* I have great taste in music. * I make awesome instrumental playlists. * I'm a good cook. * I'm a great mommy. * I'm loyal. * I'm trustworthy. * I'm kind. * I have a big heart. * I'm creative. * I make nice jewelry. * I love my poetry. * I love how passionate I am. * I also love how deeply I feel. * I remember little kindnesses. * I have pretty hair. * I love fiercely. * I'm compassionate. * I have good taste in plants. * My eyes are a nice shade of blue. * I have freckles on my shoulders.
During the week, I am almost free, close to unencumbered, a lighter version of myself. Then the weekend comes around and H comes back from work, and it’s like I’m under a guillotine, waiting for my head to be lopped off. There are drastic changes in me from someone who is mostly happy to someone who is mostly panicked and on edge. The see-sawing back and forth between being okay and being so far from okay is driving me insane.
I want to be permanently free. I want to be free of him, free to be myself, to dance in the rain like I did once all those years ago. Naked, bare feet digging into the sand. I want to be free to learn again, to sharpen my mind and to wake up from this intellectual and emotional slumber. I’ve spent too many years pretending to be okay, spent too many years lying to everyone I love about who and how I am.
I come here because I am a coward, because it’s easier to put things down in words when no one you know will judge you for saying that you’re miserable in your marriage, that your life’s become a sham, a sad shadow of what it once was and of what it will be. Because that’s just it: I know that this isn’t the end for me. A friend of mine told me recently that, although this section of my life is ending, it doesn’t mean that my life itself is ending. This is just the beginning of a new chapter.
Who will I be in my next chapter? Still me, but more compassionate. Still me, but kinder. Still me, but without the ceaseless challenges of trying to please everyone in my life. Still me, but more spiritual. Still me, but writing and submitting my works for publication. See? Still me, just a more vibrant, more alive me. Hopefully also still me, but a better cook. I say it partly in jest, but I would like to eat better in the next chapter of my life.
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.