The Long Journey Up
Guest Blogger: GAIL PETERSON (Artist Author. - USA)
Growing up with a short-wired stepfather left me 'knowing' I was good for nothing, just as he told me every day. Back in the '50s-'60s, a dad could do or say anything they wanted. A police officer would say such things were domestic affairs, and they had no place interfering. So Mom worked a full-time office job during the day and hid behind her sewing machine when she was home. And I went on taking beatings and believing I was stupid, good for nothing, and that every bad thing that happened in the world was caused somehow by something bad I did. In my mind there was no point in trying to be good. I ‘knew’ I was destined only to be bad.
My life spiralled down and out of control pretty quick during my teen years. I was on a fast road to the grave. A few weeks before my last year of high school, I was about to take another hit of LSD. I'd been getting high on it throughout the week. Despite feeling physically horrible because of it, I was about to take another hit when I suddenly heard a little voice inside that said, "If you take this one, you will die."
I'd attempted suicide on three different occasions during my middle school years and resorted to drugs and alcohol to drown the pain of my worthlessness during my years of high school. But that one day, just months before my 18th birthday, a light went off inside. When I heard this warning from deep within my soul, I realized that I didn't have to be the product of my past. In just a few months, I'd be 18 and could live any life I wanted!
I spent years watching how other people that I admired lived and how they think. It took years to allow myself to believe friends and family when they'd say I am special--and maybe even smart. It's taken decades to believe it consistently. It took an encounter with my Heavenly Father 26 years ago that filled the aching hole in my heart that desperately longed for the love of a kind father that delighted in everything in me. It's taken two fantastic husbands who saw beyond my doubts and fears and continuously believed in me. It took decades of encouragement from others that "gave me permission" in my mind and heart to accept the power I have as a Child of God to do great things. As I learn to trust who God says I am (His Beloved Daughter) and follow the encouragement and example of my husbands and others who are examples of living courageous and confident, I am finally, at the age of 65, ready to fulfil my childhood dream!
Gail, Vinnie & the girls in 1989.
(10-30-1951 to 8-29-2009)
Gail & Mike
(8-16-1952 to 12-27-2020)
Fast forward almost 50 years, and here you'll find me about to launch a business that was a daydream as a little girl. My grandparents were professional artists, and I always wanted to paint like my grandmother. She was a fine British lady with a Master's in Art. She had paintings displayed all around the world. I wanted to be known as someone talented and great, just like her. I don't know when or why, but my best friend and I would always joke about the book I'd write someday. (Probably joking about it because English was my worst subject in school!)
Nine years ago, my first book came out. A nonprofit sent thousands of copies of the book to abandoned women in Pakistan. Thousands sold across North America and Central Africa. Seven years ago, the artist I only imagined at one time began to emerge. I've sold dozens of paintings. But today, eight months after the death of my second husband, I'm finding the boldness and passion for taking the dream to much higher levels than I ever imagined before. In the next few weeks, I will launch a wonderful new art site that will include books and poetry ready to be published.
It took decades to gain the skill, and more importantly, the confidence, but being 65 this week won't stop me now! God willing, there are still at least two decades left for me to bring hope, build faith, add joy, and encourage others that it doesn't matter where you've come from or even what others have told you before. If you could believe their lies as truth, why not have just as much confidence to accept the fact--that you were made for great things in God's eyes! It's never too late to fulfil a dream or passion. Unfortunately, too many people are born with a dream, a dream, that for a million reasons, is never fulfilled. But friends, it's now or never. Don't let yourself look back on your life on the day you die and wish you had. Know now, today, that you have the power to turn it all around and release the man or woman you know deep down in your soul you were born to be.
P.S. I have no regrets or resentment over anything that’s happened in my life. God has masterfully used every thread of it to weave an incredibly beautiful life that just just keeps getting better. I have two beautiful daughters, six fantastic grandchildren, and have even found my biological dad. We have been growing a sweet relationship over the past nine years. (Pic below is my dad with his grandchildren & great-grandchildren in 2014).
Artist Author, Encourager, Motivator, Business Woman