Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The one where I spill my guts to the world

This post isn't necessarily about my home renovations but is about the renovations of myself.  I felt compelled to share....

Once upon a time I used to be so energetic. Enthusiastic. Organized.  In the early (lean) years of our relationship I cooked everyday. At least breakfast and dinner. Always from scratch. I used to get up early in the morning to make breakfast for the hubbs and my daughter, make his coffee, iron his uniform and pack lunches for the day. Get the kid off to the babysitter or school and I would head out to college classes and my 2 part time jobs.In the evenings I managed to find time to clean, sew and craft!  I honestly do not know how I was able to manage it all. I guess it was the vigor of youth. It was the 90's. the age of SUPERMOM. And darn if I didn't try to be everything to everyone.
 
 As time went on and the demands on me and my time increased I began cooking from scratch less. Easy to prepare, ready made and GASP-- fast food found there way into our home. I stopped packing lunches. or ironing uniforms. No crafting. Papers and junk piled up. I was always sorting through stuff because I had become unorganized. Everything was hurry up, move, gotta go. For me and the hubbs our communication on personal level became a series of text messages and phone calls. For me and the kid it was notes on the fridge. It seemed like we were always in survival mode. There was no time to slow down. No vacations. There were bills to pay, a house to upkeep and boss to answer to. The voice inside of me whispering and eventually silent. Exhaustion was a way of life. The years passed so quickly, one memory blurring into the next. The years rolling  increasing their momentum, building to a frenzied crescendo and then breaking like waves on the beach. Shattering into droplets--This was the day we found ourselves alone as our daughter had moved out. 
 
We slowly re-adjusted from being a trio to a duo. The focus shifted from the kid to us. And our house. Our future. The ideal for my blog was born but I really didn't do anything with it. I was still far to busy working and just trying to make it through the week. Then in 2009 my employer announced our manufacturing facility would be closing. They gave us almost 3 years to prepare for the end. And I did begin to prepare financially. I had been downsized a decade before with very little time to prepare. It had nearly been the death knell for us. I vowed that wasn't going to happen again! Whatever work that had been going on in the house came to an abrupt stop. We began living in this weird limbo, going through the motions of everyday life. The day finally arrived in which I was NO LONGER gainfully employed.

I was hurt. I was angry. I was relieved. I was confused. What were these emotions?  I knew this day was coming, so why did I feel overwhelmed? It has taken me a while to sort all the mental and emotional clutter but I finally realized what was the heart of the  issue. Much like when  my daughter left home I was bereft and adrift. That is because I identified as her mother. Although I no longer have a child at home--I am still a mom.  The transition from family unit to empty-nester was managable because I was still working. I was still slightly grounded. The transitioned from employed to unemployed  knocked me for a loop... because my identity was my job. Whoa-- My job?  Really?! 
 
I suddenly felt less interesting. Like I had less worth. What was there to keep me grounded? My daughter was grown, married and out the house. The hubbs is still working. All the people I interacted with on a daily basis for nearly 10 years...GONE. Yes, I know there is technology for communication but it was the interpersonal relationships--the face to face- that helped me hold on on until the end...and then there were none.  I put on a happy face and acted like everything was fine. In truth it was not. I was numb. I was a woman with out a country to coin a phrase. Even though the job (and plant closure)  was incredibly stressful there was familiarity in the mundane and routine.
 
Days faded into nights, then became weeks and finally months. Slowly the haze is burning off and I am beginning to awaken from the stupor of fear and doubt. Maybe some of this can be attributed to the  melancholy of wintertime blahs. Perhaps with Spring I too feel reborn and rejuvenated. New beginnings all around?
 
Don't get me wrong I have some LOVELY, WONDERFUL friends. They have been so supportive. So to has my hubbs, daughter and the rest of my family. I just DIDN'T want to be  that person. Miss Negative Nellie --Complaining, scared, unsure and doubtful. I was so sure any admission of my fears would be a sign of weakness. I already felt like such a failure. Every time I said "oh I'm fine, no worries". The words rang hollow. The mask  false bravado stayed in place all the while I contemplated my future (or lack thereof?)  I  truly believe my little blog was a life preserver. Attached to which where these tenuous threads to other bloggers. Unknowingly providing me a lifeline by offering communication and friendship The difference between blogging and interaction with my friends/ family  is there were no preconceived notions or expectations. NOT THAT ANYONE made me feel that way. It was my perception of what I thought was expected of me? Does that make any sense?
 
So is my my blog my new identity? No. What it has done is give me confidence to try new things around my house. To share my triumphs and failures. To let the voice of me which had been silent, change to a whisper to loud and clear. To no longer feel the need to be SUPERWOMAN.  I simply can not be all things to all people. What I can be is true to myself.  I can be a good mom, wife, daughter, cousin, niece, sister, aunt and friend. I just can't be those at the same time. I have learned it is ok to to say I don't know what my future holds. It is ok to uncertain. (It is NOT ok to be  paralyzed by uncertainty.) I have also learned  (or remembered) I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit. And that my supporters (friends and family, etc) are more understanding than I give them credit. With age comes wisdom or so I have been told....
 
So thanks for letting me vent and spill my guts. And if their is anyone out there is feeling down, feeling full of self recriminations, feeling scared, unsure  and overwhelmed. It is ok to feel that way. Just don't become mired in it. Reach out. Talk to someone. Talk to me. I have been there. Remember you are not alone. No one is truly ever alone. Everyone stumbles and falls. It is okay for a hand up. Believe in yourself. It is powerful stuff...

So now that life as slowed considerably and I have had my epiphany-- what has changed? Everything! The hubbs and I are having real face to face conversations. I am cooking and baking more. Which is great because I actually find solace in it (not working in my crap-tastic kitchen but it's ok that is isn't perfect. It gives me a goal). I have reconnected with friends. And family. It kind of  like my brain and life have been rebooted. Me-version 2.0, haha. Am I still unsure of my future? Yes I just have less fear now. Because I have to believe it will be ok.

So to all my friends, family and bloggie buddies--Thanks for being part of journey of self discovery. (And I will try to keep the gut spilling to a minimum in the future)  Now excuse me, while I go get mop and bucket to mop my guts off the floor...

12 comments:

  1. You go girl! Awesome! Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!

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  2. Thanks FM! It's kinda scary to lay bare the soul but if in doing so I can help one person it is worth the discomfort...

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  3. Great post! I'm glad you've rediscovered the joys of baking and having TIME for the important things. We don't always know what the future will bring. It's awesome you were able to pick yourself up from the job loss. Best of luck in all you do!

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    1. Thanks Sue (and welcome back) I hope you enjoyed your vacation? The pictures are awesome! It has been an adjustment and everyday brings new self realizations. I guess that means I am still learning and growing. And that's a good thing...

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  4. So glad you are enjoying your new freedom, even if you aren't the one to decide when that would be. You are so lucky to now have the time to really enjoy your home, cooking & your family. Family is so important & thanks for all of your supportive words lately. We have buried my mother-in-law & my aunt within the last 2 weeks & they were blessed with wonderful lives & so we are happy for them to be dancing with the angels. Thanks again for all of your awesome words!

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    1. Oh Karen--I am so very sorry to hear of your loss! I am glad you can take solace that they had wonderful lives. Thank you for your kind words. It is true family and friends are so important. I am really working on telling them that more often. I am very lucky and blessed to have such a good support system. I have a home, a few pennies in the bank and my health. You really can't ask for more than that right? My thoughts with you and your family...

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  5. This is just beautiful! I share so many of your fears and uncertainties. We all do, I think. I'm so glad you shared your incredible story. Very inspiring. Would be a terrific article for Real Simple!

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    1. Thank you Suzanne! That is an AMAZING compliment. I felt really weird about posting this but I listened to my inner voice and didn't tell her to shut up. Gosh I don't know about submitting to RS. I wouldn't even know what to do... or where to begin...But I must say I am really enjoying the writing process...ok well MOST days, haha

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  6. Wow. Such an amazing from-the-heart post! Thanks for sharing your journey ... and so excited that you are feeling excited about life again! And reconnecting with the things and the people that help you feel invigorated!

    :)

    Linda

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    1. Hi Linda--Thank you for being part of it and your words of support. I really am taking things day by day. I have begun making for future goals but I must admit I feel rather relieved to no have the burden of future me. I hope that doesn't sound weird or flaky. But since I was a teenager I always had a plan for everything. A secondary and tertiary plan. This is the first time in my life I don't have a safety net, life isn't scripted and no agenda. It is rather a strange place to be...

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  7. Wow! I really enjoyed your post. I guess I've been trying to reinvent myself for the last sixteen years. Ever since my divorce and subsequent alienation of my children. I could identify with many of your musings. Thanks so much for stopping by for Thursday's Where Truth is the Dare. I got to find and follow your blog. Donna

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    1. Hi Donna,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am firm believer that growing and changing is necessary for happiness. Sometimes reinvention of oneself is to break the box which contains us. I am sorry that your journey of self discovery has caused you pain. I do hope your life is where you want it to be or at least on track. ((Huggs)) Thank you for following!

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