I’ve been postponing for the longest time actually writing a blog. You know that whole facing your fears, bucking it up and pulling on big girl panties thing? Yeah that’s where I’m at with this, but there’s no better time than the present. I am not the only person in this world with a not-so-perfect past, but I damn sure have a bright future.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Shelley Leggett. I lie… my real name is Maria Michelle Leggett. I’ve just discovered I identify “Maria” as the person who suffered all of the serious pain and trauma. In order to avoid dealing with it, I’ve just chosen to go by my nickname of Shelley for most of my life. I didn’t come to this realization until about 2 days go believe it or not. I always thought I just liked the name Shelley better. The truth is that nothing overly traumatizing didn’t happen to me as “Shelley.” And by that I mean I wasn’t powerless over what happened. It’s now time for my two halves to come together because I am WHOLE. I am me. Call me Shelley or Maria, matters not. I am both!
I turned 48 this month and I am damn proud of it. WOOHOO! I’ve always believed that my birthday should be a national damn holiday. Everyone should celebrate the day I was born. No? Seriously? Hmmmm, ok maybe it’s just ME that feels this way. I will convince you later 🙂 I am a wife, mother and Mimi. If you’re not familiar with what a Mimi is, let me educate you on behalf of my grandchildren. Mimi is the name my 1st born grandchild decided to call me. I tried to teach her to call me Grammy. She wasn’t having it. One day she just looked at me and said “Mimi.” I didn’t know what she meant and finally it hit me. She named me. I wear that name proudly because she chose it. I am not allowed to call myself a grandmother because she will (at almost age 4) correct me and say “You’re not a grandmother. You’re a Mimi. You’re my Mimi.” She’s absolutely right, I am her Mimi and proud of it too. She’s truly the reason her mother survived her teenage years. If there was no payout on the other end, I may have thought twice about raising girls! JUST KIDDING. My kids are my life, but we have a strange relationship. We all goof around and call each other names. We talk smack about each other, but we would never, ever allow anyone else to use our words. Period.
I truly live to be a Mimi more so than anything else. I have two grandchildren, one girl and one boy. Their moms are my oldest girls. The boy, sadly, lives so far away I only get to see him a few times a year. It breaks my heart. When I do see him I don’t want to overload him with hugs and kisses from a stranger. I can’t wait until he’s a little older so he knows who I am. He’s almost 3! I get to see my granddaughter regularly because she only lives 5 minutes away. I learned the hard way to NEVER drive by her house and beep the horn while I have hot Chinese takeout in the car. That winds up with a phone call on the cell with a crying child on the other end who doesn’t understand why you didn’t stop to say hello. PopPop and I immediately turned around to go see her and needless to say we ate cold Chinese food for dinner that night. Totally worth it.
I have 4 children ages 27 (girl), 25 (girl), 21(boy and will be 22 in 11 more days) and 14 (girl). What were we thinking, right? We were thinking at the time the house was already full, we didn’t have enough hands so what’s one more. The 14 yr old was NOT surprise because she was adopted. She was planned. I can also say for a fact that had our oldest girls been full-blown teenagers when we adopted the youngest one, I would have specifically requested a boy. Just sayin’. Now that we have 3 kids in their 20’s we are now wondering “What the hell were we thinking?” but never for long. She’s a great kid who has taught us a lot.
I’ve been married to my last husband for 19 years. I say last because I am NEVER doing this again. I did it a few times before him, but they just didn’t take. I kept the kids and moved on. This one sticks around and sometimes I wonder why, but we are very fortunate. We love each other far more than we did the day we got married. He is my best friend, my everything. I don’t need him, but I sure want him in my life every day. We’ve already fought the cancer battle with him once and I do not want to do that again. The universe was kind enough to allow me to keep him and it showed me just how much I truly do love him. Not that I didn’t know before, but now I think twice before calling him an asshat. Ok not really, but it sounds good right?
I could write for days… but this is enough for now. My hope is to one day have people follow my story to understand how an abuse survivor isn’t just a survivor. I thrive. I am happy. I am loved. Life is beautiful.
Namaste and Aho
**In the coming days I will start writing using names. I have to figure out a bunch of fictional names first because my wish is to protect the anonymity of those I love as best I can while still telling my story.