The past year or so has been a struggle. One of epic, volatile, exhausting proportions. I won’t go into great detail here and now, as not even I fully understand the what, how, and why. It will come out as I explore. Explore the things that give me peace, that give me pleasure; things that lead me closer to understanding, and things that balance it all out.
Until this evening, I hadn’t given much thought to figuring out the “why”. I so much enjoy “going with the flow” and feeling life as it happens. I’ve traveled abroad and gone to great depths to quench my never-dying thirst for knowledge. Yet, I haven’t ever explored the one thing that is most vital to my happiness. Me.
I’ve never taken a step back and looked at who I am. What do I look like? What do I sound like? What do other people think of me? What do I think of me? How do I act? What do I love? What makes me happy? What do I have faith in? What is? And what isn’t.
I honestly have no idea.
I thought I knew. As a diligent, organized person, I had a plan. I executed that plan. But somehow, I forgot to bring myself along on the journey. Sort of like that Home Alone movie, I forgot to make sure everyone was onboard before we left home.
So, here I am. At home on a Saturday afternoon, with nothing to do but curl up and read a book (one of the few pleasures in life that I already know I enjoy). Immediately the novel strikes a chord with me. Successful, beautiful (obviously) career-woman, can’t fathom why the hell life isn’t as complete as she envisioned it being. I read on, every so many paragraphs thinking “Yes! ME TOO!!”
I’m hooked. I can’t put the book down. I have wet clothes in the washer begging for a romp in the dryer. I can’t tear my eyes from the pages. Until I find it. Me. Summed up in only so many words. But so clearly, ME.
“Moreover, I have boundary issues with men. Or maybe that’s not fair to say. To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time–everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.”
That is from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a story of her emotional journey to find pleasure, devotion, and balance between the two. My story has similar beginnings, I feel, but the journey will be unique. Her story has inspired me to write what I love, say what I feel, and balance it with grace and wit. My journey begins here. In the private of my own head, and the black and white words on a screen. But maybe one day it will be the inspiration that fills someone else’s heart.