I don’t remember when I first heard that phrase but I knew immediately it described me. And now many, many years later nothing has changed.
I’ve done my best to squeeze myself into a round hole and almost always it didn’t work. And more importantly it left me bruised and battered. Now at 57, I wonder if I’ll find a place where I fit.
I thought I had found my forever home. My ex and I lived in a Dallas suburb from 1986 to 2013 when we divorced. I had even started thinking about buying burial plots. The divorce forced me to leave. I couldn’t afford it.
Moving around as a kid, having an extremely small family I didn’t have a connection to a particular place, a place which felt like home. It broke my heart to leave Flower Mound.
My heart is seeking a place to call home, a place where I belong.
I am going to try an experiment. Does writing my depressive thoughts encourage my depression to stay? I’ve made an old blog visible and for the rest of October, I am going to write only positive things and see if this helps my state of mind.
So I am asking my LifeRewritten followers to follow me at A Fresh New Life and find out if I get an answer when my experiment is finished.
Nowhere to be seen.
Nothing but a hot breeze.
Red, orange, yellow bright?
Not here among the green.
Burning leaves and pumpkin patches?
Just scorching rays and sweat down the back.
I long to live in a place which says goodbye to summer with bright flashes of color, deep scents of cinnamon, pumpkin and apple. I long to have a home where the windows let in a cool breeze for a night of refreshing of sleep. A place which offers a new experience for all my senses with the passing of each month. Will I ever be able to live in my wonderland?
Oops I did it again. Yes, I moved. This is my 6th move in 4 years. I’ve slowly pared down my belongings although from the photos it doesn’t appear so.
I decided with this move to sell one huge reminder of my ex: our bed. It is a large four poster wood bed and I bought the small full size iron bed on Craigslist. Just waiting for a new mattress to be delivered. Now when I go to bed at night, there will be no visual reminders of the past.
When I do buy furniture I’ve always tried to find pieces which can be used in a multitude of ways. So my formal living room end tables are now night stands in my room. The small tables with drawers I bought at Hobby Lobby for my bedroom are now in the living area. The tall, narrow drawer chest has been moved from my bedroom to the kitchen. And the small armoire which went with my four posset bed is now in the guest room.
I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the boxes but reminding myself to be grateful to have such a problem. The heat and humidity aren’t helping the unpacking process but hard work and sweat never hurt anyone.
As much as I’d like a cool shower and a good book, I’m heading to the garage and another box.
My youngest told me today it was time to stop worrying about her and her sister and start to worry about myself. I wanted to laugh because most parents (except my ex) always have their children on their hearts and minds. I don’t worry per se, but I pray for them and if they are sick or feeling down I’m concerned. It’s like the moment your child is born as with goes on inside of you and you realize for the first time in your life what love really is.
I am doing my best to focus on rebuilding my life as I approach my next move. I’ve signed up to volunteer at a local theater. I’ve joined a few Meetup groups. I found out I qualify for a free senior checking account and a discount at the community recreation center. (Happy to save money but still difficult to realize how old I am).
It’s hot and humid here in central Texas. As I sweat or as a southern lady glisten my way through the day, I remind myself all that humidity is good for my skin and helps delay wrinkles!! I am privileged to grow old. Not everyone gets the opportunity.
The Today Show has been doing a series titled “The New Middle Age.” Joan Lunden told us in a survey people selected 55 as middle age. Which I find very interesting because she interviewed women in their 40s with young children. Definitely not the demographic described by her own survey. I don’t know about you but where my life is now is vastly different from where my life was 10 years ago. And I think there is a major life shift for most people between mid 40s and mid 50s.
Children leave home. Careers change. You are either promoted or downsized. Marriages grown stronger or they break apart. The husband has a mid-life crisis and runs off with a younger woman. Sons and daughters-in-law and grand children are added to the family. Maybe you downsize your home or move to a new place, which means getting rid of lots of things. So I think her interviews held no weight because she didn’t interview people who were really middle aged.
Today they shared some round table talk with a variety of ages. I think their survey numbers were way off because I think people lied about discriminating based on age. Again age discrimination is alive and well. I can’t find a job because I’m entering the workforce at such a late time in life. Their is a perception I can’t learn new skills or my potential career will be to short. I clearly remember signing in at a Verizon Store. They took customers in the order in which they signed in unless you were a pretty young blond. A male Verizon employee disregarded the list of who was to be served next and went to help the blind hottie. I spoke up loudly and complained to the manager. Of course he said he didn’t see a problem.
For a woman 50 seems to be the magic number. It’s when you disappear from TV, movies, music, etc. And I finally stopped trying online dating because the majority of men, regardless of age set their search parameters not to select women who exceed 50 years of age. If you are over 50 you’ll never show up as a possibility. Even women your own age separate you out of their life if your life doesn’t follow their path i.e. you are divorced and they are still married.
I try and forget my age but always try and remember getting older is a privilege many never get. So rather than ignoring the “older” person next to you, engage them in conversation and open your world to new possibilities of friendship.
This being my sixth move in four years, I decided it was time to find an easier way to determine where each box should go. I’ve tried writing on the boxes. I’ve used different color markers. I’ve purchased large white labels and wrote on the boxes. And while each helped some, I wanted a way to quickly look at a box and decide where I wanted it to go.
I bought duct tape in a variety of colors. Using a box cutter, I carefully sliced the tape down the center so it would provide me with narrower strips and twice as much tape. Then in a small notebook, I put a piece of each tape and labeled which room it represented. The living area is yellow. Christmas is black. Office/Craft room is white. You get the idea.
I’ve begun to move the boxes to my garage to get more organized and figure out what I have left to pack. With a quick glance I can tell where I need to place the box I am moving into the garage. And since I am having to downsize yet again, I will know which boxes will be headed to storage.
Colored duct tape is providing me with a simple visual clue to help organize my very unorganized and unsettled life. And right now any small thing which adds to my sense of peace and control, it a miracle from God
Alright, I may have admitted this before, but it is important we own our addictions. And I have found a new website which happily feeds my addiction. It is Thrift Books. I’ve been using the library for ebooks but sometimes I am impatient and don’t want to be 11th in line for a book, so I feel compelled by my addiction to buy the book. Thrift Books helps me afford to do that but, I am a book addict. I will say it again. I am a book addict. Since January 1st, I have read 38 books. Which means I am averaging one book approximately every 3.8 days. And since last fall I have specifically become addicted to detective mystery series set either in another time or another place. These include:
- The Armand Gamache Books by Louise Penny – set in Quebec, present day
- The Maisie Dobbs Books by Jacqueline Winspear- set in England pre and post WWI
- The Ian Rutledge Books by Charles Todd- set in England post WWI
- Bruno, Chief of Police Books by Martin Walker- set in St. Denis area, France, present Day
I am not certain why I have suddenly become addicted to this type of book but I do know why a series captures me. A good writer makes a character real in my mind. These characters become my friends. I think about them. I wonder what they are doing when I am finished with a series. What do I share with each of them. Each character faces their own demons and identifying with this is easy. I question my choices like Armand. I have been hurt and right now I keep s wall around my emotions like Maisie. Ian struggles with a voice in his head of a lost soldier. I struggle with my own voice chastising me for making so many wrong choices. I long for love like Bruno.
I admire them and their unique qualities. What can I learn from their lives and then incorporate into my own life so I will be happier, more content person. I want to be a better listener like Armand. I want to be patient like Maisie and not miss the details. I want to push past my fears like Ian. And I want to live a life rich with friends and the love of the simple things like Bruno. I know they are fictional characters but I still learn something about myself through each book, each story, each struggle and each triumph.
So again, I admit I am an addict, a book addict and I hope I never am cured.
I am currently reading a book series by Martin Walker. They tell the story of Bruno Courrèges , the chief of police in the Périgord area of France. He loves his village of St. Denis, his adopted hometown. Here he finds the love and support he didn’t have as an orphaned boy. One of his great loves is cooking and dining well. He is gourmand and I sadly am a daughter of American cuisine. My palate would be challenged by some of his meals. However, the food doesn’t need to be fancy to be shared.
Dining with friends is a central theme throughout the series. Bruno is known for his cooking in addition to his astute police work. Laughter, sadness, love, hopes and dreams are shared between friends and family around the dinner table. Farewells are said to friends lost through death. Now I realize this is a book and not real life, but I do know the importance sitting together with your family for one meal a day . It plays a vital role in our lives. It is the one chance each day we have the opportunity to focus on those most important to us. Dinner time is when a child might express concern or joy about something inparticular. It is when parents teach their children through discussion the importance of staying connected with what is going on in the world. It is clearly the time parents can share their values through simple conversation.
Dining with friends widens our network of support. We are reminded we don’t face life’s hardships alone and we don’t celebrate the goodness of life alone either. At the dinner table we learn to give thanks for the simple things in life and the importance having a strong network of friends can be. Americans though have a difficult time sitting down and dining. Dinner is often rushed take out. Everyone grabs their order then scrambles off to their private space in the house. I know time is limited and the author is very clever because he writes about Bruno doing preperations prior to his day beginning. It does take practice but if everyone shared the responsiblity (at the the husband and wife) then it wouldn’t seem like such a burden.
Americans don’t entertain friends much anymore either, at least most of my former friends didn’t. When I or the one other friend who entertained would invite people to share dinner in our homes, you would think we had given them an expensive and irreplacable gift. I agree the gift of friendship is irreplacable but sharing dinner doesn’t have to be. If you can’t afford to serve dinner to a group of friends, host a potluck. Or maybe host a dessert party, a make your own pizza party or an after dinner drinks party. The object is to come together for a time and shut out the rest of the world. Bruno, time and time again, finds the support and encouragement he needs around the dinner table.
I live alone and have allowed this to be my excuse for not cooking. Why cook for one? It is so much work if I am the only one who will be eating. Sadly I am teaching myself I am not worth the effort to make good food. A goal I have as I move on from this place, is to bring back the art of dining, even if it is only dining for one.
Over these past few months, my counselor and I have discussed the choices I made in the past. He assures me I made the best choices for survival at the time. While that may be true, I have wondered what was behind the choices I made beside just surviving. And I had a personal revelation. Most, if not all, of my poor choices were driven out of a fear of rejection.
My life, prior to now, was not a journey driven by a confident woman. The driving force of my life was the fear of rejection and humiliation. My life was in a constant state of unbalance. Every time the person I was trying to please changed his/her mind, I had to rush to make sure my decision still made them happy. If it didn’t, then I needed to quickly make a change. By allowing my fear to drive my choices, I never built a strong sense of who I am and what makes me happy. I didn’t speak up. I kept my hurt feelings to myself out of fear of upsetting the other person. I pretended their words didn’t hurt my feelings. I raced around like mad when relatives were coming to visit and the stayed in a state of apprehension and fear. Why? Because I was eaten up with worry, I would be a disappointment. The ironic thing is I always felt as though I was a disappointment. Even if everything went smoothly and everyone was happy, I still felt like a failure because I always believed I could have done better or it was just a matter of time people would see the “real” me, the failure.
It is not always easy to be honest. It is not always easy to make a decision which goes against the tide (or family or friends or children). A person needs inner strength not to waver when a decision is questioned. So much of my life would be different if I had not been driven by the fear of rejection. I battle the fear of rejection and being alone every day. I take on the role of scapegoat. Pointing the finger of blame at myself calms my fear of someone else doing it and humiliating me. It gives me a sense of control when I assume everything is my fault. Sadly it doesn’t provide much opportunity for joy and peace in my life.
Change isn’t easy but it is worth the effort. Change has been a bumpy road. Change has challenged in ways I never anticipated. Change is scary. It is the scariest thing I’ve ever faced. There is a reason “misery loves company” is universally understood. While I might be miserable, it is what I know and having you join me in what I know is less frightening than me leaving my miserable comfort zone.