Irene is an independent woman. She retired from a computer science career she worked hard for and earned. She knew she warranted a good life, freed from the abusive one she grew up in.
Her home was ruled by an overbearing, narcissistic and brutal patriarch. His vision for his only daughter of three preferential sons meant the limited choices of the day; teaching, nursing, secretarial or the proverbial M.R.S. degree.
And when his only daughter, Irene, asked him to pay for her college education as he did for her brothers’ he declared:
“I am not about to waste my money on an education for you, because you're just going to marry some bum, have a bunch of kids, and I'll never see any of my money back”. He then said, "You can go to the local community college if you really want to further your education.”
Pleading her case meant an inevitable confrontation with his unrelenting, belt-yielding temper. She knew the repercussions if she pressed, it just was not worth the risk to speak her mind.
However, years of smoldering anger and perpetual fear fueled her determination to be independent and never have to rely on anyone to pay or make her way. She knew she could be and have better. It was only a matter of time when she would and prove them all wrong.
She got help along the way through odd circumstances and lucky breaks consistent with Odd Ducks patterns; a common thread she’d one day discover congruent with others like her. She didn’t put a name to it until a conversation years later.
First she earned her Associate’s Degree in a local Junior College paid for with her own money and earned scholarships. Her then employer recognized her drive and ambition and invested in earning her Bachelor’s Degree a few years later.
Our paths crossed through her life-long desire to have her own horse. When finances permitted she found the horse of her dreams. My profession, Animal Communication, introduced us.
It was not until years later when what I thought was the root of our friendship turned out to be something different; we were two kindred spirits sharing similarities, our Odd Duck-ness.
As other Odd Ducks reveal their stories common threads and likenesses continue to unravel exposing holes in what was expected to be a fulfilled life. How to fix; the conundrum.
We think we know who we are yet when blindsided with what was hidden and now exposed confusion shrouds with less than pleasant memories of misunderstandings, aloofness, separateness and sadly, mistreatment, intentionally or otherwise.
As Odd Ducks these commonalities speak embarrassment, disdain and unworthiness. And later there is struggle with uncertainties, lower self-esteem and -confidence, relationship issues, work and career questions and sadly, family strains.
For many it is easier to not disturb the complacency and accept that it is easier to just cope and accept rather than open a cache of memories and begin again.
For Irene her years of struggle and hope for recognition and respect became a moot point. The only conceivable hope she could conjure was to separate herself from those who bullied her to her own edge and be whom she set out to be; a successful, competent and worthy woman.
It was time for me to get toxic people out of my life so I could survive wholly. It came down to two decisions, two choices that would help me right my life to what I knew I deserved.
I could continue to be disrespected
Or, I could declare I had enough and move on
Both decisions were not the best. One had to be made so I chose #2.
Yet when all was said and done Irene’s choice helped her to relax and see the bigger reason why she had to do what she did.
I chose my integrity which brought me freedom from real hurt and disrespect. And, in so doing, I have come to realize that I’m not the only one. That there are others, like me, who have done the same. I feel a true connection with those kindred spirits. I know it was right for me.
This is a mere piece of Irene’s story of self-respect and survival. Every day she lives life her way knowing that if she had not made her choice she would still be struggling, justifying and attempting to please.
As an Odd Duck, Irene notes there are many Odd Ducks out there who need to use their Duck vision to see their relationships for what they truly are. And, to remember that making a choice for different may seem insurmountable at the time, however, for her it gave her freedom and real liberation and was well worth it.
Irene is an Odd Duck. Her decision is freeing in other ways too. Her health at times is challenging. The stress that aggravated it is now gone and her bouts affecting her physical and emotional health continue to subside. My life is lighter now.
Welcome, Irene, to the Odd Duck Pond. Catch your wave and paddle along with us. We want YOU!
Irene's Story has inspired a new segment within The Odd Duck Society. Coming soon is the compilation of many stories with the common threads referenced here. The Odd Duck Survival Guide topics, from serious to silly, is coming soon.
Joyce Leake, Founder of the Odd Duck Society - Creating Our Own Waves One Paddle at-a-Time
Animal and People Communicator,Author, Speaker, Visionary