Tuesday, September 18, 2012
From the time I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a rock star, and I wanted to be passionately loved. But as I got older, I saw my dreams dying on the vine, my heart shriveling from a lack of love, and my time getting shorter. I had settled, and it was killing me slowly in a way I didnít want to go.
So 21 months ago, I started a journey, seeking to reclaim my heart, and hoping to find a truly intimate trusting love. I also wanted to do something else with my life, although I didnít know what that was when I started out. The way forward was anything but clear. I didnít know what I was in for, I didnít know if Iíd find what I sought. But I couldnít breathe the stale air another day, I couldnít stand feeling hated for secrets I wasnít responsible for creating, and I couldnít be what I was ďsupposed to beĒ anymore. Perhaps it was naive, but I still had my romance and rock star dreams.
Iíve changed in many ways since that day. I quickly move forward from situations and have chosen to leave people and relationships that arenít a good fit for me. It isnít that theyíre wrong; itís not that theyíre bad. Itís that theyíre not right for me.
I used to apologize for who I was, be embarrassed that I was different, chastise myself and try to tolerate things that made me crazy inside. Now, Iíve grown quite a bit more patient and understanding with myself. Iíve decided to find the humor and humanity in who I am, who we all are. Iíve chosen to be comfortable in my own skin, and now when Iím involved with someone who chooses to criticize or judge, (including myself), I realize this is about their own fragile ego, struggling to hide a scared heart, and I donít take it on.
Iíve learned to sit still and cry. Iíve learned how to be alone, and what to do when I donít want to be. Iíve allowed myself to laugh openly and loudly and fully, even when Iím alone, and even if no one else thinks itís funny.
Iíve found the poet, the pianist, the photographerÖthe creatorÖin me. They were jammed down inside under a well of pain, messily covered over with requirements to be ďnormalĒ that I could never come close to fulfilling.
Iíve had some mantras in my head as Iíve begun each day. And Iíve made some promises to myself. Sometimes the promises are nearly impossible to keep, and sometimes the mantras are impossible to hear over the noisy pain in my life.
Mostly I made two commitments. I made a commitment to continue to heal and honor myself and who I am, to seek relationships and friendships that made me smile, filled me with joy, challenged my intellect, and warmed my heart. I also promised myself that even when it broke my heart, Iíd leave behind any relationships that didnít. Iím not so good at that, but I am working on that, too.
And I made a commitment to myself to be and remain open to taking new chances, to be willing to suffer more heart break. Iím willing to open my mouth and share my story, even when Iím not the hero, and even when it makes me ache from facing it all. Iíve written about this experience, sharing how Iím feeling, what Iím changing, and what I seeÖlike Iím doing now. I wear my heart on my sleeve because I believe it helps others, and because I believe having it out has enriched my life more than hiding it ever could.
Some have understood what Iím going through; others, not so much. Iíve even had a friend I thought would be life-long call me up to tell me she canít be my friend anymore because I didnít meet her expectations. But Iíve had other people come forward in ways I would have never imagined friends could, holding me up and helping me fly when I had no net beneath me.
In turn, Iíve tried to help others along the way by telling them what Iíve gone through before them, and by being as open as I can about the difficulties Iím facing and have faced.
Just as other projects go, this one hasnít followed the path I expected, and itís nowhere near complete in the amount of time Iíd hope for. I was and still am surprised at how long itís taken me to get past my past.
Iíve been challenged by how hard it is sometimes to move forward as well. Iíve had to survive in an unbelievably stressful environment, as I struggled with the financial mess I found Iíd been left in, trying to save a business by myself. Other things have set me back, like breaking my ankle, gaining back weight Iíd thought Iíd lost forever, losing my energy from a thyroid issue, and dealing with a sick doggie. I lost my Dad back in May, which still breaks my heart. And more than once, Iíve been concerned that I didnít have the strength or the necessary compass to find my way through this.
Often I canít see whatís next, and most of the time when I believe I can, I find out itís because I wasnít seeing clearly. Iím learning to sit with uncertainty. Iím learning to function in chaos. When I find challenges I canít overcome straight on, Iíve been working to find my way around them. Sometimes the way around them seems odd, but if it works, thatís what matters to me. Some friends have expressed fear that Iím in over my head, but soon they see I know how to swim. And if I begin to drown, I trust someone will save me.
And even when itís been so dark all I can do is trust the horizon exists, Iíve held onto a belief that if I choose to get through this, I will. If I choose to begin again, I can create the path I want to travel. If I choose to honor myself, and give my love and friendship as honestly as I can, I will have such rich experiences on my life path that it will be worth each and every tear Iíve shed.
I am extremely aware that I am only a small part of the way through this life transition. I have been learning who I am. I have been thinking through my options and gathering my resources. I have been building up my strength, and I am choosing to trust that the challenges Iíve faced already have prepared me for what might be ahead. With all that in my head and heart, I believe Iím ready to take the next big steps in my life. To be honest, they are steps I find even scarier than the ones Iíve already taken. I have no idea where they will lead, and I get that I may have to swallow bitter pills of regret from making irreversible mistakes. But I chose and am still choosing to do this, and I wonít leave the path Iím on.
I understand that rock star dream now. I want to lead and teach and inspire and touch others; I want to matter past the moment of connection. I know I havenít found all the steps to living that dream fully yet, but Iíve got a good clue where to start now.
I havenít found the intimate true love I know is out there either. But Iíve learned a good deal about what Iím looking for, and I know what I have to offer. And between now and when love blossoms, I trust that I will continue to learn and be enriched by my connections, friendships and relationships with others.
So for now, from my little corner of the world, I can proudly say this: 21 months ago, I made a choice to live fully instead of dying slowly. I made an active, challenging choice to go after my ALL of my dreams. I gathered my strength, I honored my gut, and I followed my heart. Itís time to take some more steps and I will do so believing Iím still headed in the right direction. I remain committed to an open heart as I travel, however clumsy and rocky the journey, and I look forward to looking back at this time, grateful for my own courage, the amazing experiences Iíve had, and all the beautiful friends who have encouraged me along the way.
~ cj 2012.09.13