I have come to the conclusion that I want to live my life outside of the lines.
I did the married-with-kids thing. For 11 years. I was someone’s spouse, best friend, and partner. I lost myself completely over the last decade and, since my marriage crumbled, I have been fighting my way back; tooth and nail. I got so completely tangled up in my family that I forgot how to be ME. I forgot who I was because I didn’t exist. I was defined by my role as a mother and a wife.
The really scary part? I was happy to get lost and to give up. Being me had always taken a fuck ton of work.
So, now? I’m Rebuilding Amy. One piece at a time. I don’t think I realized just how poignant that name was for my blog when it randomly popped into my head.
But it fits. Perfectly.
Since the split, I am coming more and more into myself. I am honing in on core truths about Amy; not only who she is, but what she likes and desires. And I’ve got to be honest, outside of the obvious hurt and heartache, it’s been pretty fucking fun rediscovering myself. I’m calling it my second adolescence.
There is guilt around feeling good and feeling happy. That mom guilt that I wish I could take away. My kids didn’t deserve this. All any child wants or deserves is to have a functioning, happy, loving mother and father under the same roof. And most kids these days just don’t get that, which SUCKS.
I would imagine that this pattern of hunkering down, self-soothing, and then reemerging into the world, is typical of most people going through a divorce. The loss of self (codependency, melding, whatever name you give it) is very easy to do in a long-term monogamous relationship. You need to work to maintain your identity, your relationships outside of your marriage, your relationship with yourself, and with your spouse or partner. It takes a lot of work and time and I know all too well that time becomes a commodity when you are a busy family.
YOU MUST FIND THE TIME. Make it happen!
For the first 4 months or so after my ex left, I didn’t do much at all. I binge-watched the shit out of Netflix (HIMYM and New Girl). Nearly every night the kids weren’t with me, I numbed out to the television. It was absolutely what I needed to do. I was a wreck. I didn’t eat, I wasn’t sleeping, I was crying to and from work nearly every single day. I was isolating, something I am very good at doing. But then another shift happened, and I felt like I had more energy and began to go out.
Having a social life is something I am working on; which is an uphill battle for this hardcore introvert. I have to make sure that I balance out my energy flow. I get so overstimulated at parties with lots of people that I know the next day or two will be rough as I decompress and build up my depleted energy stores. But I must do this! I cannot hide from the world. I am looking for my people; my tribe. It is hard and scary work to find friends at the age of 42. Most people already have well established social networks. Most people my age are married with children. They don’t want to go out dancing on Saturday night. They’re busy doing family stuff.
I used to be busy doing family stuff.
Here is what I am learning about who I am and what I want out of life:
I want to fight against the current and swim upstream. I want to shirk off the societal notion that I need a man, that I have to dress a certain way, that I can’t shave off half of my hair because it’s weird, that I shouldn’t swear, say whatever is on my mind or dye my hair blue.
I will not be boxed up, caged, or stifled from being ME. I will not belong to anyone but myself. EVER AGAIN.
I want to go to festivals and concerts and get crazy dressed up. I want to go out dancing most weekends and not drink alcohol to relax. I want to hike, camp, tackle a 14er, learn acro yoga, get my Pilates teaching certification, finish grad school, be the most present mom ever, make new friends, be ok with hopping into a cuddle puddle, cooking dinner for a group of people who feel like family, backpack, travel to a foreign country, find balance, be vulnerable, and love with a fierce and reckless abandon.
And find patience. Because I am a total spaz and I want it all; I want to do it all.