Monday, February 2, 2015

Imagine That....I am 30!

I am 30. Can you imagine that? Well, yeah you probably can. Ha ha ha. Let me tell you, despite all the ribbing I get from my friends, Stu, and loved ones; I am pretty excited to be 30 years old, and to start a new decade of my life. I look forward to more stability, our growing family, and for some reason, I feel more like an adult now. Never mind that I am a mom of two boys, and I've been on my own since I was 22. 

My twenties was full of beautiful chaos. It had a lot of instability of ups, and downs. There was so many lessons I had learned. Some were more painful than others. But you know what C.S. Lewis say about pain, and experience? Experience: That most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. 

I definitely do feel that my 20s was all about personal growth, and becoming authentic myself. While I was mature for my age growing up, but it was more of an intellectual maturity than it was emotional. Looking back, I believe that emotional maturity, and growth had a lot to do with experience. The more experience we got, the wiser we became (hopefully).

I noticed that with every life change, people either came, or left from our lives. People were there to teach us how to become people we are meant to become. Sometimes, we had to learn how to embrace, or let them go. I nearly had lost some of my close friends, because we were going through different life stages, and could no longer relate to each other. Fortunately, our paths met up, became parallel, and we reconnected. Matter of fact, we became closer than ever. It enabled me to appreciate my friends, old and new, and to always let them know that they are special to me.

One of the growths I had learned from was losing one of my close friends that I met at Gallaudet. It hurt a lot to lose our friendship, yet it turned to be one of the best things that ever happened. The loss was necessary in order to propel me through a battlefield of facing my emotions...especially the negative ones. You see, I never liked to deal with negative emotions, and often repressed them. As result, I was stifled...stuck...and motionless. I grieved over that loss, got angry, then sad, and then, I accepted it.

That enabled me to face negative feelings, process them, and embrace them. I came out of the battlefield; slightly charred, yet stronger. I survived. I did not break. My world did not shatter. I lived. Oh wow.

This happened all while I was pregnant with Forrest. This pregnancy also changed my life. In a sense, being pregnant with Forrest saved my life. It slapped me awake into wanting to stay healthy. In order to take care of a growing baby inside me, I also had to take care of myself.

By the time, I had my second boy, FDR; he compounded that determination I had within myself to be healthy so I can be there for my boys, and not to have them feel responsible for my well-being. It was not their job to do that. It was mine. It was my job to take care of their well-being. They deserved to be kids, you know, which was something I had very little of growing up, due to my struggles with being Deaf in personal life, and in school, being the oldest caused me to feel very responsible for everybody, and having to grow up pretty quick in order to survive in the hearing world. Anyway, my boys taught me to not to take life so seriously, and to be a kid once in while! Becoming a mother also opened my eyes to how hard parenting was, and in itself, it made me appreciative of my parents.

My boys were a part of my process of learning to love myself, and other part was finally embracing my Deaf identity. I no longer felt ashamed about my Deafness. Attending Gallaudet university, being a part of the Deaf world, and meeting different Deaf people prompted my growth as a Deaf woman. I learned that there was no "one right way" to be Deaf. There was no specific set of characteristics to be a true Deaf person, and be automatically a part of the Deaf world. I was already a part of the Deaf world all along.

It was simple. I embraced myself. Suddenly, everything made sense. I became confident, assertive, and less afraid to take charge of things.

I am a Deaf woman. That is all I need to know. I am okay with being the way I am. My Deafness is not an embarrassment, a hindrance, an obstacle, or a condition to be "fixed" in order to belong somewhere. My Deafness is a gift. After all, it is what makes me...ME!

My relationship was also a huge learning curve in my 20s. Before Stu came along, I dated random guys, and did not really want a serious relationship. I was rather adamant that if a guy wanted to be in a serious relationship with me, then he had to learn sign language. Then Stu came along. We fell in love. He learned my language, imagine that, and that was when I knew he was the one for me. While I said that my boys, and my own self exploration led me to love myself, he was the one who loved me when I didn't, and I was really grateful to him for that.

We went through a lot as a couple, and as an individuals in the past 10 years. Some of the situations could have broken us up, because we were immature, and young. We could have handled some things better. We could have reacted to some situations better. Yada Yada, and Yada. We also went through a long distance relationship. It was a turning point in our lives, because we had to question whether we were right for each other long-term, due to us changing so much. Life experiences did that;  caused us to change, and find ourselves. It was not always easy. Love. Shakespeare once said, "The course of true love never did run smooth".

Fortunately, we came out of this stronger, and learned how to communicate better. We strove to better ourselves in order to create a stronger bond between ourselves. It was a part of reason why it took us a long time to tie the knot. We wanted to be a good team. We wanted to make sure that we were the right ones (we were, but we needed time to show us that) for each other. We needed to grow as an individual in some areas first. We were not perfect when we first got married, and love kept us together.

We still aren't perfect. We are imperfectly perfect for each other. We are still learning our roles as parents, as husband and wife, and always revising our roles in order to maintain a strong bond. We are firm believers that good parenting is a result of a good marriage. I feel pretty lucky to have Stu in my life. We balance, and keep each other grounded. We work well as a team. It is not saying that we are ALWAYS perfect, work together smoothly, and never have any issues. That is unrealistic. After all, we are only human beings. However, what makes us work so well is that we accept our mistakes, apologize, and move on.

Now I am older, I have more patience, and understanding to deal with harder moments in my life. Because that, I am calmer, and willing to roll with the punches. I hope that this model will teach my children to be the same. Or, maybe it is something they will have to learn on their own. Nonetheless, they will have a good start by seeing that in their parents.

I'm glad we waited as long as we did to marry, and have children. Everything falls into the place at just right time for the right reason. I look forward to having one or maybe two more kids in the brood in my 30s, and raising them to become fine people. I look forward to see what life has to bring to us. Frank Sintra said it perfectly when he said, "The Best is Yet to Come", because the best is coming. We already have had series of "best moments", and we will continue to have best moments.

There are so many defining moments in my 20s that prompted my personal growth such as losing Sweet Mama, Layla, and friends that meant so much to me. It does not only consist of sad moments, but of happy ones as well; meeting new people that became my good friends, earning my masters degree, being there for my best friends when they got married and start having babies of their own, marrying Stu, having my boys and watching them grow, watching my siblings marry, celebrating wonderful moments with family, and just loving life. Life is beautiful.

I look forward being authentic me in my 30s, and ... you know what, bring it on, the next 10 years!