When I was a little girl, my father would promise us trips. Usually we set out on them. Often, we never reached our destination.

My father was a man of mercurial moods. One moment he’d be excited about something. The next, storm clouds brewed and we four children ran for cover. Often, the reason our trip never got to its destination, or ended sooner than expected, was because something had set my father’s temper rising, and he would declare it was time to leave. Now.

I loved my father. I did not love his angry outbursts.

I also did not love the pattern of behaviours I adopted to compensate for my lack of trust in promises and people’s inability to keep their commitments.

Not trusting in promises and commitments lead me to not write out my goals or to believe in my dreams – and to often not keep my commitments with myself and others.

I have been working on this aspect of myself for years — it did not serve me well. It needed to change and the only person who could do something about it was/is… ME.

it’s a journey on which I keep taking steps every day, which is why, recently, I took action to fulfill on a dream that began percolating when I first stepped into the Choices room in April of 2006 — which was the predecessor to the Discovery Seminar I just coached in.

Every Sunday, there is a spiritual service which begins with someone from the group singing, playing an instrument, sharing their talent. That first Sunday morning, sitting in that room, I felt my teenage me dream stir.

I have always loved singing. When I was young, my sister Anne and I would accompany our dishes chores with singing. We loved doing it even if the rest of the household made us close the kitchen door.

In junior high school, I was part of a folk group and at 16 I got up the nerve to perform in the Annual Talent Show and Concert. My song, Joni Mitchell’s iconic, Both Sides Now, which I sang in French and English.

I came second in that competition.

Unfortunately, my success didn’t matter to me. My parents didn’t come and my brother did his normal thing of teasing me mercilessly – which I know is what big brothers do. For me though, that teasing only highlighted the fact my parents weren’t there to hear me. It reaffirmed what I feared (and secretly believed to be true) I didn’t matter.

Believing I didn’t matter lead to my holding back on articulating my dreams. I wanted to be an actor and singer. My family thought that was ridiculous. I quit talking and dreaming about it, And though I did take steps at times to sing with choirs and to act in community theatre, I always withdrew. The commitment was too great for me and my fear of proving that thought – I didn’t matter – true, pulled me back from taking steps foward.

One of the things Discovery seminars highlights is the importance of keeping our commitments, to ourselves and others.

I continually practice strengthening this mental muscle because I know deep within me that I do matter and I am worth keeping my commitments so that I can feel good about myself and not carry shame (which comes when I don’t keep them!).

One of my commitments I made to myself when I first started into this self-discovery journey was to dream. And, to take action on that dreaming.

Which brings me back to that dream of singing out loud in front of an audience – in particular, in the Discovery room where I know, I am loved and safe, and that I matter.

Last week I asked for what I wanted.

I asked a fellow coach whom I know is a musician if he would help me. He said yes — which means one Sunday soon, I shall be singing in front of the people gathered for the spiritual service. It doesn’t matter if I’m any good. What matters most is I am doing this for me. I am keeping a promise I made long ago to that child within. I will always cherish, protect and celebrate you. I shall keep my commitments.

I am taking steps to experience my dream come alive and to heal that broken promise of my teenage self. I am showing that 16 year old Louise, her voice matters. She matters.

And in case you’re wondering, the song I’ll be singing is, Both Sides Now.

8 thoughts on “Commitments

  1. A). So much of this resonates. I believe everyone has a childhood “I don’t matter” story. Which. Leads into several more. And. You’ve inspired me to write about it.
    B). I can’t wait to hear you sing!! 💞

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I relate to this so much. My parents did not show up for my first story telling presentation, when they said they would and sent me ahead – I was 10 or 12 maybe. And the organizer announced my name, asked where my parents were and proceeded to announce that this is what how parents are wrong. I was embarassed, couldn’t do the storytelling right and thought it was all my fault, I can never be good at this. It literally takes any foundation of being out from under the feet. It takes long to find again that I matter – and actually still question often – to whom? I need to do it for myself – is always the answer. Thank you for sharing – it is inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes – the need to do it for myself conundrum of life. ❤ I find sometimes, when I tell myself I am doing this for my 'child within' I feel comforted and am stronger in my conviction for the need to do it for me today. I have made a commitment to always protect her so that she feels safe. Breaking that commitment is something I know is not healthy for me – I act out in unhealthy ways when I do – so, I focus on my commitment to make it easier to take the action I need to take. ❤

      Thank you for your insightful comment Pragalbha. In writing out my response I uncovered a motivation I hadn't clearly articulated for myself before. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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