My banjo teacher used to call me “High Strung.” Some how, I don’t think that was a compliment. I’m always in such a hurry to finish up whatever we are working on and get to the next plateau that I don’t enjoy the moment.
I’m the same way with losing weight, mastering cycling, and my career. My eyes are on the mountain tops. The next gig, the next movie, the next song.
8 months with my leg in a boot has changed that. 8 months of sitting on my front porch overlooking the cove brought such incredible peace. No late night gigs, no rushing to finish projects around the house. no exhaustion. I just got to be.. 100% wholly me and no one else for 8 whole months.
I’m not sure I want to get back in the fray. The mania of striving and networking.
I want to build my garden at the Cove, write poetry, play my banjo on my front porch, go to church, take my time cooking fabulous meals, and spend time with friends. Maybe write my book and sling some jokes here and there when I feel like it.
Rebuilding a “suitable” web page that brings “results” doesn’t have the appeal it did a year ago.
Neither does being a star.
Or chairing yet another board at church.
Sounds crazy to me though.
Meeting Howard this weekend reaffirms that change.
Howard is a luthier. It can take him a year to make ONE violin. He has 10 more he wants to make. It took him a year to rebuild ONE clock from Germany. His father purchased a real log cabin for $20, took it down row by row, transported it back to his house and rebuilt it, row by row.
I’m guessing it took longer than a week.
How is it that at 48, I can still be in as big of a hurry to grow up as I was at eight?
Slowing down is good for sure.
Unless we know how to be alone on purpose, not in a runaway alone, but an intentional pilgrimage, we’ll never learn how to be with people.
That’s why I wrote yesterday’s post. Not everyone knows how to be alone. I thought I did. I used to look forward to my days at the lake – until they spread out to over 200 of them. That’s when I discovered that I have a limit for alone.
That’s okay. We are created for relationship. We aren’t created to stand alone. One aides the other, but one should never exclude the other.
I admitted something yesterday that is really taboo in my circles. I admitted that I don’t always like myself. Everyone goes through seasons like that, but not everyone admits it really. We’d rather hide behind an all’s well mask.
I’m not much for hiding really.
Unless I want to, and then I’m killer at it.
I’ve shared many things over the years with you guys. We’ve talked about fear, about courage, about death, about being tired. I’ve even shared stories about things I’d just as soon forget, like the *real reason I hate being called “darlin'” (see bottom of post) and about my past experience with depression.
I do want to clarify, I am not using soul-tired and depressed interchangeably. They mean two different things to me.
I’ve been depressed, I know that black night of the soul. It sucks.
Thankfully, I’m not there today. But if I’m not careful, soul-tired can become soul-sick very easily. It’s a slippery slope really.
What I honestly didn’t realize, before heading on this adventure is how tired I really was last fall. I slept the first three weeks I was here and blamed it on the surgery.
That wasn’t the problem.
I had some big emotional items on my plate. Things I don’t share here because it would harm others. But trust me, just because I don’t share them does not mean they aren’t real. They are very real and they weighed on me because I confused myself with Atlas and thought it was my job to carry it all on my shoulders.
I’m kind of egotistical like that.
I had pushed myself beyond my limits and did not do the things I know to do to stay above water.
Now it’s true, life is not without it’s problems and we can’t always escape them. We do however have choices and can take right action to help ourselves.
The first thing we need to do is not be victim of this guy:
They didn’t even know they had trouble until he came along. And the truth is they didn’t have trouble – he just wanted to sell some musical instruments. He had a motive, and an agenda to create a FEAR BASED need. The town bought it, hook line sinker and tackle box.
That happens today – just look at Facebook or Twitter, MSNBC or Fox News — Town Criers everyone proclaiming trouble. Turn it off once in a while. Use discernment.
If you’ll recall, I posted a bit of an emancipation proclamation a few days ago – the whole Best Friend or worst enemy thing. I’ve had to consciously remove myself from manipulative circumstances for my own sanity — that’s a sign of health. I’m no longer willing to blindly follow fear based leaders.
Charisma is a turn off to me today.
As are threats of abandonment — do this or I’ll leave. Okay. Leave.
Cold? Maybe, but not really. It’s the most loving thing I can do for both of us today. Took me years to learn that.
I have HUGE attachment/abandonment issues. I’ve spent the past 200 or so days facing them. You know what I learned? They aren’t that hairy after all.
Other things I didn’t do during my Let’s go out and conquer 2013:
1. I didn’t exercise. Oh sure, I planned for it, wrote about it, bought things and signed up for clubs, but I never pulled the trigger. Exercise is important. It released endorphins and gives oxygen to the brain. Yes, I got injured, but I spent so much time staring at closed doors (Cycling) that I didn’t look for new doors.
2. I didn’t face my problems head on. That’s not like me. I’m a deal with it now and get over it kind of woman. I value my relationships. The trouble is, fear kicked in. I’d done such a great job (tongue in cheek) cleaning house in 2012, I found myself not wanting to rock the boat in 2013. That made me dishonest. I hate dishonesty. That hurt some very important, to me, relationships. Rather than honestly deal with issues, I internalized them and created a wedge with more than one person.
3. I cut off my spiritual arm to spite my face. I had my mentoring group and we studied scripture and whatnot, but that is not the same as being in fellowship with other Christians. I wasn’t even reading my bible if it didn’t pertain to my classes. I let my well run dry. That made me thirsty.
4. I caught myself wanting things that I didn’t have instead of being thankful for the things I did. I started filling up a spiritual void with junk food. Wrong relationships, wrong motives, wrong everything really. Wishful thinking replaced right action mostly,
While it is true that I didn’t necessarily do something permanently stupid just because I was temporarily upset, I did hurt myself with my own unrealistic expectations of how it was supposed to be.
I refused to own my feelings. Or my thoughts. Every time something unpleasant bubbled up in my life – whether a relational conflict, or a fear, or hurt, or anger, I stuffed it and got busy doing more. The conflicts went unresolved.
I was alone long before I came out here because I’d already gone inward and withdrawn into myself.
The one thing I’ve wanted most in this life after kids is to live an authentic life.
Authentic lives are messy. They involve people. And before I can fully introduce myself to that equation, I have to deal with me first. And that is why I’m here.
*There are people in my life today who are allowed to call me Darlin’. They’ve earned that right. They are what Henry Townsend calls Safe People. They know that trust is earned and are gentle in the earning process. They tell the truth in love. (they call me on my bull) While they don’t always like me, they do express a kind of love that is endearing. They have boundaries and they respect mine. They give me a chance to make amends when needed and they own their own side of the sidewalk. Always a good sign.
So, dear readers — have you ever gone into the wilderness of alone, whether on purpose or out of necessity? Would you like to share something you learned?
I’ve been down with this broken leg since October. That’s a lot of time to think. I am learning a lot really.
- Living in a small town doesn’t mean you have to live small.
- Dare to dream and don’t burn bridges, you may need to cross them some day.
- If you are going to live in a small town, don’t waste your time writing about small things.
I forget these things some times.
I honestly thought I would die once my kids grew up and frankly I’m rather surprised I didn’t. I was THE mom; special needs advocate, homeroom Mom, lunchroom helper, substitute teacher, fundraiser chair, youth leader, assistant soccer coach, PTA President and everything in between.
I did it all and some days I miss it like crazy.
Honestly, I get excited when my college son brings home his laundry because I feel needed. Yes, I need help, I know.
While it is true I’ve done some awesome things since my boys grew up like swim with sharks, do stand-up comedy, write a book (to be published in 2015) and act as an extra in two Hollywood movies, there were some false-start moments. My early days in comedy were a little rough. So rough in fact, I had someone tell me to never EVER do comedy again. I’ve even been heckled to the point that I wouldn’t go back for a second set. And I’m still learning to find my voice.
Finding my voice is not an easy road. My voice is in puberty at the moment. It squeaks. A lot.
This blog is primarily my highlight reel – proof that life does not end once the kiddos launch. That has been my primary goal these last few years. I want you to know though there have been glitches and lessons learned.
- Kids don’t always launch the first time. Sometimes they come back home. Sometimes they don’t launch right away, especially if they have special needs like mine. That’s okay.
- Returning to the work force after taking a decade off to raise kids is scary.
- Ditto going back to college.
- I took an art class and did so badly my teacher either gave me the wrong email address or changed hers just to never hear from me again.
- I learned that when you live in a small town and tell gynecologist jokes, it does not take too long for people to figure out which doctor you are joking about.
- Cowboy/Cowgirl jokes don’t translate well outside of Oklahoma and everyone IN Oklahoma thinks the jokes are about them. You do not want to piss off either category as they all carry. Just sayin.
- Accidentally give a man your real phone number ONE time and you will never travel alone again.
- Ditto breaking your ankle while on vacation with your girlfriends.
- People do not feel sorry for you once they realize you broke your ankle on the beach, in the Bahamas and rode the darn horse anyway because you paid for the excursion and want your money’s worth.
- If your car gets stolen and you tell the police and the insurance folks that you do comedy for a living, do not expect them to believe you about the car.
- Guys are not your girlfriends – hugging new male friends and/or grabbing and holding their hand when you talk to them, might perhaps freak them out, especially if you do that in front of your husband.
- If you are the physical type like me, and live in the South, make sure his wife doesn’t carry. In my defense, I was too busy raising my boys to have male friends. I’ve had to learn a lot in the last few years about how to do this without getting killed.
- Rumor has it, “She needed killin’ ” is a viable defense in Oklahoma.
Always remember that life after kids is fun and when running out that front door as quickly as the money flies out of your wallet makes you tired, remember to rest.
For those who follow me, you know that I recently had surgery and I’m resting near a lake/river somewhere in Oklahoma right now. I need the rest. I’m tired and that’s okay. Resting is important. I do not have to accomplish every life goal right this minute. There will be time for more adventures.
If you live in Florida, or are traveling this summer, I will be performing as part of The Clean Comedy Challenge at Coconuts Comedy Club in Tampa Florida on July 23-25. Come on out and say hi! I’d love to meet you.