my life has never seemed to take a normal path. so many times i’ve wished it would, or willed myself to behave ‘normally’ - which is what, exactly, anyways? - but most of the times i’ve tried to follow the masses it seems to have backfired.
for which i’m thankful. the most growth spiritually and otherwise occurs when we cut our own paths through the forest rather than taking the ones already traveled.
based on my experience, our own paths can also bring a lot of hurt and pain, but after the initial sting wears off, life improves by leaps and bounds.
and our footpaths should be broken with balance, as much as possible. extremes come in handy sometimes, but a quiet amble down the center line seems to be where my life is pushing me most times.
the tools we’re given as children also play a large part in how we determine to hack through the bush of life (lol) - or whether or not we can at all without lots of trial and error. if we’re raised with a spirituality that promotes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ point of view it’s easy not to realize the importance of beating your own road through the jungle merely because you’re not taught to think that way. in fact, we’re often encouraged otherwise. where do you get the machete, then?
i suppose it all starts with going out and looking for it. it MUST be there somewhere in everyone’s array of natural-born gifts, but the trick is recognizing that thin, sharp blade for it’s purpose.
i think the nature of the tool varies from person to person, but the utility is the same - personal growth. the making of YOUR life, whether in tandem with one person or many, but essentially it all comes back to one thing - it’s YOURS.
all this to say that there’s some upcoming changes in my life that, while they are a little sobering and daunting, i’m actually encouraged about. and while change for me does not come without some level of….worries, i’m doing my best to believe and trust. trust myself, trust God, trust Everett, and try to move forward with dating my husband and living a life that is mostly of my own making, until we are ready to be brought back under the same roof again.
when he first asked me if i’d consider living separately (2 weeks after getting married) my initial reaction was hurt and bitterness.
what right does HE have to ask this of me? why should HE work so hard to get what he wants and needs while i still flounder about searching for my own needs and identity? why couldn’t he have known when we first started dating that he would need something like this, and could have at LEAST warned me?
after the first shock and frustration, and of course the comparisons (‘why doesn’t anyone ELSE have to do this?’) i’m starting to see the other side. so far, i see so many good things that outweigh the bad in this situation, and we’ll only know if we try. i believe it’s the right thing, so taking steps in that direction with prayerful and compassionate hearts should provide our answers.
none of this sounds ‘normal’. i know that. but here’s the reasons i’ve agreed, and am actually a teeny bit excited (with a little trepidation thrown in, because, hello, it’s ME):
- the past few years i’ve seen so many long-term married couples who are neck deep in their own baggage and issues, struggling to either bury these things or wade through them while working, parenting, and pursuing their own stunted goals, which from what i can tell, hasn’t worked. it’s left them bitter, frustrated, stressed, and spinning wheels, never quite pulling out the rest of those issues.
none of that will ever be completely eradicated - just waking up in your own life everyday comes with its own set of struggles and demons who raise their heads - but if we can avoid reaching this point with each other ten years from now, i would prefer it. by providing time alone for ourselves after work, parenting (in his case), and dealing with family issues (my case), house-y things, and the other various things of life, we’re hoping to each reach points of self-control, patience, compassion, understanding, encouragement, self-sufficiency, and various other important characteristics that are fundamental basics for being in a constant and stable relationship.
- that fact that we met just after he had left someone after TEN years of marriage is no one’s fault, and we met when we were meant to. in a way, we rushed a few things in our own relationship, and neither of us believes it’s too late to take a step back and help one another achieve the above elements by providing a little time for self-improvement.
- for me, already being married makes this easier. i know he’s the man i want to be with, he’s my best friend, my husband….we’re just returning to a dating style relationship for a bit. he’ll be helping me get out on my own, so he’s not abandoning me.
- instead of frustration and bitterness, we’ll be mostly looking forward to the next time we see each other. even after a day or two apart, it’s the most wonderful feeling to be near each other. to talk and laugh and act stupid, and talk about our days.
- this is temporary. more than a few months, but not years. unless i get so used to it, i don’t want to go back. lol.
- there’s still a few things on MY personal achievement list that are unfinished. there are still some things that i’d like to do that take up time, and while my part in the sizemore house this past year - as a wife and a part-time step-mom - has been lovely, stressful, difficult, and wonderful, i am now looking forward to returning time to pursue other things for a little while. including taking time to get to know myself and better that person before returning to house that is stressful, even in the best of times.
- we’re doing this BECAUSE we still want to be married, not the opposite. here’s hoping it works.
obviously, this is also an experiment of sorts. the things that are frightening to me now are the logistics - a place to live, roomie or no, what job, buying a car….all of these things need to fall into place, and if this is the right path, i believe they will.
looking forward to discovering my life in the next year, and spending time dating my husband.
I’ve been seeing a smattering of articles about making time for you and only you - take time to work out, take that yoga class, etc.
as a society that has begun to promote a slower lifestyle and healthier choices we’ve seemed to make an unconscious switch to recognizing that it takes time and effort outside of our daily lives to self-improve, pursue passions, and feel productive.
a lot of these articles are directed towards parents. and who would need this time more than an adult transitioning from their singular responsibility being themselves (and maybe a spouse alongside) to having their identity wrapped up in another tiny human being for the next foreseeable 20 years? a tiny human being that needs more constant attention, care, advice, and love then you have probably ever given yourself, let alone your spouse or significant other.
in a sense, it does all start with loving yourself - with balance. being quick to judge others usually indicates an inability to forgive yourself, but then the other extreme - allowing bad habits to take over - can be deadly as well. finding balance can be tricky, and if you are unable to find that as a single adult, how can you even hope to find that when a child has been added in?
there are encouraging parenting days, and bad parenting days. days in which everyone cooperates and attitudes shine all day, and days in which you’ll feel like the embodiment of evil.
and there will definitely be days where there is NO time for anything beyond focusing on the immediate and loudly voiced needs of your child. whether you have 1 child, 4, or a step-child part-time, it’s the nature of parenting, and most, if not all, of your identity can become wrapped up in raising them. there WILL be days, weeks, and especially with babies, MONTHS that will pass before you’re able to get more than a few quick moments to snatch any semblance of time ‘for yourself.’
while i agree in a sense with the encouragement for self-love, perhaps the emphasis needs to be placed as equally - or more - on selflessness and the ability to be open. flexibility is the very basis of parenting - no nap today, early supper, early bedtime - all the while maintaining some sort of routine to help them developmentally. from my limited experience as a part-time step-mom and also now a wife, it’s a constant struggle between your energy level vs. theirs, what you need or want to accomplish vs. their needs, what routine you had in place for the day vs. what’s actually occurring, your patience level vs. a small curious child….the list is endless. so yes - it IS a worthy cause to set aside times for yourself in which you are your only immediate concern. it will be more difficult the smaller they are, as your significant other will mostly likely appreciate this same time for themselves.
the trick is balancing it between time for yourselves as a couple, work, chores, meals, bills, illnesses, childcare, family activities…if you allow it the list is virtually endless.
self-love IS important. however, by their very nature, getting married and having children is accepting a certain amount of added responsibility, which leaves your self love as YOUR task, and yours alone. add in the trickiness of working out with your partner how not to leave uneven work loads (can’t happen 100% of the time, but mindfulness towards preventing this is helpful) and allowing them this time and it’s become more complicated very quickly. and of course - your kid(s). THEY also are suddenly factored into this as well and now the complications are magnified.
children are gifts, and in the best of situations bring couples closer together. self love can make it easier to find patience and renewed appreciation for family life.
these are just random thoughts i’d like to study more, and i’m still at a bit of a loss as to where large amounts of self-love fit in with family life. it sounds like it shouldn’t be so complicated, but the more people involved, the higher the level of complication. it’s just the way it is. so far the only conclusions i’ve reached are:
- self-love = important, and in most cases necessary. as your kid(s) get older and you and your partner more able to read each other’s needs and reach compromises more easily, there will most likely BE more time available for self-love. the level of need will also vary from person to person and couple to couple. communication is crucial in every aspect of any relationship, but most necessary in this. be willing to compromise. be open to recognizing that your child is important. so is your partner. so are you. flexibility.
- relationships are hard. even the best relationships suffer from time to time. don’t start them until you’re ‘ready’, or if it’s already begun, be communicative and open. be honest. recognize that each person is devoting their time and energy to something larger than themselves and be forgiving. the very nature of life with a family is complicated and requires effort.
- sometimes the lack of communication is not your fault. other times, you might have conveyed something a little better. no one’s perfect, and if each is approaching the situation with calmness and as much understanding as they’re able, then it’s ok. they STILL might not understand 100%. not necessarily because they refuse, but because each person comes with their own filter and method of communication and reception built-in. even if you have to explain things over a few times (calmly, lovingly) chances are they’re trying to be receptive as possible. thank them for listening. thank them for sharing. move forward.
- don’t withhold. don’t internalize for an extended period of time (although, often times, it’s better to wait for a quiet moment to make yourself heard). this does no one any favors, especially yourself. honesty can be brutal, but it’s essential. if you’re not comfortable being honest with each other, think about why that might be.
so many different elements to think about without overthinking. i imagine i’ll be revisiting and rewriting as more thoughts come. hard to think about this without interruption as there’s 2 small children in my care while i’m writing this. fancy that. lol.
i think i’m addicted to stress.
and if i’m addicted to stress, i’m stressing everett and waylon out, and they will in turn feel their own wheels spinning unproductively.
being in the same house with my aunt i see how this affects everyone around here, and how taxing it is to not be able to just relax and not let ANYTHING go.
i don’t want that. i want to be calming, not a source of stress and confusion. i want to patient. i want to be more flexible and not get bent out of shape when the day doesn’t progress exactly as i thought it should.
this is what i want to be -
supportive feminine energy.
my goal is to be vigilant about keeping the reverse from happening, and this is how i’d like to reach my goal -
a daily list of ‘gratitudes’
taking time to be creative, even a few minutes every day
focus on waylon’s many wonderful traits, and find ways to magnify them
love everett by doing just that - love. nothing else.
“If you go into marriage with a program,
you will find that it won’t work.
is leading innovative lives together,
being open, non-programmed.
It’s a free fall: how you handle
each new thing as it comes along.
As a drop of oil on the sea,
you must float,
using intellect and compassion
to ride the waves.”
Joseph Campbell, “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living”
scheming of content for our online sites so we can get a cabin on the property so i don’t have to leave for long periods of time.
i’m mostly positive about my remaining 9 days but they’re going to be long. taking one at a time.
everyone has discouraging days. they’re long, and trying, and it’s relieving to wake up the next morning ready to make sure today doesn’t turn out like the day before, and it usually doesn’t.
this week started like that. and it kept going. every day seemed to get worse then the one before, always with enough lull in the discouraging things for a few hours to bring a false hope for the next day.
discouraging weeks are one thing, but discouraging weeks that could be remedied by apparently removing yourself from the equation altogether are the most discouraging. if it’s going to be better just by you being gone, where’s the incentive to try? no - where’s the stamina that helps you carry through the incentive?
i know i’m not anywhere near perfect. i understand that. i understand needing a break from me, just like i need a break from others.
fine. i’m leaving for a little while. i’m actually excited.
it’s whether or not they’ll be unhappy that i’m returning that scares me. i like absence. in times of stability they really do make the heart grow fonder. in times of frustrations, tho….it worries me.
i’ll be relieved when this week - 2 weeks, month, whatever - stops being discouraging. frustrating. confusing. very frightening. just….gkhljdasdfiorwuyrleigfdhjbmn???/ comes to mind. i’m tired. i’m tired of arguing. of feeling distance before i’ve even left, disagreements in the air even when there’s no one else here. i don’t like being angry with my best friend. i don’t like being angry, period.
and since i’ve quit smoking cigarettes, that’s all i feel, with a few calm and tender pockets here and there. riding it out, sweating out the nicotine and trying to keep from breaking things and flying off the handle.
poor e. he deserves a smart, beautiful woman who runs her own business from a small office near her home, who can help pay for daycare every day instead of getting frustrated with his kid for various 3-year old reasons. she’s calm and quiet, and doesn’t mind weeks of time off work just being alone, and leaving him alone. she most definitely doesn’t NEED him…she just likes having him around sometimes. she’s professional, and street-smart, and can relate to his work in some way or another. she’s probably been married before, so she understands everything before he even says it.
but for some reason, he ended up with someone kind of like a puppy - eager, young, playful, ignorant, can be a short-tempered and easily bored, a little round. a snarky easily-stressed country woman who can’t grow kale worth anything and throws things when she’s really angry, but not AT anyone. generally.
anyways. i will be off to the farms on indiana to ‘work on myself’ but most importantly - just enjoy being me, when i want to be me, doing what i do to be me, and exploring new things and people.
and looking forward to coming home.
sometimes, i wish i were normal.
content in the suburbs, shopping at walmart, coffee from starbucks, 9 - 5 for someone else…
trying to live in the gray areas is exhausting. i totally understand why some people prefer to live in black and white. and the normal. i understand the normal. i feel torn between the normal and the alternative, wanting very much to stay to the alternate, and yet glancing wistfully at normal every once in a while.
haven’t i learned from any of my mistakes in the past? what about my present?
i feel broken. stuck.
everyone around me seizes their opportunities for growth and i am sent away to do….whatever.
what’s the point if we can’t grow separately together?