This is the story, in three installments, of how I woke up to my life purpose. I tell it because many people have a similar story – of hiding their passion, of living someone else’s version of their life and suffering inwardly for it. I hope my story inspires readers to follow their heart – to learn from my experience – to stop denying who they are and discover the power that lies within.
Some people come out of the womb knowing what their purpose in life is. They don’t even think about it. From wordless toddler hood they live and breathe their passion. But I didn’t have a clue about mine. I was worried by the time high school graduation rolled around. I thought by that time I should have a direction for the rest of my life.
My up-bringing was no help (so I thought at the time). My sister and I were raised by an abusive mother, physically and mentally bullied into obedience, our self-expression smothered. Our father was the one who held the love in our family and, being the typical breadwinner of the 1950s when I grew up, didn’t have a clue what went on at home when he was at work.
At that time, by graduation from high school boys were expected to know what they were going to do for the rest of their lives. Girls were supposed to get married and have babies, but I didn’t want to get married, much less have babies. When I made the mistake of mentioning this to my mother, she came back with, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I knew there was something more compelling for me, but I didn’t know what it was. I went to college and majored in Fine Arts, hoping for an answer.
While I loved art work, I was enthralled by the mind; by what makes people tick. One of the most gripping books I read in my early teens was The Snake Pit, a novel about the use of shock treatments for mental illness in the 1940s and ‘50s, which I found both frightening and fascinating.
Even more fascinating to me were psychic phenomena. What was psychic awareness? Where did it come from? I wanted to be psychic. There wasn’t much information about psychic awareness or intuition back then, and the books I found were sensationalist, full of drama and dire warnings.
I was looking for something educational during a time when the subject was taboo. The closest I got to actual psychic phenomena was at high school sleepovers where my friends and I would use a Ouija board, conduct séances, or try to make a table tip, but nothing ever happened. According to what I learned years later, we were lucky.
My most heart-felt pursuits were not taken seriously. I was told I would never be able to make a living with art work. (Funny, I had never heard anyone say the same thing to a boy). And psychic studies were completely ridiculous. The only career open in that field was giving psychic readings in your living room, which would guarantee poverty and ruin your reputation, according to the values in my world. I think my parents paid for my college education believing I would eventually come to my senses and get married. They were right about one thing.
Even though my belief in myself was almost nil, I hoped that somehow I would succeed in life. Because of my interests, I felt like a fish out of water, a lost soul with no clue how to find her way. To compound my frustration, I eventually allowed myself to be talked out of pursuing my dreams and into getting married – a big mistake (except for the birth of my son), but I was a pleaser, and I was good at it.
Next time, I get a wake-up call.