I’ve gone into a sort of, hiding. Instead of expending energy socializing, I’ve remained indoors, opening the windows to let in the intoxicating, misleading odor of fresh air.
I watch as my Son scoots behind the heavy wood blinds to peer out of the glass and, a stab of guilt penetrates through the metaphorically heavy crepe shroud I have donned. I think to myself, “We should go outside” and as easily as that thought settles on my psyche, it flits away. After all, the world within his home is so large and safe and Mommy is so tired.
I cannot even tell you when I became so tired, so withdrawn. If it were a moment of significance, I am sure that I could tell you, if I wanted to but, this is not the case. It passed over me, as if it had stolen a place in my life like a self congratulating thief. It wasn’t until the third week in that I became aware of what was happening and reflected on it.
I have often, if not always, been acutely analytical of myself and those in the system I orbit. Experience has taught me that, left unchecked, self induced analysis becomes a spiritual hurricane. In self defense, I have erected barriers within myself and toward others, to protect against any destructive spirals and, it is this defense system that kept me drowsy to the change that had crept over me. After three weeks of unconsciously drawing inward, somewhat like a newborn drawing in their arms and legs for self preservation, I was startled by a shock of panic.
What, was I doing?! Why, was I doing it?
My inner alarm system had triggered and, the part of myself in charge of keeping me calm and peaceful perked up.
“Hush, hush. All is well. It is time for rest, relax, be at peace. You are in a cocoon. Forget social expectations, let the guilt slide away from you, do not allow negativity to stick. Stay steadfast and function.”
So, I did and I am.
I have long since realized that my clock does not tick the same way as many clocks seem to do. I have heard said that there are things I should do. I have thought of those things, said again and again throughout my life and I have translated those things I should do, sometimes, into things I must do, if I am to be normal. In the best of times, I am amused and dismissive of those thoughts, at the worst I am overcome with them and I wrap them up into simplified phrases that repeat like skipping records coated with shame, guilt and sometimes, despair. I do an internal head shake to stop the record from skipping and carry on in the metamorphosis that I find myself in the midst of, to let it run it’s course because, that is the way my clock ticks and, how it shall tick forever more.
The way that I dance to my life is different enough from social norm that I feel expectations from all but my Husband, to DO something about it. Upon reflection, we are ALL different. Every single one of us is different. I have read praise of our difference and I have read scorn of the same.
“Who would want to be different?” Some ask, inwardly and publicly.
“Who would want to be the same?” others ask inwardly and publicly.
“We are all but dust in the wind” some philosophize.
“The essence of our being is scattered among the stars” those who are optimistic and hopeful may say.
Sometimes, I read sneering commentary on how individuals believe in the greatness of their individuality and, sometimes I read positive commentary that, of course we’re individual and, we should be glad of it!
As a woman who nurtured a human life within her, (that often felt alien and remote during gestation, despite the irrefutable evidence that IT was happening) and then gave birth to that human, I KNOW without a doubt that we are all individual beings. Perhaps we are cut from a similar cloth but, one that has variants in pattern, texture, color and materials.
What is strange and deeply sad to me is that we do not CELEBRATE our DIFFERENCES. Our safety is found in sameness because, if someone is the same, they are not different, unpredictable and unsafe, even as far as life threatening. Oh, not so life threatening as to send us to that great unknown but, threatening as to cast shadows of doubt upon what we hold as to be true and good, infallible.
Out of fear, in the least of senses, we ostracize, shun and ignore. Out of the worst we murder, spiritually most often but sometimes, physically too. We create children and pass down to them all the positive and negative imprints that have been pressed upon us either directly or indirectly. Fears are compounded sometimes by information. Information can be misused, directing those in a vulnerable position into a frenzy because most often, panic comes first, reason after.
I judge myself guilty often, telling myself I’m playing, “Devil’s Advocate” when it comes to ideas my Husband presents that may change our family circumstances greatly. It’s not until long after that I realize that sometimes, I have killed the home lights that flared in his eyes and, in the darkness of bedding down to sleep, I lay awake, letting thoughts of doubt and guilt guide me into dreamland so that I can snuff them out and wake to sunshine and the feeling of a new day with the promise of the morning sun.
As heavily as that weighs upon me some days, lately my memory has been recalling a scene between me and my then teenage Niece. My Niece had expressed her desire of going into Show Business. We were sitting outside, in my In-law’s backyard, at a table and the afternoon sunlight was being filtered through the leaves of the trees that bordered their yard. In that idyllic setting, my Niece spoke of her dream and, her words and hopes and optimism filtered through my curtain. I always felt a kinship with my Niece, even if we haven’t spent all that much time together. I have often thought of my Niece more as a Sister, since I had several that were around her age. So, as my Niece spun her dreams into words with the confidence and lack of doubt and fear that young people possess, I only found myself listening and translating her dreams into reality.
Instead of having the foresight and consideration that her dreams were hopes and wishes and sacred to her self and life, I barged in with words of, “wisdom” and reasoned with her, with all of my “adult” experience that she would have to compromise much of who she was and that the life she dreamt of could be relentless. I had no experience myself, I was only speaking from what I had watched during those torrid, behind the scenes shows on Hollywood actors and actresses. Mostly, I was telling her things that I had felt and thought of when I contemplated my own dreams of gracing the stage, all the reasons, (in my fear) that I had denied myself the opportunity to find out for myself.
Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I rationalized away her hopes and dreams because, I feared for her. I feared for her virtue but, not in the “old-fashioned” sense. I feared for her innocence and hope and soul but, I did not give her any credit that she could possibly weather, thrive and bloom in such a dream that was laced with my perceived doubts.
It is my remembrance of my Niece, my own current climate and, the fragile bud that is my Son that I take note and invest conviction in.
It is a strain to follow the dictates that come from articles and websites and word of mouth that bespeak danger. I have never been under the belief that to live is to step carefully, to be walked between lines. My heart has always beat to a drum that makes me want to dance. My life path is not straight and narrow but, has curves, dips, valley’s, mountains, shadows and glen’s brilliant with sunshine. Sometimes, I dance with the fragile strength of a Ballerina, sometimes loud and deliberate like a tap dancer, sometimes fluid and seductive like a jazz dancer, sometimes annoyingly limber and cheerfully forced, like a cheerleader. Sometimes I dance with all the strangeness and mystery of free-movement. Sometimes, I dance by the book and, it gives me joy for a time but, I have found that I find the most joy when I’m dancing just for myself, because of myself, inspite of myself. No matter how I dance, I dance.
The great and terrible for me is when I decide to, “take time off” and only my Husband understands. I am glad and, even jubilant that he understands but, it grieves me when those who have their own galaxies don’t understand why I haven’t been in their orbit for a while. As much as it pains me and makes me sad, if there is one thing that I have never compromised, it is being true to myself, no matter how terrible, remote and silent I am and have become with my friendship and love. If they only knew that it was not gone, only put onto the back burner for the sake of myself. That could be called selfish in a derogatory way of the term but, I think of it in Ayn Rand’s terms, true without the need for forgiveness but, intelligently requesting a understanding that is not at all meant to be a plead or begging.
Maybe I won’t be widely celebrated for some great contribution to the whole of society but, it is enough for me that I am being true to myself and, because of that, I can teach my child to be true to himself. In light of the sometimes terrible circumstances of my upbringing, the conflict I have felt inside my self, as scared as I am to let that leak through, at least I can be true and teach my Son to be true to ourselves. Articles and opinions and things we should do be damned!
6 months ago