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I have a skeleton in my closet. His name is "your not good enough". One arm reads "once a failure always a failure". The other "you will never amount to anything". His rib cage carries the heaviest sign "shame and regret". Each leg holds the sign "terrifying fear" and "endless worry". I have kept him hidden for years. People who are close to me know he exists. My kids finally know about him but many of my coworkers and friends don't know he is there. I have hidden him well. "Skeleton in the closet" has long since been a term to describe a secret. And a secret I have. When I think of a skeleton, I think bare boned and light, something that doesn't carry any weight. Well that is a lie. My skeleton isn't light. He has weighted me down for years. I have hidden from him, I have clawed and scratched with all of my might to escape his mystique and the hold he has on me. So, I have decided the only way to rid one's self of a secret is to no longer hold it as a secret. When I let it out and share it it loses its hold on me at last.

So, here goes. I have a GED. Yes, I quit high school in the 9th grade. You are reading the blog of someone with a 9th grade HIGH SCHOOL education. When I quit HS I never thought that I would create for myself a skeleton that has driven me for years.  After I got my GED I immediately enrolled in college, bound and determined to "show them" (I have never identified who "them" is in my mind but they are a powerful bunch) that I could do it. I could make something of myself despite everyone and everything. I have since had this hidden drive to exceed all expectations, to be the best, to be the smartest, to be the strongest. It drove me to get my Associate Degree in nursing. It drove me to graduate with honors when I got my Bachelor's Degree from Jamestown College. And finally it has driven me to pursue my graduate studies. Even with the concept of getting a Master's is still doesn't feel good enough. I am already thinking about my doctorate. Now if I were lying on a psychiatrist couch he would note that my desire to get all this education is directly related to my perceived failure of long ago and my constant need for atonement. Will I ever be good enough? When is the price paid I ask? It doesn't matter who tells me that I am good enough. It don't mean squat if I don't believe it.

Someone once told me (they didn't know they were talking to someone with a GED) that when they hear someone has a GED that tells them that they had something in their past and that they are an at risk employee. Hmm I wonder what they would say if they realized that a person with a GED was running a company a few years ago. What a terrible way to categorize someone but it's the society we live in I suppose. In a way that only confirmed all the signs my skeleton holds.  

Skeletons can be powerful things. We all have them. We all have things that hold those signs hanging in our closets as women. For me, the biggest thing about a skeleton is that I can choose to learn and grow from their presence or I can let their weight hold me down. I can let them define me, rule my life, guide my decisions, my responses and my emotional wellbeing. Or, I can accept them as a part of who I am and remember them for what they are. A part of my humanness. It is what makes me a human like everyone else in this world.    

So I think my skeleton needs a new name. I will call him "overcame" "Done" "Finished" "Forgiven" "Paid" it's funny how just acknowledging something is so empowering. Now I have to admit, just because I am acknowledging it doesn't mean I have thrown him out. He is still there. He will always be there. But somehow, I have to remember that if it were not for that skeleton, I may have never become what I am today nor what I am destined to become. It bred into me a desire to fight and to overcome whatever obstacle that is thrown in my path.  It has made me stronger. I am driven to overcome. I am determined to be something more and that... I have become.

My only question is this: Do you let your skeleton hold you down or drive you? The choice is yours.

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