There has been so many changes in my life in the last year. I think about where I was a year ago and it's seems so far away. In some ways, I feel like I've found my bearings a little better. In another, I feel completely off center. I'm navigating my way through a world where my role has changed. My kid left about two weeks ago. She packed up her bags and ran off to Montana for adventure. It was such an 18 year old thing to do. I was not a fan of this but I understand it. I understand that need to get out, to experience, to try. I made the choice to not do that when I was young I guess in a way there is a part of me that is jealous of her, of her bravery, of her let's just do this attitude. That used to be a long time ago but somewhere along this life I decided to slip back into the shadows, to hide. When you have kids, it's so easy to forget you're a person, too. It's so easy to put everyone in front of you. Somehow keeping a clean house becomes your top priority. Somewhere between packing lunches and reading bed time stories and picking up toys left behind from the day consumes any energy you have for yourself. So, I became someone's mother and that was that.
A year ago, I had a kid who was about to start her senior year. I was working as a bartender, not really struggling for money at least not the way we are now. I was trying to figure out my life, the next best step, realizing my kid was about to find her wings and fly away. This idea that I would no longer have a kid under my roof was becoming more than something that would happen years from now. It was about to be now. So what then for me? So, I quit my job as a bartender and I got a job that I thought was going project me into the greatest of heights. One year later and I cry more often than I have in a long time. One year later and my nest is empty. One year later I am a 40 year old woman while sure of everything she is not, is having a real hard time figuring out who I am. Life happens in the strangest of ways sometimes. While I feel like my ground is a little bit rocky right now, I know that every step has had it's purpose. I was not supposed to stay behind that bar and I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to be sitting behind a desk either. I am meant to be her mother but I was also meant to let whoever is sitting here stand up, too.
I feel like most of my life I've been hiding so much of myself. This idea is one of the blogs that didn't get written earlier this week. This idea that I have had to hide both my dark, depressive side and the hope that has been this light that keeps me going. I feel like people have always tried to put me in this place, fit me into the corner that they want me to sit. I've always preferred my own so that's where I've been, hiding and being whatever fit the situation because it was easier. There is a sadness that I carry around, that I have always carried around. It didn't form because the assault that happened when I was 18. That just amplified the darkness that was already there. Sometimes sadness doesn't come from an event that happened. Sometimes you just have it. I learned, however, that this sad, lonely side of me wasn't one that people wanted to be around but showing my hopeful, euphoric side almost felt too fake. Why? Because people couldn't deal with the fact that I was both. For most of my life, I've hid what I felt, never said a word about it. I sighed heavily and walked away. It just was too much work to try to explain both. As my life has gone by, I've realized that not many people want to take the time to listen anyway.
One year ago, I felt like I was a bit more stable but I was unhappy. One year later, my foundation has been rocked but I feel like I am so close to figuring out how to balance myself. My child has found her wings and is currently in flight, leaving me here on the ground to watch her soar. It is a fact of life. Children leave their parents behind but I don't have to be left behind. I can fly, too. I don't have to put her in front of me anymore because she doesn't need me to. I don't have to sacrifice my time, my energy. I need me now and, for the first time in my life, I don't feel guilty writing those words. I'm done hiding, done placating to everyone around me. One year ago, I gave so much of myself to so many things that, looking back now, didn't really value me at all. That's on me. I should have drawn that line. I should have made it very clear that I was worth more or even as much as you. I'm at this job now where they ask a lot and I get it. It is the nature of the job, of any job really. Last week I came home and cried every night. I looked in the mirror with my red eyes and had an epiphany. I was done. I wiped my tears, gave myself a hug, told myself that allowing myself to feel this was OK. This was healthy to allow myself to feel, to digest, to let it out. I am done hiding. One year ago, I still felt like I had to. I guess I'm doing better than I thought, right? I will always be lonely and sad but it makes the hope, the love in me shine that much brighter. We are all light and we are all dark. Without the other, we just exist and life has to be about more than merely existing.