Sunday, April 17, 2011

You've Always Had It

I am feeling more myself these days. My true self. I have been a shadow of myself for a few years now. There were glimmers of "me," but they would quickly disappear into the background again, swallowed by difficulties of one sort or another.

Life piled onto me, with more than I could juggle. I have been buried in things, confusion, disorientation, and sameness - in avalanches, as one after another, rolled over me. As soon as I dug myself out of one, something else would occur. Because I had let "me" go I didn't have the right coping mechanisms.

Grief overtook my life, and colored every moment of it. I was grieving for lost loved ones and friends, and also for a life I was leaving behind, an innocence that could never be recaptured, for losses no one could understand except me. And I wasn't examining them enough to understand them. But, finally, just like the witch told Dorothy - I now realize I've had the secret all the time - I always had the power.

It was me who left that life where I gave into my whims, took leaps of faith and jumped without a net. I left, seeking a safer existence. My life has been waiting for me to come back. Finally I have beaten back the tidal waves of sadness and am finding "me" again. It has been a long time coming.

It's hard to look for yourself when you know the person you're trying to recapture had some less than savory characteristics. But, eventually, not being who you are is more difficult than dealing with the realities of you. And, you realize that only when you're fully living your own truth can you withstand the buffeting that life brings.

It's not like this is news to me. I've always known it. But, I could see that others do not suffer the same difficulties being "them" as I do being "me" and thought I'd try to mold myself into something different. Somewhere along the way, I realized that is not the life I want.

It is not for everyone the existence I crave, to have experiences sometimes for the sheer enjoyment of having been there and done that, of having met someone along the way, of changing my perspective in some way. And while it is not for everyone, it is for me. I want every moment to be alive with the possibilites of life.

I have always lived life fully, head on, at 110 mph. When you hit a brick wall at that speed it really hurts. So I decided I would give it a go at a more moderate pace. What I've discovered is that while it hurts less when you hit the brick wall that there's no intensity to offset it. So you just go from "blah" in your daily life to "ow." I'd rather have "oh my!" in my daily life and accept the "ouch!" when it happens. Moderation doesn't seem to be my speed.

Finally, I'm finding the "me" who welcomes the world, soaks it up, revels in it, and gives my own energy back to it. I have been stingy with myself the last few years. I always felt the need to pull back, to not overwhelm those around me, to not be "too much."

But, you know what, I just am "too much." It's who I am. And to not be who I am is harming me. So, people will just have to take me or leave me.

If you have to leave me, I wish you nothing but the best. I thank you for sharing the path with me. I understand if you can't be in my world that spins at a different rate. I get it. I really do. It's disorienting when the world isn't moving at your speed. But I have to live in this world. Fully. No holds barred. I'm an "all in" kind of girl. And I just can't make it work for me any other way. I know that's not for everyone. And I respect your path. But, for my sanity, it has to be all the way for me. I'll take my lumps full force. And I'll take my pleasures the same way. I'm just praying for more of the latter than the former.

I'm reminded of a conversation with my dear friend, Fran, on the back porch of her garage apartment in Lexington when I was telling her she had to be careful of her own power. She was not existing fully in the world and as a result that power was being turned on herself and it was destroying her from the inside out.

I've been doing the same thing for awhile, not with power, but with control. For the comfort of others, who I so desperately needed, I have limited myself in some ways. Others, who know me so well, have been wondering where I've been. I am trusting the people I need will be with me as I go forward. Trust is all one can have at this stage.

I'm back. Full force, full on. Finally. I'm back.

No apologies for who I've been and where I've come from. Have I made some unwise choices? You bet. Do I regret them? Hell no.

I have fought hard in this lifetime for sanity. It has been a slippery slope at times, but the way I always made it through was just to keep on going, no stops, no faltering, just keep moving. I walked upright, head held high, through some things that have brought others to their knees. I'm grateful for it. So grateful.

But other things have made me crumble. In the last few years I have been crawling. Still moving, but crawling. I've had my head tucked down, dodging what might come next. It's no way to live. So, arms wide, I'm taking life in again. Hopefully I can keep the best of all these modes.

I almost gave up on myself. But just in the nick of time I'm reentering my own life. You would have been hard pressed to find the woman who went to Egypt by herself in the person I've been recently. I've been too afraid for years. Afraid of everything.

Living to avoid what you fear instead of seeking what you want is a pathetic way to live. And it's the place I find myself. Or did until recently, anyway.

I'm the girl who collects antique linens and treasures her mother's dining room table. I'm also the girl who has dressed in red and taken the stage. I know I'm a study in contrasts but I cannot suppress the parts of me that aren't necessarily "appropriate" in all circumstances. So, I'm saying now, just look away - or drift away if you must - but I cannot be this shell of myself anymore.

Finally I'm feeling more normal. And my normal is intense. I know some feel I am "too intense" and that it "takes a lot of energy to be around me." I get it. I really do. And if you can't stand to be with me anymore, I understand. But, I cannot suppress my true nature. It is killing the real me.

There's a reason one of my favorite quotes is by Zola - "I am here to live outloud." And I am.


Jill said...

beautiful post, beautiful sentiments, from and of beautiful you.

Patsy Terrell said...

Thanks, Jill... I always appreciate your insights... thank you for the kind words.

Barbara said...

It's the old "slide in sideways and yell, 'Damn, what a ride!...."
Attagirl, Patsy!!!!!

Patsy Terrell said...

Indeed it is, Barbara... somewhere along the way I became frightened of myself. I decided to get over it. :) And I love that saying - it may be a car commercial, but it's a good one!

Judith said...

Welcome to your life, Patsy!!

Deborah Thomas said...

Congratulations on making it through the tunnel!

Patsy Terrell said...

Thanks... it feels good to be feeling more normal... and just in the nick of time before all the difficult anniversaries.