my quest to claim myself again

I’ve always been a dreamer, one of those girls who spends time lost in her own head, always thinking about something bigger and brighter. The future used to always shine. I could get through whatever was in my present because the promise of a tomorrow that was bright and shiny and new was always there to keep me wanting to go forward.

Somewhere along the line, though, I lost that forward-looking optimism. I suppose there was one blow (or ten) too many, and dreaming became something that I set aside and walked away from.

I was talking with a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago, and he said that we get to choose what we carry with us and what leave behind. We were talking about negative things and the importance of leaving them behind and walking away, but I just realized that this can apply to positive things too.

I set aside optimism in exchange for always seeing the gloomy, grey side of life. I thought that it would be what was best for me. I’d been disappointed and hurt so many times that I thought it would be best to stop hoping simply so that I’d stop being so disappointed and blindsided by naivety.

I do think, though, that maybe optimism is just what I need right now. Maybe it is a tool that I can use, within certain limits, to help me improve my view of life, of my present and of my possible future. I want to dream again. I want to believe that the things that I want to accomplish are within my grasp. It’s a scary thing to admit that, to admit that I want to hope and dream and even laugh more. I’ve been melancholy for years.

An example: for over five years, I wore only black. Everything I owned from my shoes and socks to my shirts to my bras and panties. Everything was black. It started when someone I loved died and I bought black clothing for the funeral. I wanted to honor her and express my grief, so I kept the black trend going for a week or so which turned into a month and then months and, finally, years.

I realize now, looking back on it, that it was this slow slide into depression. I let myself go, and along with that, I let go of my hopes, my dreams, my passions, my desires, let go of everything that made me feel alive.

Today, as I sit here typing this, I am wearing a mint green top and charcoal pants. My flip flops are pastel pink. I brought color back into my life, but I forgot to bring back the other more important things that I let go of. I forgot to bring back the dreamer me, the one who wishes on stars, who goes for walks just to watch the sunset, who picks wildflowers and berries and who constantly wants to learn something new.

It is that me that I crave. It’s that me that I yearn to get to know again, the me who makes her own soap out of lye, coconut oil and other essential oils, who goes for drives just for the pleasure of getting lost in the country, who isn’t afraid to try new recipes or talk to new people.

I know I haven’t lost her for forever. I know she’s still here somewhere. This is my quest to claim her for myself again.

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when joie de vivre goes missing

I’ve always been a dreamer, always seen myself as having something about me that is more than what I show the people in my life. I suppose I see myself as having a secret side that I either don’t know how or don’t want to share. Maybe there is too much risk in sharing something so personal. Maybe it is a fear of rejection or a fear of being hurt again just when I’m finally able to be vulnerable.

Whatever the case, several years ago, I stopped writing. The words got stuck somewhere in the plumbing of my mind. What used to flow freely became clogged and stagnant. When words did ooze out, they disappointed me more than inspired me to write more. I felt like I was failing every time I put words down onto paper.

In addition to the feeling of failing, my H began to read my journal when I went somewhere. I’d come back from running errands or going to the park with the kids, only to be faced with an angry confrontation because something that I wrote about him was less than favorable.

All things combined, I just couldn’t write anymore. One kind woman I knew told me that sometimes the soul goes into hibernation. I liked her way of explaining it. That way, I didn’t have to face the fact that maybe the creative part of me had died. I was instead able to rest in the certainty that, someday, it would wake back up again.

I hope someday my creativity will come back. I hope I won’t continue to be barren of passion and intensity. I hope that my spark, my joie de vivre will return. Maybe this year will be the one where I come back to life, the one where I start to live again, where the words wake up inside me and begin to flow again. A girl can dream.