There is no introduction needed for this one, so I will toss it right over to this amazing #LRPBoudieBeauty
“My name is Karlynn and I am 50. This is a statement, not a label. All my life I’ve been labeled, either given by others or myself. I started my life’s journey as “Kathleen’s sister”. I looked up to, admired, and wanted to be just like my older sister. I’m sure I annoyed her and the labeling came from her (i.e. “thunder thighs”, “bubble butt” and “fat”). I didn’t realize this for many, many years but I was indoctrinated to feeling not worthy of being myself and that I was imperfect in so many ways.
As 1 of 6 kids, you kind of lose yourself in a big family. And going through school your always known as the sister of (insert older sibling name here) by teachers, coaches, and other students. I’m not making excuses or asking for pity, this is my story.
I’m “child number 4 of 6” (a label still used by my loving mom), “Fred and Arlene’s daughter”, etc. Putting the label of “perfect” daughter on myself. When you’re 1 of 6, you’re always trying to get one parents attention. Being compared to your older siblings and getting called someone else’s name most times (I was even called the dog’s name a few). I loved my childhood, don’t get me wrong, this is just a reflection of labeling – self induced or not.
Then comes being so&so’s ”girlfriend”, fast forward to” Kevin’s wife” (this label I do love), but again you lose a piece of yourself. Also, no one taught me what this label meant and I needed to work through how to be the “perfect” wife for my husband. Again, a label I gave to myself. How can anyone be “perfect”? So I set myself up for failure in my own attempt to be “perfect”. I do think I survived this one – we’ve been married for 27 years.
“Mom”, to me is always a glorious label to have. I was blessed with 3 beautiful (in every aspect of the word) boys. I’ve been “Mom” for 24 years and have given my life to making sure these now young men are loving, caring, stable, and well adjusted adults. I always wanted to be the “perfect” mom, again, setting myself up for failure. Always looking outward of what I should be doing, instead of inward. Hoping that my love was enough for them when money was tight and we couldn’t or shouldn’t say “yes” to whatever whim they had. This is the most important label for me and I couldn’t mess this up. So as “imperfect” as I was/am, I survived this one, too!
I have given pieces of myself away and chipped away at who I am. The “who I am” got lost until thats all I was faced with. My husband is still by my side. My kids are mostly gone. I’m an “empty nester” (label) and have no one to give to, to be labeled as, and I’m turning 50. I thought what the fuck do I do now?! I have to figure out, who is Karlynn? I don’t know? What do I do with myself? Am I worthy of putting myself first? These are questions that I know everyone is faced with at some point in life. Again, I turned outward for the answer. I asked literally everyone who has already been through this, a “veteran” of “empty nester” syndrome. How do I go on from here? I listened to everyone waiting for that one piece of advice that would be my “A-HA” moment. Sadly, I never got it. Though my dearest, oldest, wisest soul sister said “Karlynn, you are a beautiful, strong woman and you can do this!” Thanks, Kirsten. Then I decided to tell 50 – “FUCK YOU!”, and show myself and my labels what 50 means to me. I have embraced turning 50. I am 50 and not even my older sister can tell me that 50 is horrible. I looked inside this time with some outside help for support but damn it, I survived 50! (And all those other labels given by others and myself).
*SIDEBAR: I still have self doubt but NOW I have this fabulous record to show myself how worthy I am. For this, I thank Lindsey (and myself).”