i am…

i am the unlovable daughter
i am the stepdaughter he could never love
i am the daughter that reminds you of him and you can’t get away fast enough
i am told over and over that
i am the black sheep
i am told that i think too much, feel too much

and yet. today, today i can truly say those words no longer define me.
i know who i am.

i am wife to an amazing man
i am mama to five children that take my breath away every single day
i am mama to five children that know beyond a shadow of a doubt they are loved and cherished
i am beloved granddaughter
i am strong
i am intelligent
i am ocd
i am stubborn
i am a fairly decent cook
i am an avid knitter
i am a reader
i am 40 and wearing my silver streak proudly
i am a photographer and writer
i am comfortable in my own skin (at last)
i am a thinker
i am a feeler
i am a bearer of life
i am a tender of bumps and bruises
i am a keeper of memories
i am a keeper of secrets
i am a keeper of stories
i am a wearer of old jeans
i am a list maker
i am raising children in a house full of laughter
i am a daydreamer
i am a woman with a full heart and full life
i am a woman that lives by the moon and counts the stars
i am she looking for poetry in the everyday
i am she listening to the whisperings of the night
i am (finally) happy to be me
i am thankful for this life

tell me, who are you?

+++++
i’m linking up with just write today.

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  • I am glad of who you are Amanda.
    I can not imagine how lonely your childhood must have been, it sounds so unbearable sad and brings tears to my eyes just reading about it.
    I think you left off one item on your list…you are a blogger who brings joy to others who visit here, thank you for that.
    xxReplyCancel

  • thankful for you xReplyCancel

  • I am in awe, again, of the beauty of your writing.ReplyCancel

  • Oh my what a horrible way for a child to grow up :-( I am so thankful for you and your beautiful blog. I haven’t been a reader here for long but I’m so glad I found this space. What a gift you’ve had in being able to overcome those difficult years and embrace the beauty in life and in your family! Thank you so much for sharing here in this space each day!ReplyCancel

  • Beautifully said. Knowing who you are will give your children a strong footing.ReplyCancel

  • this is lovely. as are you. xoReplyCancel

  • I am.. one of the many people who are beyond thrilled to know you. (:
    *biggest of hugs*ReplyCancel

  • You are just wonderful! Best wishes!ReplyCancel

  • The first part is heartbreaking. No child should have to endure that. So very glad you’re now surrounded with the abundance of love and laughter that you are so deserving of!

    You’re a beautiful person, inside and out.

    xoxoReplyCancel

  • Speaks volumes.
    …need to ad something here:”You are truly beautiful inside and out”
    I am glad you are you- I am glad you are not giving your joy away to “him”.
    What a lucky bunch your fam is to have you Amnda.

    (I can relate- had a stepmonster)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      aw, yes. one day we’ll have to sit down over a bottle of wine and share stories ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful, and Inspired, that out of what seems to be such a sad unloving and lonely childhood came a mama and women who is strong and beautiful….and all those things above that you wrote.

    Thank you for those words today, a reminder to us all that our past does not define us.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      isn’t that awesome? i know i’m so very thankful that the past does not equal who i am today!!!ReplyCancel

  • You are awesome! It is so difficult to find inside of us what makes us who we are and happy with it and unfortunately, there are so many outside influences that affect us negatively. Learning how to get past those influences is the hardest and most liberating thing we ever do. I hate to say this my dear (without sounding condescending) but you have grown up and grown into your own. Congratulations. It’s not an easy journey and occasionally you might go back and visit where you don’t need to go, but just remember all that you are and what awaits you and you will be fine. Oh dear, that does sound preachy. Sorry! We really do need to sit down and have that coffee (or bottle of wine) and discuss what “family” can do to you. It appears you have made a similar journey that I did. Welcome home.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      thanks melissa! i think i’ve been growing into my own for a while…i just finally have the nerve to admit it ;-)

      and yes, wine and tears and then maybe coffee too!ReplyCancel

  • I love your affirmations!! I believe we have choices and we could focus on the negative or the positive… seems like you chose a path that not only gives you joy but will make every visitor tally up their own affirmations. (love the photo!!!)ReplyCancel

  • Thank you for the refreshingly honest words. I love the photograph of you and your daughter. One can get such a strong sense of a mother passing down her wisdom to her daughter from looking at it. Isn’t that what it is all about? I was also appreciative of the fact that you are proudly wearing your gray hairs… I turned forty this year as well and feel that it is so important that our daughters are able to watch us age gracefully, with pride. Thanks again :-)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      thank you mariah! i thought i’d quit dyeing my hair when i turned 40 but my hair grows fast and it was major upkeep so i gave it up four years ago and have learned to love the silver streak i have up front. and yes, i really want my daughters to know it isn’t about how you look or how you dress – it’s all about who you are on the inside.ReplyCancel

  • i was the unwanted daughter – and too many years have slipped by trying to be wanted. forgetting that Nature/God/Universe always wanted me, all along.
    i am listener, mama, creatrix, life lover.

    thank you for sharing amanda.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      it’s hard to let go of the desire to be wanted, isn’t it?

      you are all those things you listed (creatrix! love!) and i should add inspiring too!ReplyCancel

  • No child should experience the first part. All the better that it is the second part, to the part where you are you and you’re happy and you’re a great mom and a great blogger and a beautiful woman.ReplyCancel

  • This is beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Felicia Jones

    Wow! You are a fighter and a survivor AND an inspiration. I’m still trying to figure out who I am…ReplyCancel

  • This is beautiful Amanda. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • from one black sheep, to another. love.

    (and what gray?)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      oh it’s there. i promise. doesn’t show up much in the photo as my hair was wet but i have a silver streak up front (think bonnie raitt) and some silver hairs in the rest. promise.ReplyCancel

  • i am dreamerReplyCancel

  • We always have a choice as to what words define us. I like the ones you choose. ;)ReplyCancel

  • So brave and strong you are!
    If only you knew that last night I was thinking about those words that I hang onto that I let define me. They are some of the same words you used that no longer define you. I scribbled them down in my journal just this morning. sigh. i want to let them go.
    i commend you.ReplyCancel

  • YOU are beautiful and talented and you bring joy to my life everyday through your words and your images. So happy that you know & celebrate the beauty that is YOU!ReplyCancel

  • you are a wonderful human being!ReplyCancel

  • and you are an author who is magical with words…..lovely post (beautiful picture–full of love!)ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful and powerful.ReplyCancel

  • How brave of you to share this. You are beautiful and a survivor and a gift. xoReplyCancel

  • You are beautiful! Love this post – so proud and true. I am still learning myself, and hope to goodness I am as comfortable in my skin as you are when I hit 40. Keep writing. Hugs!ReplyCancel

    • it is an ongoing effort. i finally just got to the point where i realized it’s easier to be comfortable in my own skin than uncomfortable.ReplyCancel

  • i kinda SO love you. but you kinda knew that already.
    xoReplyCancel

  • Manise

    The first 5 lines made me well up. No such thing as feeling too much. I was the symptomatic eldest problem child of two, who was very much loved by my mother and always a big whopping disappointment to my father. My sister was the perfect child. I always came to my mother’s aid. I cut ties with him at the age of 25 after my mother to left him at my urging and never went back until he died. Your children have the best mother who will always love and protect them fiercely and show them what a loving stable family is all about. Kudos to you my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda,
    That was so fiercely honest and real, simply beautiful. It is quite remarkable to come from such pain and turmoil, yet to leave it all at the door and exchange it for such grace and beauty. You most certainly are cherished, what a gift it is to let all that go.
    Walk freely dear friend,
    MelissaReplyCancel

  • perfect….absolute perfect beauty and poetry in all that you are !!!ReplyCancel

  • You are absolutely incredible; your family is so lucky to have you. Amanda-beautiful inside and out. I cannot imagine what a horrific way that was for you to grow up, but you made your own story and created a beautiful life, and family to accompany the beautiful you that is you. Again, amazed and in awe.
    xoReplyCancel

  • “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis
    What we overcome and how we overcome them is what make us who we are and you are beautiful! This was honest and sometimes being honest with ourselves is the hardest thing to do.. You are a breath of fresh air and the I am lucky to have gotten to know you!ReplyCancel

    • thank you olivia! and thank you for that quote…i simply love it.ReplyCancel

  • What a phoenix you are! Enjoy your flight. You deserve it. XO.ReplyCancel

  • I read what you wrote, and like good poetry, I reread it aloud. Powerful stuff here, my dear. You deserve a toast with fine inked pen, a solid hug for what you’ve gone through and a proper high five for how you’re carving your own map and making a love-fueled life for your adorably lucky family.
    This is who I am: http://www.babybythesea.net/2011/01/about.htmlReplyCancel

    • jen, i read it. you are magical, an undying ember of light and life for your family.
      xoReplyCancel

  • you need to add to that list: beloved blog-writing friend to those who only know of her in a blogsphere but love so much her all the same.
    congrats, darling.
    and thanks for being here with your blog.
    XOXOXOXO
    CReplyCancel

  • you are beautiful. oh amanda, i feel i could have written this too. what a beautiful photo of you and your girl too. beautiful. xxx loriReplyCancel

  • Beautiful! Your writing is stunning! The emotions you put into writing this really shone throughout! And the photo of you and your little girl is beautiful as well!ReplyCancel

  • i am seconding the lovely tracey. oh and i love seeing your lovely faces!
    the antlers HAVE left the building!ReplyCancel

  • You are beautiful and I am in awe!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon O

    i am a grandma of six
    i am a wife of one for 38 years
    i am a survivor of trauma who has learned to be thankful for those ‘moments’ .
    i was never left alone even when i was alone for god saw my hurt and healed me.
    i am loved by a god who cared for me even when i didn’t care for him.
    i am a writer who tries to share the story and who enjoys the stories of others. (thank you for your deep words they challenge me)
    http://www.sharono-somethingtothinkabout.com/ReplyCancel

  • Oh sigh. Thank you for showing us this. You are beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • oh my. *blinks teary-like*

    this was so moving. i see glimpses of myself here.

    why must it take so long sometimes until we see our own true worth.

    i want my girls to know they are loved, without a doubt every single day.

    no matter what anyone else thinks. every morning. every night. mama loves you. you are so wonderful. i am the luckies mama alive.

    *you* are so lovely.ReplyCancel

  • love that however life began for you, things have shifted and you now know who you are.
    spectacular…ReplyCancel

  • You are an inspiration. Thank you, my dear.ReplyCancel

  • [...] dig through my yarn scraps for pockets for africa. :: your outpouring of love and kindness on this post. your soft and sweet words are cherished. xo :: seeing the joy on the poulette’s face as she [...]ReplyCancel

  • i am in awe of you. i truly believe we would be friends if i lived in your neighbourhood.

    i was a rebellious daughter.
    i am now trying to make up for it by telling my parents how much i love them
    i am happy being alone
    i am a giver and find it difficult to receive (or to turn up anywhere empty-handed)
    i have trouble believing that i am enough
    i am so much more than can be defined.

    xReplyCancel

  • you are loved.
    thank you for your heart.
    xoRReplyCancel

  • You are someone I’ve come to cherish.
    You are all of these things – and I see it.
    You are beauty-full.
    xoReplyCancel

  • wow. inspirational. so heart-felt. i love where you have moved to. you are a liberator. a purveyor of dreams and joy. wonderful piece Amanda. i hope you post that photo in your house in a place where you see it everyday. THANK YOU sharing so boldly of your soul. love you.ReplyCancel

  • What a beautiful post. Beautiful. Yes, for silver streaks!ReplyCancel