What’s left to give up?

I have spent too much time doing what’s good and necessary, too much time shaping myself into what other people want me to be and too little time being the strong and independent, zany and liberal woman that I am on the inside. Why do I try so hard to fit into a mold? Why do I fight against who I am? Why am I always so afraid of standing up for myself?

It’s this sick and twisted fact of my life that I try so hard to please everyone that I once said “yes” to a marriage proposal and spent 18 months engaged to someone I didn’t want to be engaged to simply because I didn’t want to turn him down when he asked me to marry him (after 6 weeks of dating) on Valentine’s Day. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but what about my feelings? What about me? When do I stop putting other people first and put myself first?

I know I should be in therapy to deal with all of these issues. There’s not just the engagement. There’s also the next man who came along, to whom I got married when I was pregnant because, god forbid, my family would be upset that I was pregnant and not married. I mean, seriously, what is wrong with me?

I need to make myself a manifesto, a credo to live by. I need to make a promise to myself that I will stop living for everyone else and start living for me. Other people do it. Other people stand up for themselves. It may be scary, but it’s possible. I know it must be possible. Terribly scary and difficult, but possible. And really…is there any alternative? I’ve pushed myself to the limit. I’ve gotten married for my family. I’ve stayed married for my children. I’ve given up on my education for my husband. I’ve dropped all my dreams, my wishes and my hopes for the people in my life who say they support me but manage to cut me down any chance they get.

What’s left to give up? I’ve become a shadow of myself, a wraith, a soulless woman without any hope for the future. If I am to get my hope back, if I am to dream again, I must start by being true to myself. I must start by standing up for myself. I must start by taking one little step at a time, toward escaping, toward freedom, toward love.

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My Zany Mind

This evening I want to do something grand. I want this evening to be special. I want to remember it. I don’t want it to be just another mundane Sunday night. I suppose that it probably will fall into the mundane, but oh how I wish for something more.

I want to go out for a walk like I used to do, after dark, when the fireflies light up the fields and the trees that lean over my one lane country road. I want to once again feel free. I want to stop feeling like like my life has stopped or like my entire body is on pause. I want to feel alive again.

I read somewhere once that the cage isn’t locked. If not, why does it feel locked? When I rattle the bars, the iron door doesn’t creak open. Am I really the one holding it locked tight?

I know I can be somebody. I know I am somebody. I just don’t know who that somebody is. I feel like a stranger’s living my life while I wait inside me for the time when I get to live. Does anyone else ever feel that way? Surely I’m not alone.

All I know is that there’s passion in me somewhere. It’s just that it’s been trapped. I’ve been afraid of the consequences of letting it out. I have tried to pour myself into the socially acceptable roles of daughter, sister, wife. The thing is that those roles are not enough. It is not enough for me to identify only with who I am to other people. What about who I am to me? What about my own identity simply for the sake of identity? What about my creativity, my dreams, the wildflowers and weeds that grow like crazy in my mixed up mind?

I want to go through my mind and pick a bouquet of all of these shoots and sprays of zaniness. I want to place them where I can see them, where they are prominent, place them where I see them first thing upon waking, not hide them in a corner of my closet and pretend that, ever since I became someone’s spouse, I stopped dreaming and gave up myself. I don’t want to give up on any more of me than I’ve already given up on. I’m tired of pretending that who I am and what I want don’t matter, that all that matters is making my husband happy. I’m tired of settling for less than my authentic self.

I can do this. I can open up again. I can be me again. I can be free again. I can speak my mind without fear again. Not just one day. Not just someday. Today. I’m starting today.

Yes, this is an anonymous blog. Yes, I am not sharing this with my husband. Yes, I am also not sharing it with my friends and family, but I am taking the first step to becoming strong and free and independent. I’m getting these words out, even if it has to be in a cloak and dagger way.