I struggle with how much of my life to share here. I want to be honest and open, but there are aspects of my life which I’m not comfortable sharing with people who know me in real life. Which is odd, in a way, that anonymity feels safer than the known. That aside, the most important aspect of my writing is that it’s a positive way for me to explore my own journey both in the present and looking back on situations.
Things haven’t been entirely stress-free lately, and often it feels like that is mostly of my own doing though I’m unsure how to stop. I fret a lot, and that’s nothing new, but at times it has the potential to take on a very negative aspect in my life and relationships. Is there a root cause? I don’t know. Maybe? Shouldn’t there be? Maybe it’s my life being on the crux of change, motherhood evolving into a different sort of relationship with my children as they grow and we are astonishingly close to the next stage of our family life. But does that mean this will happen every three to five years? When Alena starts school? In junior high? High school? Beyond? Will every stepping stone in their lives become one in mine? A right of passage for both them as individuals and for me as a mother? We are, of course, intimately connected. Apart from the deep love that resides in our family, we are one unit and change in one life affects the three other lives within that home, doesn’t it?
Or maybe it’s (perceived) stress from an outside source. The Real World or What You Should Know By Now. The realization that confidence isn’t something that is automatically generated by the passing of time or the number on a scale or even accomplishments. Maybe I’m realizing that I’m chasing something that doesn’t exist and never will. I’m not sure exactly what that is, but it sure as hell ain’t me.
I’ve been applying to some writing gigs, and while my heart tends towards optimism and hope, my mind often counters that with silly (maybe) little thoughts that surely, a woman who isn’t fast or skinny or beautiful can’t write for a running magazine. And though I’m not skinny, I am strong, and while I’m not fast, I am determined and I do even believe that at moments, maybe I am beautiful. But that point is neither here nor there.
Then enters the confusing negotiation of goals. Do I want to work outside the home after school is over? (I think so.) But I’m afraid to, to be honest. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to figure out how to balance everything and I’m afraid that I won’t succeed and I’m afraid that I’ll constantly be compared to someone else better than me. It’s silly, I guess, when I admit it out loud, but sometimes I think that if I just lost five more pounds or ran five times a week instead of four, all of these questions would be answered.
It’s this chasing of an ideal, this looking for a quick fix. Maybe it’s inherent to all of us, but I’ve realized (am realizing) that it doesn’t exist. While one achievement can make you feel strong and capable and confident for months, eventually the time will come when you look at yourself in the mirror and nothing that you’ve done seems to matter.
As Dr. Seuss says:
Your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch
You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
is not easily done.
Maybe, in addition to balancing the scales of right and wrong and family and work in our life, the greater balance is achieving happiness. Maybe that’s what this is all about, learning to be right with yourself. I’m not talking about accepting flaws (although that’s important, though not specifically my own problem, as my flaws seem entirely too obvious), but truly believing that you are the best person you can be. Maybe it’s about getting to a place where the people who are intimidating to you today (for whatever reason) and thus perceived as threatening (to whatever aspect of your life) don’t make you feel that way anymore (or rather, you don’t let yourself feel that way anymore). I’ll never be the fastest runner or the thinnest woman or have the cleanest house, and although I’ve long accepted that as a reality, it’s hard to alter my own perception that the people who are faster/thinner/cleaner/more patient/sexier/more motivated/more successful than I aren’t better than me. We’re just different.
I realize, logically, that that sort of acceptance comes peacefully to those who accept the person they are as worthy (of whatever), it’s just finding the road that leads me to that destination is harder than I expected.