Four years ago, I no longer knew who I was. I knew I was a daughter, a sister, a mother, and so on, but I didn’t know who I was apart from those things. My husband had just dropped a bomb on my life, saying he didn’t want me anymore, and I felt like my whole life had been taken from me.
Let me tell you a bit about who I was before I got married. I was often described as vivacious, energetic, lively, outgoing, artistic, and social. In many ways, I was fearless. I didn’t bother myself much with whether or not I was liked, how I dressed, how I styled my hair… I was comfortable with who I was. Most days you’d find me wearing worn out jeans, covered in paint or clay, my hair a ratty mess, and I was fine with that. I was an art major, and made an attempt at a theater minor. I was in a couple one-act plays, an improv comedy group, and color guard. I boldly spoke out about what I believed, even though many disagreed with me. When I got married, all of that changed.
My husband had to be in the spotlight all the time. When we were out with friends, he would interrupt me and talk over me. He made me the butt of all his jokes. He seemed to make fun of me more than he supported me. Nothing was ever good enough. My artwork “didn’t go with the decor”. I was no longer funny. I worried about what I said. I didn’t dress nicely enough. My hair wasn’t fixed well enough. It seems the only thing I did right in his eyes was cook for him. So, over time, I shut up and shut down. I stopped singing, stopped painting, stopped drawing, stopped writing, stopped socializing, stopped everything. I no longer did much of anything that felt like me.
It wasn’t until he left that I realized how much I had truly lost. I had given up the things I liked most about myself, the things that many had liked most about me, and I had to find a way to get them back. The first thing I recovered was writing. I began writing like a mad woman, which I probably was. Out of those writings eventually came my first published book of poetry. It had been my dream for years, and I finally did it. About three years ago I started singing in church again. I had forgotten how much I loved it. I also rediscovered my artistic side. I started doing some painting, and I taught myself to knit and crochet. I also took the opportunity to do improv comedy again a couple years ago and had a blast. I’ve hiked five and a half miles both ways on a sandy spit in Washington to go up into a lighthouse. I’ve fired a gun, driven a tractor, and given blood for the first time. I feel like I’m starting to live again, like I’m getting back to me.
I’ve come to understand that I am at my best for my daughter when I am embracing every little bit of my passions and talents. I hope it makes life more fulfilling for her.
I feel like I’ve been given a new life. Again. I’m finding a new creative, witty, and social side of myself, and I’m loving it. I’m just waiting for all the other pieces to fall into place now.