk, I’m not popular enough, athletic enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, talented enough, smart enough, organized enough the list goes on and on, and as a result, I developed my self worth.

By the time I was in my early twenties it was clear, I surely wasn’t enough. At 23 I was already married and had given birth to my twins, Grace and Gianni. This would make me enough. But now I had new shortcomings to add on top off my ever growing list. Now I wasn’t a good enough wife, I didn’t want sex enough, I didn’t keep the house clean enough, and my skills in the kitchen certainly weren’t enough. As a mom I constantly questioned, do I discipline enough, do I teach my kids what they need in life enough, do I give enough of my attention, do I nurture enough, do I encourage enough? As a professional do I work enough, make enough, know enough, blah blah blah.

Good lord it’s exhausting, no wonder we can’t find peace. And I say we because I know this list is not all that foreign to you and you can probably add several things to it. But let’s get back to the word “peace”. When was the last time you felt like you really had it? A day at the beach, a spa day, a good book in a quiet place? How about everyday peace? Is that even possible?

Ok I have to share… I’m writing this in the airport and sitting across from me a little chihuahua just went nuts barking and scared half of us out of our seats. The owner, an elderly lady, pulled out a water bottle long after the dog had calmed down and holding the dog like a purse pointed it at her face saying quite sternly “no bark, no bark”. Now we all know that wasn’t to really discipline the dog, especially since no water was squirted. That was to show all of us she was in control. She needed to make a statement that she was completely capable of controlling the 6lb ball of ferocious fur. I’m sure it brought her some peace the smiles a few of us gave her that it was all ok, but the glares from the other passengers had her completely unraveled.

Do you have peace stealers? Worrying about what other people think? Saying yes when you really want to say no? Worrying about paying your bills? About loosing weight? If your partner is cheating on you? Or do they love you at all anymore? Are the kids making the grades, behaving? It’s an endless list when it comes to our kids!

I don’t have a magic answer to slay the peace stealers, but what I do know is we can begin to take our peace back. One of my biggest peace stealers is that I procrastinate and put things off I’m not comfortable doing, often making what isn’t a big deal turn into one because I’ve put it off for so long instead of just dealing. Guess what, there’s an answer. I could just do it. Oh that’s silly, I’d rather stress myself out, put it off,  loose sleep and suffer the consequences.

What’s stealing your peace? What peace do you steal from others? Can you change it? Or maybe it’s just accepting its out of your control and you just have to let it be? Trust it will all be ok.

I’m coming home from a trip to see my mom. It’s been two years. My mom stresses me out. She steals my peace. Actually NO, she really doesn’t. Just like when I was a kid I’ve learned to do that all by myself. I want to control and change things, and because she doesn’t become what I want her to be, I live in a constant state of “no peace” or stress when I am around her. Was this visit easy, not always. Was it stressful? Sometimes. Did I loose my patience? No. Normally I would have, but this time I said I’d accept my mom exactly the way she is, the same way I expect and want her to accept me. I can’t tell you how much peace that brought me. We were probably both a little less stressed because of that simple decision.

I’m a constant work in progress, but I’m learning the work doesn’t have to be so hard. We make it hard. I do want peace in my life. So I’m willing to work towards it, I’m willing to trust that what I can’t control will take care of itself. I do the next right thing and other things seem to fall into place. Then and only then I start to feel better about myself. I’m finally figuring out this self worth thing. We give it to ourselves. No one else can give it to us. That means we are in charge of just how much we have.

Today measure your self worth, find your peace. Once you’ve found it, then you can share it, and one by one we just might make this world a better place. 

In her words…

Quetcy was 17 when I featured her as the Troy, NY Girl Noticed. Her bravery and resilience does not go unnoticed. She owns her story and continues to push through. She has allowed herself to be vulnerable in telling her story.

With her permission I share this with you in her words.

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“The Story of Me” by Quetcy Jacobs
Everyone has a story, some stories are good and some are bad but through all the stories there are meaningful messages to them all. I hope to share my story with you all and I hope to inspire all of you who read this.

It all began a little before birth, I was born premature to a mother who was addicted to all sorts of illegal substances and she did things that weren’t healthy for her or the babies that she was carrying; or even those around her. She was an unstable individual. Let’s just say my journey into this world wasn’t easy. If any of you were to look at me, physically I would appear average, if any of you were to look at me, mentally I would appear average. You wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at someone what there life story was. This is why I am sharing mine with all of you. I don’t really remember much from birth so I am going to skip a few years…

My birth mother was unable to care for me in the proper way, and because of this I was given to my paternal aunt. From the moment that decision was made, I remained in the custody of my aunt for a few years. Those years weren’t the best years of my life.

There were some days that were good but there were some days that were bad. As a child, I was physically and mentally abused. As far as education went, my aunt and uncle, whom I called “mom and dad” rarely took me to school. I didn’t really have friends, I didn’t even know how to make friends. I lacked so many skills that are important to a child’s development. On the days that I didn’t go to school I remember being very sad. School was like an escape for me. An escape from the chaos and havoc in my life. I felt like I was living a different life while I was at school.
I was always kept inside, isolated from the outside world. Due to the instability of my environment, living with my paternal aunt and uncle, I was removed and put into foster care.
My years in foster care were from ages 7 till about the age of 10. I bounced around from foster home to foster home. I wasn’t an angel. I was at times a misbehaved little child. I was very rambunctious. I was afraid to let anyone in. Afraid, that someone would hurt me. My life didn’t really get better until I was about 10 years old. On my tenth birthday my then fabulous social worker, took me to the park where I was going to meet my foster parents that were soon going to be my adoptive parents. That visit to the park was one of the best visits. I remember playing scrabble with my soon to be foster parents and laughing. It was then that I knew my life would completely change…. for the better!

I am very happy with the life that I have now. Two moms and a family that I can call my own is the greatest thing that I could ever ask for. My parents are the light of my life, they are my whole world. They inspire me to reach for the stars and strive to be the best that I can be. Both of my parents believe that education is very important so I made it a point to make education a huge part of my life. I managed to graduate at the top of my class and I even received the only scholarship that there was from my principal as well as getting a music recipient award from my music teacher.

“Flash Forward”
Fast forward to the year 2016-17
I am 18 years old about to be 19. I am an active member in the LGBT community. I am happy to be in a community that accepts individuals for who they are, flaws and all. Back then being gay, wasn’t the easiest thing for anyone; but things have changed quite a bit, especially when the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. This was a huge positive turning point for many.

Knowing that you no longer have to hide is one of the greatest things in the whole wide world! I love life, even though life is hard I manage to find the good in every situation no matter how big or how small. When my skies are grey, I use the one gift that God gave me. My voice. I sing whenever I can. I sing in the car, in my room, and in public. I just recently sang at my parents wedding. I am still so happy that my parents were able to get married.

Over all, life is rough but with love and God on your side everything will be okay. I leave you with this: “ We may not have it all together, but together we have it all”

I just want to thank Lori Pratico for giving me the opportunity to write in her blog and share my life experiences with those around me. I hope that you all find my story inspiring and leave knowing that you are not alone!

If you would like to share your story, email girlnoticed@gmail.com