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.
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.
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!]
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Then just let the rest… just be.