Who is Karen if she were to be defined by "who she is" and not "who others see her to be?" I walked into healing 5 years ago and that was truly one of the things I seek-ed to find. Do I have my own personality, do I hold a place in this world that is mine? am I worth a place in this world? who am I?
The mantra that I lived by since childhood was "what's mine is yours, and what's yours is yours".
My whole way of living was about being what I needed to be; being what I had to be. The only place and time that I was myself, was within - and no one saw it because it was safer to keep it inside.
Whatever I did in life, it was never something I could call my own. Everyone owned a small piece of me, and I did what I could to try and make it my own when I could; but then again, at some point, it was always taken away.
I was in ballet for 13 years, but I was always the shadowed child who always took the back row, but yet others learned from my talent, and used them as their own.
I never danced in the front row showing what I had, what I could do, and what made me shine through my talents. Her name was Tina Antifinario! she was always the front front row girl; yet asked me to help her practice.
I was asked many times to help some of the girls practice their steps outside the room because I knew them by heart, but yet come time for recital, I was the shadow in the back .. never seen for who I was.
I stood in the sidelines always taking the left-overs of my own talents and the little things I "thought" I was good at, but no matter what , it was not good enough, and I was not seen.
At age 16, I finally had my SOLO before ending with Hanley Dance.. they finally got to see me for how good I was; the girl always in the back as the shadow to others.
Through school it was much like the same. I was never good enough! I tried to find my true unique self by trying to find the Karen under it all, but it was soon masked by silence and shame. I couldn't function in school because I always thought I was what was done to me, and I was not worth much of what I knew I was capable of.
People around me never took me for who I was, but for how they saw me (quiet and weird). I was purely defined by the result of who I had to be (reserved and always took the back row knowing I did it good; sometimes better than most - but was never allowed to shine).
The only time I felt I was me, was inside where no one could touch me.
I created my own world in my closet from the age of 5 even up until I was 17. While everyone else was out hanging out with friends, or out doing things with people - I was inside my closet or room with the door close writing to pen pals, finding my writing and my unique self with no one to see what my potential was underneath it all.
I didn't feel like the Karen I knew I was, I felt like a person moving through life according to everyone else and the way they wanted me to be, or the way they saw me to be.
When I started lifting weights and working out at the gym - instead of people saying "wow your doing a great job" they would say "that's great but don't over do it". or "maybe you should slow down, your going to hurt yourself". It felt as if people were afraid to see me succeed, when all I was doing was trying to find where I was underneath it all.
Instead of withdrawing inwards due to the life I had since I was a child, I was out there trying to find me - yet it still wasn't good enough - I WASNT GOOD ENOUGH.
I never stood out besides being the weird child who was quiet. I was stood out by the person who would back away when someone came towards me to approach me, or who wouldn't hug, or confront. I was the girl who rather stay home and write to pen pals, than to be out with other people - because the work to be something to everyone else, was just too much work for me.
I was known as the person who covered herself to not be seen.
I was the person who went through 2 O'Clock and everyone defined me by "woe she gets weird every day and wont talk, she must be rude" - that is what I felt defined me - but deep inside I always knew there was something about me, I just needed to find it - people needed to accept that I was something besides what "they" defined me to be.
When I walked into therapy to start my journey to heal, I lowered the walls to not only reveal myself to another person, but also to reveal myself to me; allowing me to open up who I was in a safe place where I was accepted without judgement.
Being in therapy these past 5 years has allowed me to find who Karen is without someone taking it away, or taking something from me to make it less mine. I showed up to find who Karen is underneath it all.
I found small things in the small therapy room that was provided for me, and found little things that defined "Karen" for who she was. Every little bit of what I found in myself, made me smile, because finally I was finding me. I felt these little special things that I do in therapy are finally the little things I can keep, to help me find who I am without someone taking it away from me.
The therapy room is my escape to where I matter to myself. I learned to love myself when I am there, because I am honoring me and no one else. I feel no one can rape me of who I truly am, or abuse who is really inside - I feel safe - I feel open to be who I want to be, I feel it's the only place right now that Karen is defined for "herself" than what everyone else wants her to be.
So, Who is Karen?
I am gentle, loving, caring, quiet - and soft spoken.
I love my morning coffee, and bringing it back home to sit in my reading room and enjoy that quiet time in the morning reading inspirational blogs.
I love to write. It is a PASSION of mine and has been since I was little. I am not perfect at it, but then again that is what makes it comforting, I dont have to be perfect, I can be just me.
I love God my creator, and I am challenged everyday to see the path he has put in front of me.
I love weather, I love all things exciting that makes my adrenaline rush straight to your head!
I love photography, it's life through a lens that I have a passion to capture.
I love to figure things out, and think outside the box. I love to find news ways to be better than I was the last time, but allowing myself the mistakes to learn from it.
When I hear a good song on my laptop, I love to get up and dance around my room and being completley GOOFY with no judgement on me (God may be laughing, but I am sure he is laughing with me).
I love going for drives in the car while listening to "fleetwood mac"
I love lifting weights and everything about it! I love to challenge myself and my strength.
I love goals, and love moving through them, mistakes and all.
I have a thick boston accent and proud of it (no I am not from NY)
My dream in life is work in "social work" to help children get out of abused homes.
I love to dance, not having to be overshadowed or put in the back row!
I hate shoes, and I am not a fan of talking on the phone, but love to write emails to express my feelings and emotions.
I love shopping for clothes, because I never had nice clothes growing up.
I have a tattoo on the back of my neck that stands for "faith courage and wisdom" .. and a small nose ring - both which defines me as being able to make my own decision - not being the person people "thought" I was. "oh Karen would never do that" - watch me!
I am compassionate and strong hearted! I am filled with gratitude and show people how much I appreciate them. Showing my gratitude is probably one of my favorite things to do in life - because it was less given to me.
I LOVE to love people when I get the same respect back.
I love to play practical jokes on people to get a chuckle, and I love to laugh when I can. I have been told that I am funny, and always make people smile.
I have to wash my feet in cold ice water every night before bed - I love clean feet, and can sleep better when they are cold.
The ocean is my sanctuary, It's all things powerful that God created, and it's beautiful to hear and see.
Now that I have learned to HUG, I love giving hugs.. and sometimes receiving them when I feel ok to accept.
I am a thinker, and love to spend a lot of time alone - but when you get to know me, I am chatty and loving towards the people I trust and care about.
I am many things that a lot of people don't see.
In therapy I have found who I am, and what I love about myself. This is a place where it's safe for me to explore who Karen is. I am sure there are a lot of things that I don't know about myself, but each day I am learning something else, something new.
Everyday I am learning more and more things that define me for who I truly am, and not for what people thought I was, or how I should be.
I write in this blog everyday and use my big voice - a voice I never was allowed to use as a child; but now clearly taking the front row in believing it can be heard - (no matter what the consequences).
I recently came up against something much like my past - the feeling of something being used, or taken from me, to make me feel less than. I felt unsafe again, and felt that some of the things that were mine that I found within, were no longer mine.. it was just another thing that I did like everyone else. It hurt, it hurt really bad when I wa faced against this - but one thing I know about Karen, and that is "I will find something else that defines me in another form". "Karen is a fighter, a woman who stands for what she never had".
I am slowly finding myself through this hard place I have been in.. and each day I am uncovering what was covered all these years.
Who am I underneath it all? I am Karen, a woman who is writing this blog, and using my big voice to show what defines me as how I am today.