Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Seven Things I Miss About Me

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

I wonder who I am now. I have been defined for twenty-three years as wife and mother. Everything else about who I was flowed out of those two labels. Now that the 'd-word' bomb has exploded in my life, our lives, the future looks even more scary than it did when 'all' I faced as a rapidly approaching empty nest. I feel dizzy at the thought.

I have moments of calm clarity that crumble into bouts of breath-taking apprehension. I wonder how I ended up where I am given all I did not to be here. I wonder who I used to be. I wonder who I will be and if I ever will be again.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I realize that much of what I have been through has made me who I am now. Those same events have robbed me of who I am as well. Is that the ultimate contradiction? I compare these two statements and my breath begins to come in raggedy gasps until I wonder if I need a peremptory 80mg dose of Aspirin.

I practice my anti-anxiety attack strategies until my heart is not on the blacksmith's anvil anymore. Then, I wonder what happened to the me I used to be? I squint and will back the curtain of time straining to remember what it was that made me simply 'me' before I was complicated 'us'.

I used to do beautiful embroidery – cross-stitch and crewel and another needle art whose name I can't even remember now. That's how much of me is lost. The last time I completed a piece, it was rejected because it was imperfect. I put my soul into the project. While the shirt still hangs ignored in the closet, that part of my soul did not survive rejection. 

I used to make baskets. I loved the rhythmic motions of the ins and outs of twining reeds until something that had never existed rested on the table before me. I wonder how I let that slip away too? What made me think  giving up all that made me who I was would placate anyone for any length of time?

I wanted to paint. Not walls out of necessity but folk art kinds of projects. Once when it seemed safe to do so, I slipped away and took a three hour class. As I had come to expect, I returned to a home in chaos. I learned to make myself content with a trip to the grocery store and let the dreams of art slip away. 

I miss the sound and feel of handbells. I know it is too froo-froo and too high church for most folks these days. But, oh, there is nothing like holding those bells and waiting till it is your turn to join in and help make the magic happen.

I miss the sound of my music coming from piano keys. I take consolation in hearing one son play the bass guitar and the other play the piano and keyboards. In the still and quiet of the late night when I am here all alone, I wonder what it would be like if I could still play with abandon.

I used to love to read. Anxiety induced ADD makes it hard to read more than what I write. I tell myself I will read again as stress ebbs farther and farther away. I tell myself.

I miss the me that used to believe in me. Little by little she was whittled away as I tried to cope with and hold back the tide that always threatened to wash us away. We did not survive, and I gave up all I was for naught. Was it worth the fight? I guess time will tell.

The night has become the early morning. Before I am ready, I will begin again and hope I get today 'more right' than I got yesterday. I will breath deeply and tell myself this stress is better than the old ones. I will tell myself that the new horizon I am walking toward will be a calmer one. If I look hard enough, I am hoping I will see the old me waiting up ahead. Waiting for me to catch up with her before it is too late. I wonder if she missed me as much as I've missed her.

Psalm 71: 20 (NLT)
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.


  1. So glad to see you reaching out to your inner self and remembering there is much that you enjoyed doing, and may do again. So many creative avenues to embrace! And you will discover more in the new you that is free to explore what brings you joy. More power to you!

    1. It's slow going, and some days I'm not sure how to proceed. I tell myself all in good time.

  2. Oh, CA. This post has stirred in me those same questions. At times I think I have the answers, and then I feel lost again. It's as if the questions will never be fully answered. I don't know that I can be content with that.

    How do we even begin to reclaim all that was lost? That is one question that still haunts me to this day. Is that girl still even there? Is it worth the effort to find out? What if she's not? What if I look and find something not worth finding?

    A fraidy cat for sure.

    1. Yep. I know. I know. Every day I ask myself these same questions and all the related ones that follow. I am trusting God to show me each step. At this juncture it is a day, even hour, at a time. My cry, "Show me you are here in the midst of this time."

  3. This was so beautifully written. My heart goes out to you. I pray you rediscover yourself and find new joys and new dreams.

    1. Ginger, you can imagine that given my current circumstance, your words are a particularly sweet balm to my soul. Thank you for stopping by and for offering encouragement just when I needed it!

  4. Replies
    1. Words fail. I am so thankful I had the courage to trek out to NM and meet both you and Colleen R. Throwing in the towel is a lot harder with you 2 in my corner! :-)