I can tell you though, from experience, that you cannot live that way and have a semblance of happiness. I changed everything about myself to fit in with the (in) crowd. I ended up running with the wrong people. I ended up conforming to the party crowd. I changed my clothing style, my hair, my makeup, even my laugh and the way I spoke (using inappropriate language). I changed me.
It was NOT worth it. I listen to people now a days and the language is so foul and so disgusting that I try very hard to be mindful of what I expose not just my family to, but to my control what I am exposed to. For example... I love old movies. I love old television shows. I love documentaries, because now a days the vulgarity, gratuitous sex scenes, and the subject matter and casual attitudes toward how you treat yourself, your family, your friends and even strangers is seriously disillusioning. I remember when even the simplest of swearing was bleeped out, or taken out. I don't want to take away free speech about important matters, but I don't want my kids watching a show and hearing the "F-bomb" left and right. I don't want them to see disgusting, demeaning, or gratuitous commercials between their programs.
Now I understand that I might be called a prude, or a nut, but I promise you... I am NOT. I used all that language once upon a time. I degraded myself, sacrificed my values, and lost myself to that sort of lifestyle. I struggled with everything that our teens face and more. I was not popular in school, in fact, I did not even have a click... I was that out of it. I changed ME, and you know where it got me... NO WHERE GOOD! I lived with shame, guilt, and self-loathing to the point of attempted suicides (many times). I was miserable. I was lost, I was alone... even in a crowded room at a party. I sacrificed everything I was ever raised to believe... all to get the attention of people who... where are they now... are no where to be seen.
I live and almost died of shame. However, coming back around to me... I am now a great mom. I work hard to spare my children the pain and shame of my mistakes. I am making the changes that make me find myself. I am facing my demons. I am opening my heart and mind. I am untying my knots, and taking off my mask. I have to if I want to be me. I am finding that I am a good person. I can be a good friend. I am a good mom, and becoming a better wife. I am gutting myself to find and heal my heart and mind. I am doing my best, but like it has been said, "It is lonely being good." Isn't that sad though? Why should I be ashamed now. I have renewed my faith, my commitment to my God.
I have decided that my values are good and worth living by. Too often I see people around me using escapism to dodge those difficulties in their lives, instead of dealing and healing. It is not fair that I have to be made fun of, or be belittled, or bullied because I do not want to continue to live my life in a way that will continue to make me miserable. In my mind... that takes courage.
It takes bravery to stand up for what you believe. It takes courage to say.. I want better for myself and people I care about. How has drinking improved your life? It only got me into trouble. It put me in dangerous situations. It linked me to people who used and abused me. Why should I subject myself to that... because it make me popular, or have friends? I lived that way... and the moment you stop living that way... you no longer fit in. No one wants to be lonely. No one wants to be left out. I get that. I lived that way too. I choose and have the right to choose another way. I do not have to excuse myself... to anyone... but there is tremendous peer pressure... even among adults... to live your life a certain way... the wrong way.. just to fit in. How sad is that? I have lived my life that way... I was absolutely MISERABLE. I was so ashamed and so full of sorrow that I dared not live.
Luckily for me... God stepped in, helped me to find love, and friendship, and blessed me with knowledge, recovery, and loving children who rock my world on a daily basis... in all the right way.
Do I have to excuse myself? Or do I live my life with freedom to live the way I have a right to? No one has the right to make me feel bad. I have all I need and none of those people who I thought were my friends are here. Not one of them. I found love... if that makes me a loon, a nerd, a prude... then I guess I have earned the label, but it does not mean I have to be ashamed of it.
Our country was founded by good people who wanted freedom. I have been blessed with freedom of religion. I have freedom to live my life the way I decide. I have the right to be what I want to be, but there are so many who claim to know better and to know me... my mind... and my heart. I am not doing this blog to shame anyone, or belittle anyone. I am not trying to tell you how to live your life, or tell you that you are making mistakes and you are wrong. I would not do that. I am simply expressing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences in hopes of reaching out to someone who might need to hear what I have to say. I DO NOT think that I am better than anyone else. I would be a fool to think that. I am only stretching my arms and opening my heart to try to comfort someone, encourage someone, inspire someone, and/or teach someone. I don't want to live with sorrow, shame, fear of my secrets being revealed... as so many of us do. And I ask... is your life making you proud, or do you find yourself living with secrets and excuses? I am not telling anyone how to live their life. I would not presume to do that. However, I am saying that if you have the courage to be true to yourself... you just might find happiness... better friends... better relationships... more joy. I am taught that my God has a plan for all of us, and it is called "The Plan Of Happiness". God does not want us to hurt, be miserable, or be weakened by our trials. He wants us to grow and experience a good life and develop yourself and your talents and lift up this life.
Look around... you see it on the news everyday. The world is becoming a miserable place. It is full of angry, self righteous, contentious, vulgar, and rude people. Drive to a local location, be observant, watch how people interact with each other and think about what you hear, and see. Do you see kindness, consideration, love, generosity?
You have to decide... what kind of life do you want to live? What kind of teacher do want to be for those around you? I have walked a path that I would not wish anyone to traverse, but there it is. I cannot change the past. No one can. It is done... there it is. It is done. For me... I have learned things. I am a better me... because I not only survived, but I learned. This is the entire point of doing my blog. No one has to agree with me, but if you listen to my message and that gives you courage to do better for yourself and your family... then I have done what I set out to do. I don't believe that God punished me with difficulties and trials, but I do believe that he had to let things happen (by my choices) to me... to teach me. He NEVER gave me more than I could handle, and I trust that he wouldn't do that to me. That does not mean that he has not taken me to the brink... the edge of my sanity, but he never let it go to far. If you have faced something horrible, but have survived... then there you are. If you told me in my youth what I would go through in the future... I would have crumbled and quit... or laughed. We cannot know what we can handle before we face it. Why do we put ourselves through more struggle than we have to? However, who in their right mind want to accept responsibility for their choices and mistakes? Who wants to admit that what they do... impacts the life, the relationships and so on negatively. No one I know. I did not want to either.
If I say I can't drink... I have a medical condition. I will always be cut slack over someone who makes that difficult choice. It is not one person being better than another. I would never say that, but can you see my point? Our life is ours to live. I wish I could be accepted and respected by my decisions rather than be accepted only for the vices that make me more socially acceptable. I was a smoker. When I was smoking I was accepted by people who did not want to stand outside by themselves smoking. No one wanted to stand out in the cold alone. That is why quitting is so difficult. Smoking is not only addictive physically... which it is..., but it is also socially, and psychologically. You fit in. You have friends who bum your smokes or need your lighter, and have smoking in common with you. That is the fastest way to make a friend... at least one that will last about five minutes or until a crisis arises and they can't deal with it, or don't have it in themselves to help you through it. This is just my experiences. I understand getting stressed and feeling the temptation again. I am not judging anyone... not for a second. I am not... I promise, but my life since I changed all that and began to make better choices for myself. I find that food tastes better. I can smell the flowers. I can breathe. I am happier. I do not have to be a slave to my addiction. For example... I don't panic if I don't have a lighter. I don't panic because the last cigarette I was sure that I had... is not there and I have to rush to the store, or borrow a smoke, or money to get more. I have been there. I know what it feels like. I get it. I do not want to live that way anymore. I want better for me. I watched my grandmother die from cancer and emphysema. I loved her dearly, but I watched her suffer, wither and die. Could her life have been longer, healthier and maybe more enjoyable? I can't help but wonder. I want more out of my life, and I do not need more friends who don't really care about me. However, I also don't want to be judged because I want to live my life the way I chose. I tried the popular lifestyle. It made me miserable. Now I am happy. That is all I can do... is tell you what I have experienced and what I have learned... for me.