For the last few months I have been seriously contemplative of where my life will go. At this juncture, there is still much to be determined; the difference between where I was just a few days ago and right now is that I can honestly say I am ok with not knowing. What I have learned in that short while is what matters most: Growth. If I were to remain stagnant and unchanging, obviously the unknown future would remain this frightening uncertain thing. If I continue to internally stretch myself beyond my circumstances, however, then I realize the only place to go from here is up.
To digress just momentarily, the reason for this perspective shift is not from my determination alone, but rather the direct result of someone whom has come alongside me to put a mirror to my life and make me see, absolutely, my worth. I will conclude with this later…
The struggle to balance out every aspect of self has been difficult, and this is putting it mildly; I expelled a lot of mental energy on what people think of me, and on being hard on the person I see when I am introspective. The purpose I believe this served does not seem as relevant to me now as it did even just a few short days ago, and I marvel at how such a simple thing can change everything about how I interpret other’s opinions of me and how I see myself.
Consequence of choice has given me what I currently have. I am back to my maiden name, I am raising two children alone, and I am solely responsible for the financial, emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing of my daughters – where I thought regression has never been an option, nor was wallowing in pity, doubt, and excuses, (I knew I had to move forward, there is simply no alternative) surprised am I to realize that I was doing all those things, and I pretended as though life was falling into place. All along denying myself what has been rightfully mine with each new sunrise: The right to accept who I am, and the right to really forgive my past instead of blaming it if I did (do) not succeed.
What a joyous, liberating moment to find, then, a beautiful release of what I held onto in vain, in denial, and in realizing I did it because I deeply did not feel like I deserved to really set it free. Why not ground the burden carried on my shoulders for days, months, years… Why not forgive myself? To see so clearly how much I denied of myself because I blamed an unchangeable past for not finding peace in an unforeseeable future seems now just ludicrous. More so, to not be free from it in the present time… Sulking instead of dancing. Crying instead of boisterous laughter. Fear instead of freedom? Why live that way? Well, I am in pure awe basking in the knowledge that I do not have to live that way anymore.
In no way does any of this indicate my endeavor is completed. Actually, the glorious nature of my environment seen in a brand new light is that I have so much ahead of me in terms of personal growth. The prospect of this is tremendously… Magical. No longer rhetorical, and certainly not posed for shallow purpose: Why not grow? This work is only going to strengthen the areas of myself I have internally struggled with for years because of my circumstances – because of my choices; each unearthed piece rediscovered offers the opportunity to re-learn myself, and most importantly, to appreciate all I endured all over again. Appreciate being the word chosen carefully here, knowingly broken free from an innate tendency to wallow… I intend to see my past differently, learning from it wholly instead of ripping parts of it to shreds only to retain the good things.
I paused just now, breathed in deeply, and set my eyes around the walls that make up my home. Settling on articles written for the magazine in town, I began to reflect on what those features say to the world about me… What am I putting out there, really? Though simple an observation it may seem, and easier still the question, taking it a step further, I wonder what I have seen of me – who have I been for myself? Apart from the opinions and judgments others; apart from caring too much about what people think of me. Perhaps it is time I consider this for a long while and hope to glean from this time the perspective of a mother whom loves her children, but direct that acceptance and unconditional love on myself.
Discerning eyes have taken notice and made an honest supposition that I could give to myself that kind of acceptance instead of making excuses to push it back down. This is precisely what has helped me begin to really take accountability for how I have treated myself, and to understand how important it truly is not to hold myself back by denying what is mine. Without judgment, without contempt, and free from motives other than wanting to share what is a gift we all benefit from, I have been given a second chance.
By pure serendipity I met someone whom has opened my eyes in a way I have not ever experienced before. I thought I was doing all right but openly confess there is much more work ahead because I have been shown how beautiful I am – and I am starting to understand how much more beautiful I will be once I feel my worth – in the way I deserve to be treated, heard, and understood by others, but especially when I am looking into myself.
The most wonderful thing about this but from the laughter and truthful conversation is that for perhaps the first time I am allowing myself the freedom to admit how wrong I have been: So critical of myself that it is obvious even when I thought I hid it well – as if I was struggling for oxygen laying face down on the ground and someone came along and lifted me to my feet where the air is pure. I was breathing before, but with every inhale and exhale now, I realize how much easier it is when I am not gasping in the mud. All I needed was someone who might teach me to stand.
I look to the present time for acceptance, and I intend to stay here for a while. Not rigid, but appreciative of right now for how it can help me to grow. Because of who I am, there will never come a day I am not mindful of my past, and it is plausible that I may always have some apprehension for the future, but neither of these need cripple me any longer. Furthermore, need I not care about the opinions of others, allowing this to dictate my actions or thoughts: Free to dance and laugh… banishing fear, doubt, and the refusal of forgiveness.
If I live to be 100, may I look back on this time of awakening and whisper gratitude into the wind for I was given a priceless treasure. He shares it with me almost as if everyone knows and I was the last to hear the secret, as if he has only a slight idea of the tremendous value I place on this gift, devouring it, well, like I am learning to breathe again. As sincere as I can be, may I just express my wish that everyone knew what he knows, how idealistic to say it, but the world would be a better place if even half the population had his wisdom, articulacy, and grace. If we were all willing to do the work this world would merely be made up of happy people – sadly, it is not, but maybe I can help change that when my own evolution is complete; I guess my willingness and eager attitude for growth put me a step ahead when we met, because I was already barefoot and ready to run… He just had to show me how.