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Pieces of Me

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Pieces of Me
Kari Meckling
PSY 202
Instructor Hopson
August 11, 2013

I. What things do you remember about your childhood? a. Imbalance of relationships b. Financial struggles c. Parents argued constantly - - stress d. Warped puzzle piece II. What were you like as a teenager? a. Grew up too quickly b. Became a mother figure to my nieces c. Balanced school, work, and extra-curricular activities III. What were your educational experiences? a. Transferred from private college to community college b. Worked full-time while being a full-time student c. Stopped after 2-year degree due to financial situation d. Enlisted in the Air Force e. Pursuing Bachelor’s degree with the Post 9/11 GI Bill IV. Do you have your own family now? f. Husband g. Twins h. Church V. What would make you happy in the future? i. Balanced relationships j. Financial freedom k. Help my boys grow
Pieces of Me Development is like a puzzle that takes an entire lifetime to piece together. It is a continuous process that can be ever changing based on knowledge, experiences, choices, and even some uncontrollable influences, like nature or the environment we live in. My puzzle pieces take on an eclectic shape, combing different perspectives or theories that potentially explain my developmental track (Witt & Mossler, 2010). When fused together and applied to my childhood, adolescent years, and the present day, I noticed that certain components from various theories have helped construct and define the pieces of me. Although my childhood years created a rather warped puzzle piece, I learned a great deal about relationships and their significance. Daniel Levinson believed that the primary components of a life structure are the person’s relationships with others (Witt & Mossler, 2010). I agree with Levinson to a degree, however, connections with others are built from a series of other foundational relationships to include God and self. Bill LaMorey, lead pastor at Calvary Fellowship in Hartford, Connecticut, stated:
“Jesus summed up all of the rules and regulations of the Bible with two simple commandments, ‘Love God with everything you’ve got’ and ‘Love your neighbor like you love yourself.’ In other words, life’s all about relationships (Butler, 2009).”
What I found was that my childhood was completely missing those foundational relationships. My parents had never made God a priority in their lives or mine. Without the presence of the Lord, I noticed that both were pessimistic and both had low self-esteem and poor relationships with others as a result. It seemed as if neither of them had an ounce of positivity within them. This definitely reflected in other areas through a downward spiral of events. Financial struggles began to mount, heated arguments became more frequent, communication suffered, and stress levels were elevated. The negative energy that consumed my parents’ lives eventually bled out into my life, which deteriorated any positive outlook I may have had along with my self-confidence. Erikson’s stage theory would suggest that somewhere along the way, I had not met the challenge of “Stage Two: Autonomy Versus Shame and Doubt,” where self-confidence was not gained (Witt & Mossler, 2010). As a result of the negativity surrounding me, it became extremely difficult to form quality connections with both God and others, leaving me with a warped puzzle piece. Given the complexity of my childhood, maturation definitely hit me well before my peers during the adolescent part of my life. Some days, it felt as if I was an adult trapped inside of an adolescent’s body. As Erikson would put it, I began to anguish over how I fit into my world and experienced an ‘identity crisis’ (Witt & Mossler, 2010). I successfully balanced schoolwork, extra-curricular activities, family life, and a job in order to support myself; but I missed out on being a kid. If that was not enough on my plate, my parents took custody of two of my nieces during my junior year. Since my sister lacked the necessary mother chip, I took on that role and eventually became a mother figure in their lives. I do not regret my accelerated childhood and adolescent years because it taught me how to juggle multiple responsibilities and life demands. However, I do wonder what life would have been like had I focused more of my time and energy on defining my needs before tending to the needs of everyone else. What I learned was that I would need to let my eventual children just be children and experience life without such burdens on their shoulders so that they could truly learn, grow and develop. My educational puzzle piece began construction when I decided to attend a private college rather than my local community college. Without conducting much research, I chose to go to the private school because of the prestigious reputation that it held. Most of the students in attendance came from very wealthy families, so their education was completely funded for them; these kids did not have to worry about holding a job or supporting themselves. I, on the other hand, had to take out numerous student loans to supplement miniscule grants and hold a job to try and put myself through school. Once I realized the costs were adding up quickly and that I did not fit the bill for the private school world, I decided to transfer to the local community college. I knew that I had already dug myself a financial ditch, so I ended up working full-time while attending school in the evenings. I was able to manage since I was already accustomed to working and being a student. However, the government punished me for earning too much by taking away my eligibility for federal grant money. There was no way that I was going to fund my entire education with student loans, so I graduated with my two-year degree and left for the Air Force. My reason for enlisting was to be able to complete my education one day. Since then, I have completed my 4-year enlistment requirement and I am now a proud veteran. My hard work has earned me the Post 9/11 GI bill that I am now using to pursue my Bachelor’s degree at Ashford. I feel that this piece of the puzzle will forever be forming because we constantly learn through experience and acquire new knowledge with each passing day. Although I have traveled down one bumpy road to get to where I am today, I have been truly blessed with my very first home and wonderful family of my own. I have an amazing husband who works hard so that I can be home to raise our handsome, identical twin boys. And now, we have acquired a church family as well, which I feel will help tremendously with creating a maintaining a Godly household. I can say that my family has been the most important piece of my life puzzle thus far. And, because of my experiences, I will be forever grateful that this is one of the things that turned out just right.
In order to have a blissful future, I must first establish and sustain balanced relationships. Those relationships are the key to making the other aspects of my life and future successful. Once I achieve and maintain that balance, my goal is to eliminate my debts and achieve financial peace. Not only will that give me the luxury to fulfill some personal needs and desires, but also it will allow me to help my children in a way that my parents were never able to help me. Finally, as my boys grow, I want to nurture and guide them by sharing my past experiences, skills and knowledge (Witt & Mossler, 2010). However, I do not want them to grow up before their time as I had to. If in the end, I can attain that total life balance and my boys develop into the wonderful men I know they can be, then I will have reached ultimate satisfaction. So far, none of my puzzle pieces necessarily resemble the form that society believes they should take on. My pieces have adapted and evolved to overcome unbalanced relationships, negative influences, accelerated maturation, and stringent life demands. But through confidence, maturity, and serenity my personality has gravitated towards a more positive direction (Roberts & Mroczek, 2008, p. 33). Though most of the pieces of me are skewed or warped in the eyes of society, they are what make me perfect through the eyes of God, and that is all that matters.

Butler, K. J. (2009, Sept 27). Local church launches new series on relationships. The Courant. Retrieved from
Roberts, B., & Mroczek, D. (2008). Personality trait change in adulthood.
Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 31–35.
Witt, G., & Mossler, R. (2010). Adult development and life assessment. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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