Working with kids, I am reminded of childhood and some of the things I faced being the youngest of four. My siblings like many families we are born into, can be loving at times.. but as the years passed and I worked more on myself and grew into an adult - I could clearly see during visits home to Detroit the full range of emotions - love, hate, jealousy, competition and an increased resentment over the years that I had the freedom to move away.
Working in international consulting, returning to Journalism as a full-time Celebrity Reporter and launching Pals were all special milestones in my life so far that were marked by definite family rifts .... an overall "not wanting me to succeed." Perhaps because I was the rebel and my brother and sisters never had the desire, heart or drive to do their own thing or be away too far from my parents. Although I was the youngest, I always forged my own path, and my own way - going to a different school, studying a different area and forming who I was as a person myself. In contrast, my siblings "towed the line" and usually consulted my parents and did whatever my parents wanted for them in their lives: safe careers, the spouses they preferred, the homes they approved of close by, the lifestyle my parents had, etc.. No better.. no worse… just the same..
In fact, there are many families like mine that are "good people" on the surface but who try to shelter their children
from truly growing or succeeding at their dreams and who thwart their development by inserting their influence, doubts etc, as a way of control. Many times it can be a parents own selfishness, or unfulfilled dreams themselves that cause them to prevent or inhibit a young adult from moving away or following a path other than what THEY want or had in their lifetime. This pattern occurs in many families (not just mine) as I see it sometimes working so closely with kids as well as adults. A lesson for parents to examine the damage they do when they try to interfere or control a youngster or an adult child's path.
The summer I returned to Detroit two years ago was the hardest summer of my life. But looking back, I realize how much stronger I am these days. To cope during that difficult time, my escape was to go hiking or wander down the street from my childhood home and take archery lessons with Jack on Drake Rd. This allowed me an escape from the strain to focus my intentions and heart on where I was heading. It also allowed me to keep my "inner-child" nurtured so that I would stay strong and endure the tortuous duration of my visit. Strength and nature were important, as I was verbally bullied and made to feel like I was 12 years old all over again. Though it was only a temporary visit, I counted the days on my calendar until the book readings were over and I could return to LA. Good friends all over kept me strong and on my path - and for that I will be truly grateful!
Attempting to empower my mother or give her credit for making me the person I am was only met with rejection. Even today - it is still a taboo subject to discuss my path along with anything in my life that shows joy or happiness. So these days, I continue to own my path - and I don't try to change her or get her involved or her approval in what I do as the boundaries are in place. While I have great loving friends, aunts, uncles, cousins and had wonderful loving grandparents (who passed over) - it is clearly my immediate family that imposes the most challenges in this lifetime. But ultimately by my own example - I am teaching them the most growth.
If I had conformed "to fail" as my family showed me with their put downs and mean intentions - it would lead me nowhere as I would clearly not win their love or approval - so it is something I will never do. As I was told that being the youngest and not their favorite - they did not want me doing anything visible. But even if i did conform, this would be the kiss of death for me and NOT what I'm here for - so I guess I have accepted being the "black sheep" or rebel of the family.
Though my father has always been the buffer growing up, who would defend me and showed me kindness.. these days he is older and in a state physically and mentally that I can no longer rely on him to shield or protect me. His recovery and well being means EVERYTHING to me.. and for that - I stay away.
He too, had a difficult time dealing with me moving west - mostly from his own frustrations/regrets in life and for selfish reasons of liking me around in his old age. Though he drove out west in his convertible by himself doing the route 66 in his single days - I have learned to "tune out" the constant "putdowns" I've heard over the years of anyone living in LA and following their dreams…
In addition to my creativity, my brother and two sisters objected to anything done creatively or from the heart - particularly if i did it…as anything done with kindness or love was always taken in the wrong way or "put down." Yes, I was a "foreigner" in my own family from birth (as many lightworkers have been) and was shown from their criticism of other relatives that wrote poetry that it was somehow stupid or silly to express myself in a creative way. But being so much younger and having my own ideals - fitting in or confirming to be like my brother and sisters was never going to happen.
And my parents sending me to their military style preschool where everyone was molded to be the same and wear a uniform didn't cut it for me. I clearly did not fit in or belong there - and was therefore bullied for being me. It was only inevitable that I switch to a school that embraced my love of the arts and that truly nurtured and allowed me to be me.
A few years earlier, my grandfather Albert a silent quiet man of very few words - told me just before he died:. "You will be going to Kingsley" his name for Cranbrook-Kingswood - the International private school that welcomed creativity and self-expression where I would be heading.
Something i didn't understand or know at the time as a young girl - but my parents clearly heard his words and corrected by saying: "You mean Kingswood." A prophesy that came true, as years later, I left the bullies behind and switched to Kingswood school, forging my path in my own way.
Cranbrook-Kingswood Schools in Bloomfield Hills nurtured individuality and was a beautiful educational community with an excellent education system comprised of international multi-cultural students,
beautiful gardens and nature. Founded by the Newspaper heir, George Booth and his wife Ellen Scripps (from Scripps Broadcasting), the school is one of a kind in America. The lush landscape of prime Bloomfield Hills property contains a World Reknown Art and Science Museum with expressions of fine art, peaceful lakes and gorgeous bronzed sculptures by Carl Milles and other artists - all in a tranquil setting. A must see for anyone visiting the Detroit suburbs. The schools itself, designed by Finnish Architect, Eliel Saarinen, resembled the architectural style of British prep schools in my grandfather's native England, and with its beauty was ranked as one of the wonders of the world. To go to this special school was something I truly appreciated and never took for granted knowing that it was an honor and sacrifice for my parents to provide me with this special kind of education - but one that allowed my creativity to flourish and grow.
About seven or eight years ago, I remember making my parents a handmade scrap book for their special wedding anniversary showing their lives together. It was something I was very proud of.. something that money could not buy. Presenting this, I could see that I had really touched my parents and brought tears to their eyes as they looked at this beautifully bound book of their lives but it particularly infuriated my brother and my sister five years older, who were annoyed and angry. When it was there turn to view the book, they looked for as many criticisms and mistakes as they could possibly find to continually put me down for making it. Constructive criticism is one thing, and as a print journalist for many years feedback and group effort is key. Especially in the publishing world and something I'm comfortable with hearing, but this was down right mean and deliberately looking to find fault over the littlest things. This is one example of many times where they trampled over me and looked to put me down. Though remorseful and kind for a while, the behavior never changed over the years and yes my brother and sister's reactions hurt, but I knew in a few months time, I was moving west and it didn't matter what they thought anymore.
I was almost free! and not surprising.. my brother and middle sister have never ever visited me here in the 7 years I've lived in LA as they are busy with their own lives having very little to do with me nowadays. But I learned in time that my story these days is not unique.
There are many families, friends and cousins that I know who have the same thing in their immediate family.
Some are closer to certain family members than others and we all face different challenges with different people. That is why it is so important to continually surround oneself with good supportive people and to write down thoughts of hurt and ceremoniously let it go. Its also important to reach out and make amends the best
you can with people.. even the most difficult ones and apologize for any hurt caused. As I myself am far from perfect, but find that if you try sending love back in thoughts or prayers to those who hate or dislike you - that forgiveness and love is protection and elevates one to be around
those who do truly love, understand and support you on your path.
During my most recent visit home two months ago, my brother told me that I am under no conditions to come to him if I ever find myself needing financial help as he has his own family and his own problems and can't be bothered.
I clearly told my brother that I would not be needing his help nor would I expect it since he was not from the school of giving in this lifetime - at least not with me.. and that it was okay as I expected and wanted nothing from him. Nor have I ever asked him for money.
I am sharing this story not to defame my brother but because to be about LOVE - which I am here for - sometimes you have to be the example and say how you feel when someone is unkind in a loving and honest way. and with my immediate
family - this has been often.
Someone may not like your brand of truth.. but by being a truth teller - whether my family likes it or not - calling them out on their behavior as it occurs - causes them to learn and grow and examine their own behaviors. And though they may not be able to take it.. over time it sinks in and they eventually come around.
By being ALL unconditional love.. and not pointing things out - my birth family or anyone else that needs to hear the truth will never grow or be better people.. nor will I if I stay silent and make myself little like they want me to be. As we were designed to be a system of checks and balances between mercy and judgement (court of law) and one masters through spirituality precisely the right time and moment to use both appropriately in our lifes..
Though my brother is annoying and aloof at times, Im sure he feels the same way about me -as we are just not buds given our different interests, lifestyles and age difference. Despite this, everyone to some degree has intuition and gifts - and it was my brother who at almost a decade older obviously knew my path early on when he created my family nick name
Mrs Beasley.. later shortened to Bee, Beezer , Beezer Fred as everywhere I went, I always carried my Mrs. Beasley doll - my best friend and security blanket as a child. But if you ever see or hear a Mrs Beasley doll and you pull the string.. She is the wise little old lady with the bright red hair and librarian glasses who speaks her truth of wisdom.
So even though my brother frustrates me at times like many brothers do.. he too has intuition and knows my path - and must be ignored when he says stupid things he later regrets like telling me these insensitive comments and telling me last month: "you should give up."
In early 2000, I remember when I was working for IHS Engineering, managing General Motors engineering standards worldwide and caught up in the corporate grind. While I had the means to make a decent living, I wasn't truly fulfilled or living in my heart.
During this time in my life, I would often buy presents for my six niece and nephews and never thought about receiving anything back for it - in times of hardship or not. Even though it wasn't always reciprocated, i didn't care, as we don't give to receive.
but it also would trigger constant fights with my middle sister "blowing up at me" because it was always about her.. and her being annoyed that I was "too generous" as she puts it and that she didn't like it - because she felt it put pressure on her to "keep up with me and give!" Everything with her was a "competition" and how it looked to her instead of seeing the beauty in just showing love to all the kids.. as nothing given was extravagant. Just simple gestures of love. My mom would criticize and put me down to my siblings too for buying the kids gifts during holidays and disliked that I knew instinctively what they liked.
My eldest sister too was annoyed and would tell me her kids didn't like it or want it as years passed during birthdays. She would also make up stories and tell her kids that she did the same paths/adventures that I did in my life when it wasn't the truth! This nonense was becoming increasingly difficult and it had to stop.
Since giving was resented and not accepted with love by my family and causing problems.. i simply restricted and stopped giving to them.. and opened my heart and efforts to give to all the kids who truly need it. Even though I love my six niece and nephews -somehow they understood this when it started to happen.
My mother too - unlike most mothers.. wanted me to suffer and be in pain and set the tone for the abuse from my siblings -because she herself was in pain and had trouble being optimistic at times - and didn't like the happiness/joy she saw inside of me and viewed me as competition. Her treatment of me was clearly "learned behavior" and from a young age I was often put down by her - and the others would just "chime in." The patterns set in motion through years forming into young adulthood.
It took me years of therapy for me to understand why this occurred.. some of the memories are still too painful and difficult to rehash at times.. but one that I constantly work on healing/forgiving/transforming this lifetime through self-nurturing, positive downloads/reprogramming and giving back through time and effort to others - particularly to kids that need love and nurturing through my work.
Though it has been years, and my mother refused to seek help or go for counseling. Many aunts and cousins too tried to help by intervening. My mother's typical reaction was to tell family members she was open to counseling face to face while she secretly made fun of people who work on themselves through therapy behind their back!
Ironically, it is people who think they are "perfect" and always right in their point of view that are the ones who actually need therapy the most - as we are all here to work on ourselves, to heal and grow.. and anyone who says their life is perfect is coming from a place of ego.
But the cold hard truth is that we truly can't change people - only our responses to them.
Though I constantly practice love and forgiveness and work on keeping my heart chakra open and loving.. .. as I continue on my path this is a chapter that I will continue to work on healing in me this lifetime.. as I must not let the "hate" or unkindness coming
from certain family members taint me or stop me from being the best that I can be.
To share with you a little of my journey, I was reminded recently of some of my greatest moments in my career track this lifetime. What came to mind was my first big job out of grad school at Anderson Consulting (Now called Accenture) in their Change Management division in the late 90s.
I was picked out of a handful of graduates who were all the top of their class as young recruits. This was an honor and one I had worked very very hard to achieve.
When I had first decided to go to grad school, it required completing a second undergraduate degree after my degree in Journalism from Miami University in Florida, as different requirements were needed to be an I/O Psychologist. Top grades in stats, business and psychology coursework, along with standardized tests were all requirement in order to be eligible for the program.
Choosing this path, brought repeated comments from my mom and sister whether I was smart enough to handle it. In fact, this was a constant drilling in my head by my parents that my older siblings were so wonderful whereas in contrast, I was never credited with being smart on my own. When I was younger, I was told growing up by my parents that I was accepted to the first private school they attended at 10 years old because of my siblings and how bright they were. Something that one of the educators at the school noticed and made sure to tell me privately how I was accepted on my own merit after hearing these words slip from my parents during the interview process. This is something I kept to myself for many years.
Please know.. I never wanted any sort of praise from my parents - as that would just create ego! And I suppose in retrospect, all the put downs and criticism made me resilient and capable of taking constructive feedback - an asset in the workplace and life! As I clearly was taught my whole
life that i needed work.. and that I was a "work in progress." I needed to be better because in their eyes, I just wasn't good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, etc… And as you can imagine, it took years to nurture myself and get away from this type of destructive programming.
Though I wish I had more loving/supportive parents who didn't put me down or try to create competition/inferiority among me and my brother and sisters…. I obviously "picked this scenario" for a reason to help them grow and look at themselves.. and must constantly remind myself
of the progress that continues to be made on my journey to be me without needing anyone's approval.
And as a truth teller, I serve as an example to teach both my parents and family to undo the "learned behavior" in their own roles as parents and take note in their
parenting style so that they too can erase and extract destructive core beliefs learned from our upbringing…. so that history does not repeat itself and they can be more supportive/loving parents and more positive role models in how they treat others.
To incarnate as the youngest in a family and carry the wisdom and experience has been a difficult road but one that am handling with patience and care - because I picked it - to help them grow and to help my own soul to elevate and ultimately to help them too..
Confirmation for this came last year when I saw the movie "HUGO." A year before it was released, I loved to frequent the French cafe HUGO's in Thousand Oaks, California. Loving this charming Parisian cafe so much where everything was made with love,
I commissioned the owners to make a beautiful wine bottle out of chocolates with the vintage year '1959' on the bottle to honor my parents special 50th wedding anniversary.
It was a beautiful gift - one given with much love, thought and care - but one my mother didn't care for - (typical!) More complaints about wasting money, stale chocolates etc…but my father loved this gift along with his Hugo Boss cologne and ear phones... yet when the film HUGO came out last year, I was pleased to see my mother and father in the starring role.. it was them!!!.. only it was showing them if
they had met as kids with the stern father George (like my mother's own father George who I called Poppies) played by Ben Kingsley. Also, starring the wise old man with the white beard with the books and wisdom they visit in the film "Mr. Beasley" or "Beezer"
my favorite of many many syncroncities throughout the film that related to my own personal story and lineage. It especially resonated at this stage of life where our parents start to feel like they are our children.. but it was especially great to see the glimpse of their own
upbringing and how they were as children - all too familiar to me. Sadly, along with me.. my parents have never seen this film nor do they care to.
Though I had a growing awareness at an early age that I was never going to be accepted for being me or for achieving things based on my own merit, I have learned over the years to be my own cheerleader -
and have worked at honoring and making myself proud by connecting to a cause with others that is bigger than me.
Though I'm human and I've cried real tears/hurts like any other person on this earth, I was born emotionally wearing a bullet proof vest - and learned at an early age to dust myself off and
build my own self-esteem from the inside.. not really caring what people think or wanting any accolades or recognition.
I work hard on things that matter to me, but I also take the time out to do things that makes my soul sing - as that balance of care and self nurturing is key. If i didn't have this built in capability to be resilient to the pain and hurt - I wouldn't have been able to excel
and survive the pain and hurt felt early on. I also wouldn't have resurrected and learned so many techniques and healing dualities to move on from this.. as that is my role in the self healing process so i can be a clear channel for others.
I was born with this internal knowing of going thru this pain to forge ahead on
my path of service as a role model for kids and young adults who were suppressed from nurturing their own inner child.
Regardless of who approves or not - one must stand their ground and be themselves. Though parents do their best, there are many stressors in this world.
and sometimes parents are not conscious of the abusive behaviors they learned from their own parents in their formative years - and want an outlet for their pain and misery..
But like children, parents must be treated with sensitivity, kindness and love - as after all - they are your parents and you picked them
for whatever reason. Even adults with older/senior parents must be especially handled with kid gloves!.. Some excellent articles for handling adults handling adult toxic parents including
conflict resolution can be found below:
As I often say, Life is Good! and I'm truly happy, though like anyone else, I have my moments. Life to me personally is a gift and I honor it.
I am truly grateful for my unique path and the special people in it!
.. but life also means different things to different people…
For me, it is not a popularity contest.. it is to have true passion and purpose being here… and to be with sincere, loving inspiring people that love life, do good and
relish in enjoying all that it has to offer. and those who play pivotal roles all know who you are!
in my life, I personally choose quality over quantity.. as my wise old grandmother often said "If you can count your good friends on one hand" you are doing fine."
As far as your life.. role models/parental figures don't have to be your parents if you have face parental challenges - as many I know do.. There are many wonderful "heroes" and mentors in life: friends, grandparents, educators, relatives, former employers, etc who
nurtured and guided me on my path that I will be forever grateful to for giving me the strength/courage to be me. and now I "share the torch"
giving back that same encouragement/support to those that need our love, support and compassionate understanding - especially the children.