Becoming an Observer of Your Narrative

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal narratives lately. When we step back from them and be an observer, it is enlightening what we find.

by April Goff Brown

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I’ve been thinking a lot about personal narratives lately. When we step back from them and be an observer, it is enlightening what we find.

I had a difficult relationship with my mother for much of my life, beginning in the teen years (yeah, I know, every teenage girl has trouble with her mom) that evened out when I left home, only to have a bumpy ride over my adult life and through the rest of hers. We would have a few years where the relationship was good and then, something would happen and it got rocky, even nonexistent, for another period of time. 

One of my mistaken beliefs was around my dad. I look like my dad whom she divorced and was favored by him and that was a problem for her. To be honest, my dad was my favored parent. I intuitively understood his need for quiet which was a difficult thing to get in a household of 7 kids and so I could discern his being in his quiet time when he was laying on the couch reading the paper or in the kitchen creating the Sunday dinner. I see these in my mind and I smile. I never wavered in his love for me, nor mine for him.

But, my mom… 

As a teen, I broke away from the fully responsible child and began exploring my interests. I loved school and fell in love with music (and discovered I had a talent for singing) and theatre. I was at school for as long as I was allowed to be. Then when home, I needed, and relished, my time along in my room. I was no longer the reliable oldest child to be her main helper in the home. As I write this, I wonder if this caused the initial anger and disappointment towards me. 

Later, I challenged her personal prejudice by falling in love with and marrying a Black man. This was one of those long times of separation from her while she worked through her own biases and eventually came to accept my marriage and husband. During that break, I learned to live without her in my life with years of no contact. As a young wife and mother and working, I really didn’t have time to miss her and she became a non-entity in my life.

Then she came around, moved back home after several years living out-of-state and we connected, carefully at first.  Still, a close relationship didn’t remerge and I see now that I had been able to move on without her in my life. I had other adult women who filled the maternal role in a couple of aunts and a couple of others who were always supportive and who I could talk to about things. 

I found I could enjoy her company and we experienced some good times going antiquing, doing counted cross stich work, even yarn shopping when I was learning to knit. For awhile, we spent Sundays together at least monthly and these shared interests were the catalyst that brought us together.

But when those interests waned, so did our connection. Long periods of time would pass without any conversation, no phone calls in either direction, maybe cards at holidays and since we shared a birthday, the obligatory birthday card or call, depending on the year. 

Still, the child in me would wonder, what was it about me that she couldn’t love. I certainly didn’t feel loved and the pain of the on again-off again connection really was difficult. The problem with the on and off again nature was that each off time became more painful than the previous one. I put up barriers hoping to release the pain. I said I didn’t care. I had my defenses high, built a wall to try to keep me safe. 

Here’s the problem with narrative, especially those that cause pain. We sit with the pain and feed it over and over, looking only through our limited perspective. It festers inside and we build walls to protect ourselves.  We need to find a way to forgive the past, to let go of the hurt, real or perceived, so that we can move on freely. 

Two years before my mom passed, I did that, silently, and felt such release from inside my body. I accepted that the relationship we had was the one I was dealt with. There was no closely bonded mother-daughter one for me. I replaced that need with other women.  And then, 10 months before she passed, I received a card asking me to forgive her. Let me tell you, I had no clue what to do with that. I never expected it. And so, I let her know that I had forgiven her long before she asked. We came to a place of peace. It was what it was. 

We all have these painful narratives. Some are deeply traumatic, others are more insipid. These pains condition us and we carry them with us. They don’t have to stay though. They can be released. Doing that brings joy, freedom, a lowering and relaxing of the shoulders, and it resonates throughout the body. 

It was learning about my Human Design that helped me through this journey. I now see, and know, that she and I were much alike from our 6/2 profiles, our emotional authority and even the same Incarnation Cross.  I know the parts of her I don’t want to be and so my consciousness is raised to live differently, love differently, accept fully and love unconditionally (or at least like).  I learned a lot from her after all, in a convoluted way, more about what not to do so I can be fully who I want to, and am designed to be.

My narrative has gone from one filled with resentment and anger to one of peaceful acceptance and love for the person I am today. I can honestly say I ma at a place where I can appreciate her and find I am more willing to go into my stories and pull up the good and reframe the not-so-good. Perhaps part of my being was to teach her things about herself as well.

I’d love to guide you through your narrative to understand who you are designed to be. The first part of our journey together will be focusing on the A’s of The ART of You – awareness coming first. I promise you, it will be amazing to become aware of who you are designed to be and acknowledging all parts of you. I invite you to start with the Quantum Human Design Foundation reading, 60 minutes that will be enlightening.