As a young girl I wanted my own tower in my home. One where I would reign over the neighborhood and see the hooligan that throws the wet newspaper at the glass door – un-sticking and defrosting it would take hours and sometimes bits of news would be stuck on the door for days, resembling a collage. I suppose it all started from there, and from my mother telling me that I was the boy she had always wanted. At the time I thought it was interestingly confusing, looking back I realize she saw strength in me before I even knew it existed.
I would come home from school getting into all kinds of rambunctious altercations and try to hide behind my mother’s allegorical skirt – she was more of a pants kind of lady and would send me marching back to fight my own battles, telling me, if I started it, I would have to finish it and hopefully with dignity and calm. So off I would go, sobbing and facing school bullies, stopping them in mid head-thwart to tell them the perils of their actions and that karma was not someone to reckon with. Did that stop the head-bop? Momentarily, and then the usual shoving the small kid into the wall game would ensue. It got me thinking that if some children were this cruel how on earth would I handle the adults in the future? Were all adults bullies in some form? What was my protection? How much did I believe in myself? These were the questions that plagued nine year old me. I learnt that my voice, however small, should have a chance to be heard.
My father had once told me that I was a different child, that when all the other kids were out having burgers with their friends I was home, reading and creating a little world for myself, quite content with my own company. I have a chuckle now thinking different really meant I was already building my own inner tower and didn’t even know it. Having a mother that gave me the freedom of choice in whatever I desired to do made a huge difference, even if it meant staying home and reading Enid Blyton books over and over. She challenged me to think out aloud for myself and the rest came innately and not so gracefully at first. Just because you want your opinion to be heard you can’t enforce it, there is a timing and tact to everything the written and spoken word has to offer. Something I began to learn as I built this tower.
As I grew older it became more evident that I dismissed the idea of a repressive tower and dreamt of a castle instead, one where I would be able to celebrate what I had already achieved instead of housing hefty ideals. Learning a lot about myself in this process of affirmative imagination, I found that in life, we allow ourselves to get bullied because we give the other person permission to do so but even when we do that, we eventually come to understand that the greatest lesson one can learn is that how we see ourselves is ultimately how we will see the world. At some point a person forgets that they need to treat themselves the way they treat the ones they love so much. That means taking time out to nurture yourself in whatever way that makes you content. It could mean pampering yourself; a walk on a beautiful day, spending extra time with loved ones, taking a day off work, a busy schedule and just revel in being you. Appreciating yourself and all your attributes can be one of the most challenging things you can set out to do. Why is it when we look in the mirror we tend to see most of our flaws than what is beautiful? Is human nature so programmed to weed out the weak attributes and play them in our minds over and over until we have exhausted ourselves trying to fix a problem that only exists in our heads?
We build towers for ourselves all the time. A place where we house all our fears and all that we see wrong with us, what we need to change, finish or start. Why not build castles based on what we have, can appreciate and have learnt in life? Definitely easier said that done, and to be aware of it is a start. Now you’re aware, so start. One way that you can commence is to be in the now. You’ve heard this a thousand times before but ask yourself what does it really mean? I’ll tell you in a nutshell. It means to be grateful for all the moments that you are presented with. Now. Easy- peasy. You can be in a room full of family members, and be joyful that you have all those you love around you, some family that you may not love so much and some you secretly think were adopted. Just be grateful because this moment, the one you are in, is never going to return. Revel in it, laugh at what gives you disdain and discomfort and create a happy memory.
Demolish the tower and build a castle. I did. You can.
Sure people can visit the castle, stay, leave, but it remains my castle, a place of value that embodies who I am, to the core. This portable castle where I can remind myself each day that I am deserving to be on this planet, that I am worth every minute of time anyone spends with me and that I have a great love for who I am and an even greater acceptance and love for others. It’s challenging at times, and often I am forced to step out of my peaceful demeanor to stand up for what is right, but that’s what makes this castle stronger. Each brick is built on strength, will, love and stamina. Without the hard work it wouldn’t be able to remain sturdy. I definitely am the queen of my castle where I often face the reflection of my self worth. What greater riches are there than the ones that reside within ourselves? No matter how turbulent your day is, you can always remind yourself of the values you have been taught, learned through your experiences and most importantly the ones that you embrace.
Sometimes we’re really not so different from our younger selves, we just forget how easy it is to reside in the present moment and know that life is constantly unfolding in splendid ways even if it doesn’t seem that way at first glance.