Can I talk to you? Plain, sincere, honest talking here. This is not exactly the post I came up with for part two …. but this is what I’m going with. (You can read part one here).
Because sometimes this writing life is hard to sustain. That is the simple truth.
You wouldn’t believe the kind of angst and agonizing I’ve experienced over getting part one and part two of this post written. Part one sounds nothing like the original draft version I developed over a month ago. What became part one just spilled out of me one day, while I was sitting in a waiting room, at the car mechanic, last week.
And when I was done, I wasn’t sure I liked it, but decided that it was taking too long to write, so I squinted and hit publish.
And now this. Part two.
Part two was written in a bunch of fragments and notes which I had been compiling for weeks, some of which went into part one. But now, here I am struggling to present words on the page in a coherent and interesting manner.
Take it, please. This is what I got.
Because frankly, I’m tired. I’m juggling a bunch of content deliverables and I am definitely bending under the self-imposed pressure of it all. But a promise is a promise, and as tempting as it is to just say, fuck it, who cares …. I can not do that.
What I have written here may be a unorthodoxed way to tell a story, but this is what I’ve got. Real life. Perfection is the devil anyway, so let’s just roll with this.
As far as the last two years since quitting the job is concerned, I divided my learning into four components.
Soooo …. the story goes, my alter-ego, Forty-Nine, the beautiful and dangerous, yet playful sorceress, reappeared a year before my fiftieth birthday. Forty-Nine snapped me out of the 9 to 5 zombie life I had been toiling in, setting me on a writing adventure. I hesitantly embarked on this creative journey and along the way I morphed a few times, merging with Forty-Nine to become a newer version of mySelf (I am ever evolving). For the first time since I was a little girl, I allowed emotions to reign over me.
1. July — December 2016
I was full with Excitement and Naiveté, like a kid let loose in a playground full with rides and all the free candy she could eat. I consumed it all! I didn’t hold back, I was often smiling widely, head thrown back, gums and teeth showing. Isn’t life delicious?! Yay!
But then ….
Uncertainty grabbed my shirt-tail and yanked me back. Insecurity snaked around my waist like an anaconda and squeezed, hissing, Don’t forget about me, I live here too. Apologetic was escorted in with her sidekicks, Unworthy and Shame. Fear hovered quietly in the background.
II. January — June 2017
Angry muscled her way in, more than a little bit peeved because Apologetic seemed to be getting all the attention. Apologetic dug her heels in, determined to stay visible. Angry had also brought Entitled along for support, and together they seethed. Naive, Vulnerable and Earnest were nervous but they took comfort in each other’s company. Naive, Vulnerable and Earnest were the ones who inspired the idea for a new blog, On Becoming Maria. Insecure and Unworthy marveled, too timid to speak up, but their fingerprints covered many surfaces. Shame declared herself the ruler, throwing her shadow over all of us. Fear hovered quietly in the background.
III. July — December 2017
Eager and Determined seemed to appear out of nowhere, bringing Ambitious and Hopeful with them. Woo-hooo! They looked like super-heroes to me. I was prepared to follow them wherever they would lead me. Curious, she got my attention too. We crossed our fingers and ventured to make plans for the future. The idea for a book came up. Goals, tasks and next-steps were quickly laid out. Shame & Unworthy put heads together and began plotting against Ambitious and Hope. Fear hovered quietly in the background.
IV. January — July 2018
Eager and Earnest brought more friends along for support: Determined, Curious, Courage, Self-Aware and Confidence. They cloaked themselves in the fragrant mist of Faith, and Faith seemed to cover everything, even Shame. Vulnerable made friends with Unworthy, and a powerful union was formed. Anger hung around but became less vocal. Fear still hovered, but she seemed more concerned with exercising caution than in taking completely over. Eventually, Love and Freedom rose in tandem from the muddle like a phoenix from the ashes.
Obviously, there were plenty of additional details omitted from the recap of my two-year journey, but it became too elaborate for the blog. The one thing I want to underscore is, the Love journey.
Initially, the rebel and self-righteous woman in me thought the idea of a Love journey was ridiculous. That reaction was grounded in what I thought I already knew about Love, that I had loved plenty as a daughter, as a mother, as a wife and as a friend.
I thought I was all tapped out in my expanse of Love. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to offer up more Love. I just didn’t want to go deeper in the kind of Love I thought I was made to give. In other words, my love offerings all had a caps on them; they were like formulas. There was just enough to cover child number one, child number two, BFF-husband, friend one, friend two, and so on.
But on the Love journey I discovered, our hearts are made to go much deeper and expand wider in Love offerings. I learned that there’s no limit to how deep and wide Love can go, especially with strangers. Family and friends are easy to love, but not so easy with strangers. And yet, with strangers, there’s something extra special that comes from opening one’s heart and offering Love.
Of course, this takes practice, I learned to be patient with myself in this area. But here’s a tip. If you want to Love deep and wide with known and unknown surrounding people, you must make a deliberate daily practice of loving on yourself first. Yup. Saying kind things to yourself in the mirror, hugging yourself, stroking your own face or shoulder for encouragement, staring into your own eyes and actually saying the words, I love you– these offerings changed my outlooks.
It may sound strange at first, but believe me, it works. The more I expressed love to mySelf, as if I were my own offspring, the more Love I felt for the other people around me.
So there you have it, friends. This is where my two-year journey has brought me. I am all the things, emotionally. I am all the things, characteristically. I am an eclectic package of light and dark. What’s different about me today compared to two years ago is, I actually LIKE all the different parts of me and I have no desire to cover any of them up.
Thanks for following my journey!
Lots of Love to you!