"It can't actually be about someone else, because it's your life." Terri Cole Are You the Common Denominator
After reading Terri's piece, I have to answer, "Yes, I am the common denominator in my life." I can't keep thinking the answers are outside me, because it is my life.
Do you know how bad it really sucks when you acknowledge that it isn't about everyone else. Everyone else has moved on but you. I am the one retelling the story.
I am not the way I feel because of the things and people who have happened to me. I am the way I feel because I keep telling myself the stories.
So if how my life is playing out is my choice, why I am choosing to poorly for myself? Why would I keep choosing to assist and manage and coordinate and push every one else's dreams, goals and pursuits instead of mine? Why have I chosen to join forces on someone else's grand day dreams versus trailblazing my own. I have always had day dreams and plans.
When I look back at my life at what choices & chances I have taken for myself, I can count on two hands the amount of effort and care I have taken for my own good, things done purely for my happiness.
I met my first husband in high school in VA. He told me he was going to go to college in FL. He asked me to marry him and follow him there. I did. It was awful. I moved us back home to VA. Leaving my first marriage was me focusing on me, briefly. There was still too much drugs & alcohol at that point in my life to consider it a time of self care or self focus. That was still me avoiding sitting still with me.
Getting my first office job was me focusing on me. It was after getting myself clean and mostly sober after a year of indulgence. I had to quit my job, move out of the house I was living in and end a lot of "friendships". But I did it, I got my first office job. I left behind my old life and started a really good new one. The job was as a corporate travel agent for a big corporation. The perks were fabulous. I got my first two store credit cards so I could buy fabulous outfits to wear when the company flew me from DC to Dallas several times a year. The men in my life were complete disasters, complete fuck-ups, but I got to escape to work every day and except for a couple of times my work and my personal life did not mix.
Traveling abroad was just for me. I love traveling so much. I love planning a vacation. I love researching what out of the way cool things to go see and do. I love the freedom of being in a country where I don't speak the language and sitting back being a foreigner. I love sitting on a side walk people watching. I love meeting new people. I get homesick fast, so I can't stay gone too long, but I could travel several times a year and never get bored. I was blessed to travel to Europe three times and would willingly go back at a moments notice. I have a huge bucket list and several trips already planned in my head.
Then I met my next husband and he asked me to move from VA to CO with him. I left my great job and jumped off the cliff with him and moved 1400 miles away from home.
My leaving a high stress job full of insanity was my choice. I was working 60 hours a week, juggling which vendor got paid and firing or laying off people every month or two, making poor food choices, smoking, and taking sleeping pills to force myself to sleep each night. We were ok'ish financially so I was able to work some temp agencies for a couple of months until I stumbled upon the most perfect job which would morph with me over the next three year as I became a mother.
My choice to have kids was my own. It was powerful and so grounding. I was absolutely scared as shit. Who really chooses to have children? Most people I know at least "accidentally" got pregnant with their first child. After accepting and coming to terms with choosing to be "child free" until 28 at mile marker 4 1/2 years of my marriage, then focusing on hearing that very scared, faint voice inside me whisper, "Please let me be a mom. I can do this, I promise. I won't fuck it up like my parents did."
My choice to leave my second marriage was my own, after having an emotional affair while married. Ok, so that wasn't initially my own choice. I met a man, was swept off my feet with emotions I hadn't felt in over a decade. I was so drunk in the emotions and feeling of being connected to someone again that I didn't want the good feelings to end. I was so thirsty and needy that it didn't matter that there was little to nothing real to the relationship. I just wanted to keep feeling wanted and desired. He wanted me to move out to be with him. Until that moment, it had never dawned on me how unhappy I had been for so long.
I had been unhappy for such a long time.
I know I had spoken those words easily a million times to my husband, but when he asked me what would make me happy, I didn't have any idea that what I was asking for was to be wanted, needed, desired, chosen, heard, seen and valued. I know I would look at him and try to find the words to what I wanted, but after a decade of marriage it feels kinda weird listing out that you want to be wanted & valued. The minute you can really say that to your spouse, is too often the minute you are walking away because you can't believe you have to ask the person who gave your heart to love you.
It was a crazy & meandering path that took me from the neglect of over a decade to being able to give a voice to the nameless feelings of the sadness that I harbored for so long.
After leaving my marriage, I did not end up moving out and staying with the man who I had the affair with. Like so many people, I needed a catalyst to prod my ass into forward movement.
But then all of a sudden my whole life was about me and that is freakin scary as hell to someone who has always had a partner and followed their partner.
I have a couple of false starts behind me on creating my new life. I have had a vision of what I want in my life, I just keep sidetracking myself on other people's ideas. I had a very difficult go of finding employment due to my need for a flexible work schedule two & a half days a week because I have to take my kids to school and pick them up from school. It was an awful blow to keep hearing that I was asking too much of employers to work with my schedule. It was painful to accept that with everything I bring to the table experience and skill wise that so few employers would even consider me for work. So I found my niche and hitched my wagon to a friends small business and their growth. After months of being told what I had to offer and my schedule didn't work, it was fabulous to find the flexibility and opportunity this job offered.
Then I started dating the owner and his dream became my hustle. Two and a half years later and I have hit a wall with this work. It is not my dream. It is an overwhelming day job. It is not something you just leave at the end of the day. It hit me hard this summer that I was putting someone else's dream above mine again.
This summer I started writing, blogging and I heard the click in my head. I felt the joy in my heart. Writing is for me. Storytelling is for me. Sharing and creating a community is for me. Each day that I write, another piece of me becomes clearer. Each day that I write, my world seems brighter, even when the subject matter is grim and bleak. Each day that I write I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. Each day that I write, I feel like I am making the small steps necessary to creating the life I dream of. I dream of being a writer. To be a writer, I have to write. Crazy how simple that is.
Beginning to write feels as right as when I decided to become a mother. I have heard that same voice whispering for acceptance and telling me it will be all right.
Now I feel anxious on the days when I cannot find time to write. I wake up ready to see what comes out and excited to start.
I am the common denominator in all of my failures and each of my successes. If I stay focused on my dreams and goals, I have to believe I will succeed. I have coached and supported and guided so many others to their success and I can say that I have watched and grieved with some who just couldn't take those needed steps, steps I couldn't make for them. I am asking my Angels for guidance and courage to help myself. If I can put an ounce of the effort I have so freely given others to my own focus, then all of my dreams will come true.
I am ready to write the story of my future. I am ready to focus on my dream. I am ready to be my own public relations manager, life coach, social media manager, cheer leading squad.
Each time I lean into my desires and focus on me, my world opens up and new possibilities appear. Each of the choices I have made on my own, purely based on my desires has felt good and right.
My life, my story is all about me. Everything that is created in my life is at my doing and I need to create better options for me to choose from. I want my common denominator for every day to have more creativity, laughter, and passion. I am willing to take steps forward every day to create the life I envision for myself. I am willing to notice and search for my feeling of success every day, no matter how small to remind myself I am on the right path.
Every choice counts, so every day I will wake up choosing joy.