Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Voices

Well, I must say, this is a strange time. I feel on the edge of something brand new, but find myself being pulled away by the voices in my head. I find myself restless and itching to try new things, but it feels almost...dare I say it...self indulgent. Since this blog is the closest that I've come to self indulgence, this is a new for me.
I suck at it.
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I find that there are things that I am dissatisfied with in my life. Yesterday it ocurred to me: "So change them." My knee jerk, immediate response was a shocked "I can't do that!" followed by 'Why not?" and the voices of others begin to tell me why. These voices are so ingrained after 50 years that it is hard to tell where I leave off and they begin. I'm asking myself why a lot, and it surprises me that the answers are very often not in my voice, but in the voices of others.
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Who are the others? My gruff father. My martyr mother. Grandparents, relatives, things that I've seen, or things that I've simply come to accept as truth. I blew out of here like my ass was on fire as a young woman. After I left, life burned me pretty badly. I returned home because home seemed like a good and safe place to raise children. Those children are now raised, and it is time for Tim and I to pull our dreams off the shelf where we carefully put them years ago. There was no time for our dreams...we were busy trying to raise up our children to realize their own. And now I'm looking at our dreams, and, surprisingly, I find that there is a huge resistance in me to trying new because I'm afraid to be burned. I've been playing it safe, and to step out and try new seems dangerous as well as self indulgent.
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So here I sit, navel gazing. I'm not depressed. I'm surprised a lot. I'm not sorry that my life was given over to my children. It's what a mother does, and if you can't put your children first, you've got no business having them. Sorry for my bluntness, but self indulgent parents raise self indulgent kids, and we're dealing with the fallout from that in America. My children are raised, and it is time for me, and it is time for Tim. While Tim seems able to move on to other things without a backward glance, I stew and fret and feel as if I am flirting with disaster. I feel ashamed and guilty as I think of actually spending money on myself.
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It will all come right, after I sort through this muddle, figure out what things I'm doing because I want to, and what things I'm doing because I have to. Or because I've always done it that way. Or because I've always been told to do it that way. I guess this is what is called finding your 'authentic self'. It's actually a little embarrassing. Whenever I heard others talking about things like this, I always sneered a little.
'Finding yourself' seemed stupid.
I knew who I was.
I was living my life by my own rules.
And you know, I believed that I was.

8 comments:

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

You are a few years ahead of me in the life cycle, so I read your posts on this very topic with great interest. You are like a template for my life in about four or five years time: I am learning from you.

Please continue to write on this topic. You articulate your varied feelings and thoughts so well....it's exciting and crazymaking and scary to be "on the cusp" or "on the verge".

And spending money on yourself....how do you undo years of sacrifice and conditioning in order to do that.....wow....it's interesting....

steviewren said...

Before I had children I was a child...I became a mother and grew up because of them...I don't think I ever really knew who I was before that because I was too young to know that figuring out that fact would be important to me. When I was in my forties I began to think about me again...then I got divorced and was plunged back into doing whatever it takes to survive and pay the bills...I know who I am now but don't have the time or money to pursue my dreams...go for it Debby, do it for team womanhood!

Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

Dear Deb

I love that you are reassessing... now is a wonderful time to take stock. I don't have time to do that now - a cow might run me over if I hesitate!!!

But I have a feeling that when you clear all those other 'messages' out of your head, that you'll really like the You that you discover.

We do.

BB

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Steviewren, I like that: team womanhood. You've coined a fab new phrase...

jeanie said...

You know, I see a woman who, when she dared to fly found she was shot down - and even though LOGICALLY she probably know that that flight of escape and this flight of freedom are very different paths to choose.

For a start, you begin this new path knowing victory and joy and the strength of a job well done.

On this adventure, your compadre is Tim. Very different to have a Pancho who delights in you spreading your wings.

And as you step forward this time around, silencing those voices by taking action, you are a magnificent woman who is allowed to and gives herself permission to enjoy a little.

I know it must be hard not to flinch at the possibilities of falling - and hard not to look around to see who is learning lessons from you - and not to look around to see if anyone is judging.

You live but once - and you are allowed to take stock and see what the new phase of your life can offer by walking towards it.

Good luck - and please take us with you!!

Fastfingers said...

All my children grew up and left me (the buggers) years ago, but I still find it hard to spend money on myself without feeling deeply guilty. It takes a while to get used to, like everything else. Start small and gain confidence. Just be yourself. At our age there should be no 'ought to' 'have to' or 'should do', we're freeeee! Enjoy!

PaintedPromise said...

I read this in Reader's Digest yers ago and it never left my head:

Familiar pain is somehow more comforting than pleasure you're not sure is coming.

not that "pain" probably applies at this particular point, i mean you have Tim so hey, it's all good... but it's a tidy summary of why people are afraid to make changes...

and it worries me a little why this keeps coming up in my life right now with other people i know. is someone trying to tell ME something???

sexy said...
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