I don’t just write for me anymore, I write for you as well. I used to write because it was a natural part of my existence. It was for me alone. Things like stream of consciousness and essays on topics such as immigration or violence. I also wrote about what I observed hanging out in cafes people watching. Writing was how I processed my feelings. It was how I thought. How I breathed. An extension of my soul. Writing still is all of those things, but now it’s also different. Now you’re out there. I think about someone else seeing my words. I write in my notebooks less than I used to since blogging became a part of my life, although the pages still fill up at a dramatic rate. Today, for this post, I will write freely. Whatever comes to mind. So the writing may seem random or disjointed at times. I sincerely thank you for your interest in me, my thoughts, my feelings, and my words. It’s nice to extend my little piece of the world.
Thoughts of my father come to my mind. I think there is significance in the fact that most of my new friends over these past two years have been male. I think I am trying to figure out this one called the opposite sex. To learn to trust the gender that I learned not to trust. I made a new commitment today. To release those in my life who cannot be there for me emotionally. To stop reaching out to them in hopes that this time they will be there. With the continued false belief that they are capable, or willing, to start reaching out to me. To let them go, or at least let go of my expectations anyway. Accept what they do have to offer or move on. I am committed to bringing people into my life who can, want to, and will, be there for me. Who will reach out to me instead of always hanging back and letting me take the lead in the relationship. I realize I have played a big part in this dynamic. I am learning to hang back and not rush in. Giving the other person time and space to take the lead. I think it’s about control. I am working on releasing that as well. I realize that I have made connections with those who could not be there for me emotionally because that’s what I learned growing up. My parents, and my siblings, weren’t there for me in those ways. I didn’t have any special relationships with any of my aunts, uncles, my grandmas, or grandpas. So that was the norm. I guess it felt comfortable. Natural. I have searched for what I was missing, coming up with what was familiar time and time again. Since my mom died, I no longer have the responsibility to look out for her, like I thought was my duty. She is so much better off. No longer suffering. I rarely feel sad that she’s not here. I hardly ever miss her. I imagine over time I will. I think it comes back to the fact that she was not there emotionally for me. So I am released from the self-imposed expectations that were never met. Now that both of my parents are gone from this world, I told my aunt, “I guess this makes me an orphan.” I always felt really alone growing up. I often wondered if I was adopted. Now I have a lot of friends. A few very special ones who can, and have, been there for me through thick and thin. The unspoken rules in a family such as mine, a family with an alcoholic parent, were Don’t talk, Don’t trust, Don’t feel. I am still learning how to ask for what I want. For what I need. To say how I’m feeling. I push myself. It’s getting easier.
There’s more ease in my life because of the past two years and all of the self work, meditation, learning about who I am, and how I function. Changing, growing, learning to be me. No longer trying to hide my uniqueness, my tears, my talents. Embracing life, and people. During the first three years of life the most growth and development takes place in a person’s life. I think for me, the past two years have been another early childhood, combined with a second coming of adolescence.
People tell me I’m peaceful, that I make them feel calm. I love that. I’ve always wanted to bring more peace into the world. Now I am, through just being me. Soon I will write on strips of paper what no longer serves me, then light them on fire in a burning bowl. Afterwards I will set new light-filled intentions for the new year.
There have been some major shifts. Again. That is totally what 2015 has been about. I have gone through continual death and rebirth. Over and over. Some small. Others major. My mom’s death allowed for much of my rebirth. She gave me money several months before she died. I used the money to buy a new wardrobe for the new me, as well as clothes for my sons. I used the money to go on my life-changing trip; my first major transformation. I used the money to buy the red couch I had been wanting, a step towards making a home for my sons. I found myself having desire for another major transformation as the year was drawing to an end. It happened last December and I loved it. I felt some major shift should happen again. I really wanted it. And it did come, but this one was of a very different sort. I am eternally grateful for the process. I’m beginning to trust it. But doubt still creeps in. I have a reminder on the wall by my front door from Naropa University, the path that led me to Boulder, “Transform Yourself, Transform Your World.” This recent shift was on the other end of the spectrum. A settling in. A shift from wanting, to being. A quiet place, instead of the intensity of last year’s transformation. I know it was gradual and I have worked hard to come to this place. But it’s still a very noticeable shift.
I imagine people may have thought I had it together if they saw me and with my positive energy out and about. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I couldn’t do the dishes, or do the laundry, as often as I wanted to, needed to. Couldn’t balance my checkbook regularly, or figure out my money, my bills, a budget. Had a hard time managing my time or eating enough food. I craved the freedom and saw structure as the enemy. I couldn’t consider getting a regular job as I would be confined, tied down. There wouldn’t be enough time for all the things I really wanted to do if I gave my time to a job and domestic tasks. I would not become part of the mainstream 9 – 5 working class zombies. That would kill my soul, my creativity, my desire to live a different sort of life. It would take away my freedom. I defined my self as a free spirit who didn’t care about money. Besides there wouldn’t be enough time for self-exploration, introspection, and healing work if I was one of the working class.
Another thing that gnawed at me was my craving for connection, often imagining someone was watching me, or hearing me, when I was alone…so I wouldn’t feel so lonely. So I could feel like someone cared about me. So I could imagine I had the attention I needed. I couldn’t be there for my teenage sons like I would have liked. Preferring a man’s company instead of theirs. I was often gone at night, at his house, or taking classes. I would wish for more texts to pop up on my phone, craving more attention. I Couldn’t organize all of the paper that kept piling up, or the contents of my room. I felt paralyzed when I thought about all there was to do and I just couldn’t even start.
Then the quiet shift.
Now I do the dishes. I keep the house tidy. I take time to eat. I enjoy spending time with my sons. I love them so much. I’m not looking for someone’s arms to run into … although I still want that in my life. I have a system for keeping track of my finances. I keep up with my checkbook on an app, now in favor over the old-fashioned paper register. I use Google calendar to keep my schedule and activities straight. My room is organized, and I am slowly working through the piles of papers, understanding that it’s a process that will take time. The old thinking told me I had to do it all at once, leaving me overwhelmed and consistently defeated. Now I take a nap in the afternoon and don’t feel I’m wasting valuable time. Before, I felt I needed to be diligent about using my time for doing all the things in life that I wanted to do. I have so many interests. I couldn’t use my time to do menial domestic tasks. Now I’m very interested in finding a career that fits me. I’m thinking something at the University. I want to be a part of something bigger. To be a part of a team of like-minded people working towards common goals. Or possibly work in the school system on mindfulness with kids. Now I can be alone in my home for hours, and I don’t imagine someone is watching me. I understand what it’s like to have only myself for company, and I’m comfortable with that. I’m learning when I need more interaction with people, when I need exercise, when my energy is high, when it is low. I’m slowly allowing myself to hear the message, “I want to go to school.” I’m slowly turning away from the voices that say, “You really don’t want to do all those papers, take those tests, and learn what someone else prescribes.” Actually I need to embrace these voices with compassion and understanding instead of turning them away. They are valid. I can listen.
It’s snowing a bit outside now. Just a faint, light, delicate scene beyond my balcony door. It’s soothing, comforting. I think my son will be home from work soon. I will have to switch gears. Something that is still difficult for me..transitions. And time-management is still a bit of a conundrum. Freedom and structure have made peace with each other. They understand how to co-exist. And the timer is my friend. I have to remind myself of this, because sometimes the clock and wide open blocks of time still fight with each other. Sometimes I still revel in writing down all I need to do in the morning, and doing none of it, just to spite structure. As if saying, “Ha! I don’t have to do anything if I don’t want to!!!” Maybe that comes from being a good girl for most of my life. Always following the rules, doing what I was supposed to. So now there is the part of me that says, “Just screw it all!” But that part is settling down. She’s had her time. Had her say. Right now I am thinking about Alice Walker. Thinking about allowing myself to go to school for writing. Tears come with these words. More tears and a constriction in my chest as I still struggle to give myself permission. Still silently telling myself it’s not feasible. More tears, eye rubbing, afraid of the unknown. Calm sets in. I look out the window again. See the delicate snow turn to a light rain, think about the project I will be helping with later this week, and remember that most of this life I do not control. Remember that I want to stay open to the magic of the unknown, the unexpected. That I want to write my heart out. To stop saying, “I have others things to do.” I know the only one telling me to do anything is me. Sometimes this is hard. No one else to be accountable to except myself, well and my sons. They often try to hold me accountable. “Mom, you didn’t do your dishes (they don’t say this anymore).” “Mom we need to go to the grocery store.” Being an adult means telling yourself what to do. Uugh. Some parts of freedom aren’t that easy, or fun. Just as we needed to de-school when we started doing homeschool (unschooling), I seem to have needed a time to de-life my old life, the old me. I guess it took two years. During homeschool I let my sons be on their own personal timelines for reading, spelling, and math, understanding we all develop at a different pace. Over the course of these past two years I have continually pressured myself, given myself flack for not being further along, for not this, for not that. I could give my sons the space to develop according to their own internal rhythms, but I was silently criticizing myself for doing the same thing. I gained some compassion for myself when I read my personality type after taking an online test. I was so excited when I read all the traits of the ENFP personality on 16personalities.com. I said, “That’s me! That’s so me!!!” It was very validating. I was so happy. I read it from time to time. It helps me appreciate my strengths and understand my weaknesses. I’m sure it can help me with career choices if I find the right coach to work with. I still have struggles, like how to figure out how to read all the books that I have. There are so many good ones that I can’t decide where to start.
When I read back over this I am so happy I have given myself these two years. Now I can live my life from a whole new world view. I can say, “I am worth it.” I don’t feel sorry for myself. I don’t harbor any blame. I just feel thankful.
I will end here as it seems as good of place as any. Thank you for reading this long post. There was a lot to chew on. I hope somehow my words were helpful, or that they at least gave you something to think about.
I love you!