On October the fourth 1961 Charley was born in eastern Canada.
In the living room of the family home sat a playpen; a four-foot by four-foot cage with two-foot-high sides.
The adults would keep a baby in a playpen during the first year or so of its life to keep the child relatively safe. I depended on my adults to protect me and keep me safe during this early stage of my expansion.
I lived in this tiny cage until I was able to climb over the wall and escape
Then, my playpen became the main floor of the house. Stairs had gates installed and doors were locked to protect me from dangers I could not yet navigate on my own, but the playpen was larger. From 4×4 feet to the whole main floor! WOW!
Soon, gates were removed, and doors were left unlocked; I could navigate stairs and was becoming a little less dependent on the adults to keep me safe, so my playpen became the backyard. Also fenced in of course, but so much more room than the main floor or the 4×4 cage; my playpen had again expanded.
You get the idea here I think; soon, the playpen became the street we lived on, then the neighborhood, the town, the province, country and beyond.
Becoming Char has been very much like this metaphor of the playpen for me
1999, the year I landed at small-town Saskatchewan, would find me sitting motionless on the side of my bed, lights off, silently waiting for the knocking on the door to subside and the sound of a vehicle driving away before I would leave the little room.
The sound of my stilettos on the main floor hardwood
would have given me a way to the unwitting visitor.
Dark curtains covered windows and frosting obscured the main door window so no peering inside was possible, this provided some time to hide Char, then called Charlene, who was still very dependent on adult me to provide safety and respite from the shame.
Charlene’s first goal of playpen expansion was to answer the door and stop hiding behind dark curtains.
Then one day, it happened!
The decision was made and without hesitation, I grabbed the handle and flung open the door.
I stuck my head around it to see who was there. The main part of my body was still hidden behind the door, but I wore plenty of badly applied, experimental makeup on my face, deep red lipstick, huge earrings, and enough perfume to gag a mule. But the door was opened, and my playpen had expanded.
Next goal, the property.
Owning an entire block is a big piece of land and walking out there was accompanied by almost immobilizing fear. I practiced in my mind for weeks, then one day, there I was, cutting the grass in a two-piece aqua bikini! Of course, I was spotted by a group of people who later became owners of the property across the alley.
Next, I imagined walking to the post office; I could throw a stone from my deck and hit the post office. But my vision was to walk there and back, during business hours on a weekday in full daylight.
In each stage of playpen expansion, I followed a simple strategy.
First, I clearly decided the step I wanted to make. I imagined doing it in my mind over and over, sometimes for weeks in advance. I would fantasize and grow my inner confidence to the point of generating the feeling, “maybe I can”, then I would venture out in expansion, and triumph saying, “I did it!”
The post office, a walk to a friend’s home who had met Char, then to the next town, the big city, at work and living freely dressed how I love to dress. My playpen now has no sides; I wear my high heel leather boots, leggings, a cute jacket, and carry a purse with all my favorite makeup in it. I am free!
I take care of my Self by not taking myself to places I know might be dangerous.
I am open to any question’s genuine seekers of understanding wish to ask, but I do not engage in conversations with those who just wish to disparage or challenge me as a person.
I have discovered that the sides of the playpen for Char, pronounced Shar, were more of an inside thing than an external set of limits. The greater I grew my ability to create trust and safety of self-care within me, the easier it was in becoming Char.
In truth, Char has been trying to emerge since October 4, 1961, I simply had to remove the layers of self-judgment, shame, guilt, and fear that I had accepted as my reality and over time. A pine tree seed can only, ever, become a pine tree after all. I have created a brand-new playpen. This one has no sides; I am free! So is everyone reading this article.
The limits and walls we feel so caged by,
are mostly created by our own thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Allowing the feelings of shame, guilt, and immobilizing fear to prevent me from expressing my authentic self, has caused me so much suffering; choosing to allow the emergence of what has been trying to “Be”, has been the single most empowering and liberating experience on this adventure called life.
I now live in a playpen without sides, and you can as well,
when you decide; when you too, have had enough suffering.
Thank you for reading Your Weekly Reset and thank you for being exactly who you are!