Pretty Little Challenge: Defining a Challenge
A Challenge can be defined as “to confront or defy boldly; to call out to combat; to order to halt or prove identity.” In many ways, I have always felt a challenge. It was only until recently that I began to connect the dots and realize, that although I put my boundaries up and stand my ground, I am still a challenge.

One of the first challenges I ever felt was the challenge to be loved. Was I even lovable? And if so, would I push it away? How could someone love me if I didn’t feel loved from the beginning? I didn’t even love myself.

From childhood, anxiety called me to battle, to challenge me. But I didn’t even know he was my enemy. I didn’t even know he was a separate entity. But I had to step up or run. And for a very long time, I ran and ran, but never found that inner peace.

I thought it was my job to people please. I did not know that you can have your strong opinions and be unapologetically you and have people love you. That didn’t seem real. Love and acceptance always came with conditions. They challenged me to silence me. It worked for a while. So, I ultimately had to betray myself.

Did you know that I thought you had to prove that you are worthy? Yep. I was challenged to prove that I was worth of anything; that I was more than a pretty face. But that was just so they could pull the puppet strings and try and control my thoughts and behaviors. They succeeded. And when they didn’t succeed, I rebelled and disappointed myself. I was supposed to be tough like a man, but lady-like with only a smile. How was I supposed to walk this tight rope?

But then, I was challenged to be independent. Yes, this was after I was supposed to be cute and smile. Then the ageists came around and challenged me to be everything I was told to or insinuated not to be. My codependency shook with fear as my independent thoughts raged with fire in her eyes. How was I supposed to be everything I wanted to be? Was it still inside of me? This was a change I wanted but feared. And who was I going to disappoint? I felt so inadequate in the beginning. How was I going to do this? I am my own teacher? This was definitely a challenge.

I was a full-grown adult with the independence of a 10-year-old; a bratty, frustrated, and inexperienced kid. But it was a long time coming that I adulted. Mostly everyone assumed someone else would do that for me. That would be my life of luxury. So, they groomed me for the life they thought I would want, or maybe it was the life they wanted for me. When I failed to give them the lip service and the success stories to tell others, it was up to me to figure it out. I would be on my own with little support and encouragement. That stung deep within my soul and still stings on my journey of experiencing, healing, and growth.

Starting over time and time again seemed like a necessity, not a challenge. But it was a challenge I took upon myself. Part of me wanted to continue to grow, and another part of me only knew the same verse of suffering. I was torn and worn. I had to keep going, but I knew that things had to be different.

I had to start accepting myself. I could not love myself like I thought. I hated myself so much that I figured the fine line between love and hate could apply to me. But it did not. I had to learn to take baby steps and accept me for me. This seemed impossible, and inconsistent. I battled with the hate, and the hate still rears its ugly head from time to time. Sometimes, more than I like and would like to admit. But I am on my way, and I am doing what I can. To be continued...
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