The Morning After…

So I had a revelation of sorts last night.

[BTW - I have these often. Do no be surprised or sit in eager anticipation of great knowledge or meaning...]

After a busy, but rewarding client-centric work day, I was driving home late and feeling pretty good.

As I neared the house, I started getting more and more anxious.

The Expert and I are in-process of finding a new place to live – a place where we will “stay” and “raise the kids” for a long time.  We have to put those little monkeys in great schools, STAT. He’s got the spreadsheets, and I have a Realtor who sends us listings daily. Should be a really exciting time for us. I mean settling down – finally (!)

…but to be honest, I am freaking out.  Freaking out in a big way.

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Many of you have been following along the little Swim Bike Family journey for a while… all the fun from Ironman struggles to silly posts to fun family events.  I put it all out there, and frankly, you either love it or you hate it. But it is, what it is.

The Expert and I tried to settle down once.

When I took my first lawyer gig, we moved to a tiny town and bought a house. (This was BK – before kids). We remodeled the whole thing, really dug into the community. But alas, things never go as planned, and we ended up moving to Atlanta (me, 5 months pregnant at the time), into an apartment.  And we’ve pretty much been nomads ever since.  (We did live in one house for 3 years, but always with the assumption that we would be leaving because of the school district).

So we have been in a perpetual state of unsettled for, oh, going on 7 years.

Last night, driving home, I made the realization and then admitted to myself that I am actually totally spooked about settling down.

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Yes, I’m married with kids and job. (“You’re already settled down, woman!”)  But internally, I guess, I never gave up the ghost…

What ghost?  Oh, this one = the single-I-have-a-loft-apartment-in-the-city and I-go-do-whatever-I-want ghost.  I went straight from my father’s house into a marriage.  I never lived that life I always assumed I’d have. (Not necessarily the one I wanted. Just the one I thought I’d end up with –> The single city girl.)  It’s weird.  I mean, I wanted to get married.  I wanted to have kids. These were all very thoughtful, conscious choices.

And I wouldn’t take back any of them.  That’s not what I mean. I love my kids. I love the Expert.

But I am just internally spooked.  [I feel like a dude!] :)

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I feel like all of the sudden I am IN THIS.  Like this is IT!   (And it’s completely illogical, because I have been IN this for over twelve years! Why is this just occurring to me now!?)

I am scared that once I (officially) settle down, that I will grow complacent and old and tired, forget how to dream, forget how to be inspired, forget the love and life and opportunities… or forget how to desire things so simple, that I can’t even write about them.

I have a friend in San Diego who is a great psychoanalyst.  Not by trade, but by hobby or friendship or whatever. She’s good at wrenching out some hardcore feelings and thoughts and helping her friends reconcile.

She sometimes will read my blogs and then she’ll help me through some stuff.  Recently, when I posted about feeling unworthy, she wrote me a pretty eye-opening little ditty…. which essentially said that I have a “script” of “intense insecurity” that is somehow meeting some need of mine. Because behaviors are rooted in getting needs met. That I am holding on to my body weight, to my thoughts of unworthiness, as a shield, as a protection. Then I write about it (thus, meeting another crazy need–extreme self-deprecation and narcissism? Aw, holy hell).

But really, I am just hanging on to “I am not good enough” — which in turn, keeps me safe from something I fear.

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So I have been circling around these thoughts for a while.

What am I afraid of??? What is it??

At the end of our conversation, I learned that I am feeling really cramped.  (But feelings aren’t answers). But still.  Growing up as the only child in a quiet house—and here I am, now transported to a crazy loud house with munchkins and a husband and just noise everywhere—that I really just need an office or a closet to call my own.

I need a quiet space where I can shake my tambourine for a few minutes each day. (The Expert says I’m like the kid from this movie… if you missed the tambourine reference.)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 2011 cover

Okay, so problemo solved!  Get me an office… and I’ll be set! So a new house! With an office! Ding ding ding… that’s all I need…Perfecto!

So as I am driving home last night, inching closer to home and becoming more and more anxious, I realized that I am simply terrified of what’s coming. Vulnerability. Because I can’t predict.

Vulnerability. (More stuff I am reading about).

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”  ― Brené Brown

The  truth  (not a self-fulfilling, messed up script I have written) is simple:

I have a great life.  And I am running from it.  Willingly, blindly and without thoughts of what happens if I succeed in “escaping” this great life.

Therefore, instead of being vulnerable, I throw up my obstacles, my walls… because deep down, no one can really ever know me.  No one knows who I really am.  I won’t let them. Despite having a blog where I pour out more information than anyone would care to know… No one really knows me, or so I say.

Likewise… surrendering to the role of wife, mom and home owner is, of course, not actually settling for anything.

Admitting that I am really a wife, mom, attorney and suburbanite is actually me–in a scary, naked state of vulnerability.

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But it’s funny… no matter how much I can “know” things to be true (This is great! It will all be okay in the end! Of course, you do this! It’s best for the kids!)—-that sometimes doesn’t change the internal feelings that are ping-ponging around. And I am struggling.  But it’s all becoming clearer…

So here I was, driving home and having a mini-revelation: discovering that I must be vulnerable. That I should be vulnerable. And I’m about to be so—in a big way.

In a situation as life-changing as discovering this, what did I have to do…

…the Morning After?

Well, of course! Go for a run.  So I woke up and ran. And I ran hard.  Through the run, I was able see what must happen.

That I must somehow peel back the layers of crap I am hiding behind.

Be me.

Then just let the rest…  just be.

Triathlon Logo for Mer3 280x190

“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” ― Brené Brown

Comments

  1. Carin says

    Pack those boxes and find your perfect home-it’s a beautiful thing to be part of a village while raising kids. Those new neighbors who you don’t even know yet will love you and your family for who you are and can be a wonderful blessing. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my village to support me and help me to be who I am and you will find that too. It has been said that “when one door closes another one opens but the hallway in between is a bitch”-transition, vulnerability-that’s living life. You’re not a sit back and let things happen kind of person-go get it!

  2. Laura Walls says

    Things ALWAYS work out IF we get out of our own way. This goes back to the fearless vs reckless that I mentioned yesterday on the Trifecta page… Clive Davis said “There are no mistakes” And, I agree – we make our decisions based on the information at hand and whatever our motivation is. We never do anything unless we get something out of it. So, what has been the motivation??

  3. says

    We are also on the house hunting train. I recently turned 39 and this will be the first time buying a house. It’s a very scary concept. When we moved from Canada, I stressed so much about where to live and how it would affect our two boys. I’ve often thought that every single decision I made regarding the kids would either make or (more likely) break them. I stress too much about everything anyway. I’m trying to remind myself that this is an exciting adventure and not a dreaded jump off of a cliff. Thank you for your post, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one with these fears.

  4. Micki McBee says

    Thank you for often writing about things that sound just like me. I am not looking for a home right now, but I struggle with so many of the feelings you described in relation to being happy with myself and all of my wonderful blessings. And to Just Keep Moving Forward, right?

    • Beth says

      The way you feel is the way I feel about doing my first triathlon. Vulnerable and anxious. I also felt that way when I realized I would never have any more children. Sad. But life must go on, so you have to make new moments, relish the here and now.

      P. S. If your still in the Atlanta area my brother owns Budget Brokers, USA and is a great agent for real estate. He has lived in the Atlanta area for over 25 years.

  5. Sue C says

    I too am feeling very anxious about changes in my life. For the last 22 years I’ve been a mother to two amazing kids. But now the boy child is almost 22 and the girl child is 18 going on 32, neither if them “need” me any more and I don’t know what to do with my life. Through running (1st half in 11 days) I’ve come to realize this is my time to reconnect with my husband and myself. Who am I? What do I want? What are my dreams? Your blog is so real and helps me understand I’m not alone in my uneasy feelings. Thank you.

  6. Kristin says

    Live the moment….before you realize it the kids will be grown and moving on and you will wonder where the hell the time went….Enjoy, relax, continue moving forward and dragging us along….and when you figure it all out, PLEASE LET ME KNOW THE ANSWERS!!!!!
    You have such wonderful way of words…..

  7. Nancy M says

    I absolutely second what Kristin just wrote “…you will wonder where the hell the time went” because just like Sue C above her, my kids are older {26 & 18}, moving on with their lives, and I am wondering how did that happen? and what the heck am I gonna do with my life now?, ’cause I’m too young to throw in the towel… what do I want???

  8. Heidi Rees says

    I appreciate so much how you clearly write your feelings & what you are going through in your blog. I have gone through those exact feelings, not understanding the “why” in those feelings of insecurity. I have so much to be thankful for, and yet I don’t like that feeling of vulnerability either. I think we have to be vulnerable in order to truly appreciate the loves in our lives! Thank you for sharing!

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