Dr. Joan Swinney
WR 121; Writing Project 1
5 October, 2011
Humility is a puzzling concept. Being aware of my own shortcomings, accepting myself for who I am and for who I am not. Realizing that I am the only person who is there for me all of the time. I’m my own worst enemy. I’m my own best friend.
I have spent my entire life putting everyone else first. Sacrificing my own wants and needs to accommodate those I love and even those who I felt the slightest affection for. I am responsible for allowing others to take advantage of me, to control me, to change me, and to destroy me.
As far back as I can remember I have longed for someone to love me. I have longed to be somebody. To mean something… to anybody. I employed various stratagems to gain friends under false pretenses, because I never considered the long-term consequences of my own actions as long as the instant gratification was there.
My parents divorced when I was 3. My mother ran off with another man, my father moved to Salem with my younger sister, and I was left to live with my grandparents. My grandmother made it no secret that I was not exactly a welcome addition in her eyes. My older cousin Lindsey, whom I idolized, loathed my existence. Living in a small town where everyone knew everyone, I became known as “Little Orphan Annie.”
Into adolescence, looking for an escape, I wasn’t yet 15 when I met the much older man who would become the father of my oldest child. He was cruel, violent, and angry but he paid attention to me.
I married him when I was 18 and gave birth to our son two months later, while he was in prison serving a 5-year sentence for armed robbery.
Alone with a newborn child and no parental support (by this time my father had died from alcoholism and my mother lived in Phoenix Arizona with her “new” family), I became dependent upon my new mother-in-law who was a closet drug-addict.
Eventually, I found my way to Portland and into the arms of another man, who would become my second husband and the father of my two youngest children.
He accepted me and treated my son as if he were his own. We then had our first of two children together. Almost immediately, he began to withdraw from our family and living a double life.
Although I knew of his adulteress ways and was reminded everyday, in case I forgot, that he didn’t love me, I stayed with him for 11 years, and we had a second child together.
His parents embodied everything I longed for in life, a loving marriage, a nice home, and a comfortable lifestyle. I wanted exactly that with my own husband.
However, he became physically abusive not only to me, but also to my oldest son, who always seems to get the bum rap.
I stayed with my husband through the ugliest of times because I was holding onto a dream that was never meant to be.
Eventually, my children were taken from us by the state of Oregon and placed into the custody of my in-laws, with the exception of my oldest who was placed in stranger foster care.
My husband convinced me that if I just did what he asked and signed guardianship over to his parents, everything would be fine, in fact, better than ever.
I decided that I was not willing to do that, and wound up in a custody battle between myself and his parents.
As it stands, they currently have physical custody of my two youngest children, while my oldest resides with my sister. My now ex-husband and I divorced in February and I have not seen my two babies in almost a year.
So when I hear that humility is a puzzling concept, I think back on every bad decision I’ve made in life for the benefit of “gaining friends” or trying to make people like me.
What I didn’t realize all along was that I am a kind, loving woman and am just as worthy of love as those I’ve bestowed love upon.
So ask me about humility. I’ve had to accept the fact that I have almost never made a good decision in...