I felt the need to do a follow-up post to yesterday’s whiny rant.
I do believe in feeling one’s feelings. I believe in sitting with your shit and moving through it. I am not a proponent of hiding from uncomfortable and persistent thoughts. That is what yesterday was about. I realized the age thing was bugging me so I did what I do best, I wrote and cried and worked through it. I think that post was the most uncomfortable one for me to write yet (which is saying something!). It dove headfirst into some very personal insecurities I was having trouble acknowledging I even had.
I hold myself to impossible standards much of the time. It’s kind of exhausting.
Here is what I have learned since writing yesterday:
I have this outer shell, a husk, a body – it’s got wrinkles, stretch marks, freckles, gray hairs, and sagging breasts. I have hazel eyes with blues and greens and spots in them, brown hair with streaks of red and blonde, a myriad of tattoos, a partly shaved head, and a petite frame.
But these things aren’t who I am. Not even close.
In my 42 years, I have moved a total of 19 times, raised 15 cats, 8 dogs, a smattering of fish, hermit crabs, mice, and snakes. I have owned 3 homes and been married twice to two different guys with the same first name. I went to 5 different colleges and finally graduated at the age of 30. I was an english/philosophy major, then studied to be a vet tech, then settled on developmental psychology. I got into college one time by just writing a poem. I used to read at least 3 books a week. I went to graduate school and left with just 3 classes remaining. I am going back to finish graduate school this fall. I have lived in 5 different states. I got pregnant at 19 and had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. I had 2 babies both over 9 pounds (one was nearly 10). My daughter was born blue and non-responsive (she’s just fine now). My son was in the ER 3 times before he was 5 months old. Over the course of my life I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, co-dependency, bi-polar disorder, and PTSD. Only two of those turned out to be accurate. When I was little, I used to talk to a tape recorder and pretend I was a game show host. I still have one of those tapes. I lived with a parent who was so mentally ill he had to live in an institution for 3 months. I have been divorced twice. I watched my dad die at the age of 9. I had a suicide attempt at the age of 19. My husband leaving was my first real break up and I am quite certain that I have many more of those to go through. There were moments of pure joy and unspeakable heartache in there. Things I wish I could forget and things I never want to.
It’s a life. It is my life.
I have lived and loved and lost.
And you know what? I own all of these things. I am not what I look like, I am what I have lived through. All of my stories, all of my growing and learning and living, are what make up who I am. All of the shit I have been through, it all fits together to make up one me, an Amy! I am not the same person I was at 9 nor am I the same person I was last week. I keep changing and evolving. Rolling with the punches. I keep choosing life. I keep creating more stories.
Society tries to dictate SO MUCH. I ‘should be’ wrinkle-free, ageless, and dress appropriately for my age. I need to dye my hair because gray hair is just – ewww. I cannot look old or grow old because society believes that once you are old, life simply sucks. As a woman, I need to make sure that I am sexy and fit for as long as I can possibly hold out. I should get Botox and a tummy tuck. Maybe even a breast lift too! I need to date older men or people will call me a cougar. And the connotation there is DESPERATE. I can’t sleep with too many men or I will be called a slut. Also, just to confuse things, I can’t know that I am sexy or smart or confident because then I will be called a bitch or stuck up.
Please, for the love of god, can we just celebrate life as we live it? See each other as beautiful souls filled with love and light and stories worth sharing? Look past the physical and embrace our imperfect bodies and meet each other someplace more meaningful? More vulnerable?
I see you. I accept you. I love you – just as you are.
I think that’s the happy ending I couldn’t find yesterday.