I am self-reliant.
It’s something I pride myself on, my independence, my ability to stand on my own two. It’s seen me through a lot of tough times, & shown me that I can do a lot more than I ever thought I was capable of.
But that’s also how I was raised.
My parents are strong, independent people. Born in the mid-40s, they were raised by parents who taught them that hard work was its own reward; that success was not about making millions, but was about achieving personal goals, while being a good, caring person at the same time. I’ve strived to emulate that same strength of character.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself while getting my hands dirty, too. As my dad has always said, “Shit washes off”, so I dig into a job, getting filthy in the process, waiting till it’s finished before I clean up. Then I can sit back & enjoy the results of my labors.
Of course, there are some things that are sacrificed in the process.
My clothes, for example…
I have some that are permanently stained, torn & stretched, frayed & ruined beyond redemption due to wearing them while doing this type of work.
Although skin replaces itself & heals, the scratches & calluses are there, temporarily, & the arthritis- well, that is there permanently, & vehemently objects, but I insist right back just as obstinately. And I win. For now, anyway.
I’ll pay for it later. I know.
But, the benefits I’ll reap from this are good enough for me.
I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I took care of my mowing myself. I trimmed the bushes in the backyard. I raked & cleaned up the trash by the fence. I was the one who started cutting down the trees by the fence with the chainsaw. (got stopped by the rain – can’t use an electric chainsaw in the rain…Right?)
It’s enough for me to know that – I am the one who can do these things.
I – don’t need anyone to do these things for me.
I might want someone to share my life with…
But I don’t need them to breathe.
I am my own selfie.
Realizing that I am stronger now than I ever have been, I can do anything, go anywhere, be anyone I choose.
Let go of those who want me to be someone I’m not, the ones who say one thing to my face, yet something else behind my back, the ones who tell me “I’m only saying this for your own good”, as if they know me better than I know myself.
Remember that I don’t have to follow anyone, I can make my own path through the forest.
I answer to no one. My choices are my own, my actions are my responsibility, and I will take whatever the consequences may be.
I may be alone right now, but I am strong enough to be. I AM ENOUGH, ALL BY MYSELF.
If they aren’t willing to commit, why would I want them here, anyway? If it’s so easy to walk away…keep walking, and don’t come back this time, because I won’t be here, waiting.
For most of my life, at least what I can remember of it, I’ve been a Seeker.
A Seeker of knowledge, in that I love to always learn new things. I have a gift for remembering seemingly useless trivia, earning me one of my many nicknames. “The Queen of Useless Knowledge”. But, I also constantly search for new wisdom to fill my brain, of all sorts, be it historical, medical, scientific, supernatural, esoteric, you name it.
I used to seek for affirmation and approbation, as well. Other people’s opinions of me were almost more real than my own, and would color how I viewed everything, from how I acted, to how I felt about myself, and the world around me. I don’t do that anymore, because I discovered that I was never going to receive what I needed in life that way – SELF acceptance and love. I had to learn, over and over, that no one else’s opinions of me mattered, only my own. It took me a long time to realize that, but I’m better now for it.
And, I’ve always been a Seeker of love. Love of family and friends, as well as that of romantic love from someone else.
That’s…been a lot harder to find.
I thought I had it in both of my marriages, only to be proven wrong. The first one, well, I’m not sure he knows what loving someone else means, that you have to give up a part of yourself to the other person, and that it’s about being there for each other, not just when things are easy, but most importantly, when things are bad. He never seemed to get that, so I had to walk away. Twice. It took me over 20 years, and 2 attempts at a relationship with him to get that through my head, but it finally stuck.
The second ex-husband…well, he hoarded all his love for our son, thinking that, well, since he married me, he didn’t have to actually love me anymore, since marriage says forever, right? All the hard work was done while we dated, so now he could sit back & watch me do all the work in the relationship. No. Just – no.
And, I’ve had other relationships since, which have all fallen apart, for one reason or another.
So, I’ve been doing some hard contemplation, lately.
About what I truly want.
About how I’m going to get it.
And about what I’ve been doing up until now, that’s prevented me from truly Finding what I’ve been Seeking.
Because there’s still a part of me that feels as though I’m not worth it. That…if all these men can leave me, that the fault must be in me, somewhere.
And, to a certain extent, that’s correct.
The fault does lie in me.
Because I settle.
If I’m truly going to find Love – yes, with a capital letter – then I have to make some changes.
First – no more settling for less than what I want.
If I want real love, the kind that will stay, will fight for a relationship with me, the kind that will work with me to keep the relationship a good one…I HAVE to act, and believe, that I deserve it.
No more “hanging out and hooking up”.
No more accepting relationships that have no future.
If I want Love, Marriage and Forever, and I do, (no pun intended), then I have to stop letting myself settle for anything less.
I will find Love again, someday. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, next week, or even within the next year.
But I will stop settling for its pale cousin.
Because I am a Seeker.
And I will Find another, someday.
There are days when I fear.
I think about the fact that I’m soon going to be 47, and that I’m in the upper-middle portion of my life. I’ve had a hysterectomy, so, no more children, which is both a sadness and a blessing. There will be no more warm little bundles combining my DNA with someone else’s. But, then, there will also never be anymore sleepless nights of feedings, diapers & the stresses of teenage years. I’ve come to accept this, & I am not only Ok with it, I’m happy that part of my life has passed me by.
But, there are also negatives that have come with the maturation process.
I have osteoarthritis, mainly in my hands and wrists, & over the last few months, it has come to be a large focus for me.
My hands play such a vital role in my life, and I fear what this change will bring to me.
My job consists of working with computers and files. I type…all day long. The arthritis has restricted me in many ways, making my job a lot more difficult. I have trouble handling heavy files, as they put a lot of pressure on my inflamed finger joints, and the medicines I take for it don’t completely mitigate that pain. Typing all day puts stresses on my hands that I never thought would be this complex and painful, but I have learned a lot about my limits & my capabilities, including my tolerances for pain.
And then… There’s my art.
Things like these take a LOT of hand-work. I twist wires with the help of jewelry pliers & locking wrenches, but the bulk of the work is done by MY hands. On days when the barometer fucks with my arthritis, it can go from uncomfortable, shifting to painful & excruciating.
How can I continue to do what I love, when it can cause so much pain?
How can I express my visions, my imagination, my passion, when I can’t manipulate the medium I work through without crippling my tools – my hands?
This is my fear…
That the arthritis will steal my gift.
That it will destroy something I love…my art.
And I will be left without it’s comfort.
Where is the blessing in this change?
…….I continue to search…..
There is a part of me that dwells in Silence; content, quiet, serene. She is the Watcher, the one who sees – everything, and speaks nothing. When I sit in that realm of silence, I hear all the whispered words, notice the changes of mood, of feeling, and gather the minutiae into myself. I…observe and learn.
There is a part of me that dwells in Chaos. Frantic scurryings of thought, painful jumbles of words, and the ever-present hisssss of static whispers sounding in my head, too loud to shut out, not loud enough to discern a pattern. When I am in chaos, I tense, not knowing which direction to take, too much input coming in, I panic & shut down, overloaded & shaking. I…exist in constant fear and anxiety.
There is part of me that dwells in Rage. Heat courses through my veins, surging as I fight my way through the trials in front of me. Electricity rockets through my brain, lighting up the centers of pain, sending my voice into overdrive as I announce my anger, vent my frustrations at that which seeks to defeat me. When I dwell in rage, my mouth runs a mile a minute, close behind my brain, almost tripping me into inexcusable words…almost. The warrior takes the reins & lashes out, burning down all in her path. I…am fury and storm and destruction.
There is part of me that dwells in Joy. Simple, thoughtful moments become transcendent through a smile, a word, a gentle touch. Extravagance is unnecessary, for joy is little things…a hand holding mine, a secret smile, a whispered affection, watching the joy of a loved one, giving a gift for no other reason than because I can, and like seeing them happy. When I dwell in joy, I am effervescent, laughing & totally relaxed and tightly wound, all at the same time. I…am sacred.
And there is part of me that dwells in Darkness. She with no name, no face, no voice or meaning. It is the bottomless pit, with no reprieve; the crushing weight of ages presses in without relief. There is no “up” in the black, no down, no sideways, no out. When I dwell in darkness, I am alone, numb to all emotion, cut off from all, even myself. I…am Full Dark, No Stars.
Those who wish to know where I dwell at any moment must know the key to seeing.
Watch them, and you’ll know which way the sky turns.