At times I wonder how I came to be.....how did I become this person who is beating against the inner walls of the box, desperate to get out? For years I tried to confine myself within the box, because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I thought there was a certain way I should live my life. A certain way of doing things. A certain way to raising my kids. No wonder I was so unhappy for so long.
I was trying to live the American Dream....married, with two kids and a dog in Suburban America. A school teacher molding the minds of our children, our future. Soccer mom, hockey mom. Big family gatherings. Even after divorce, I tried to pursue that "dream". What I finally realized after much soul searching is that I never really wanted that particular life. There are certainly aspects of it I like, but not the overall picture.
When I was in high school, despite all the career testing I did that said I should be an architect or whatever else they said, all I wanted to do was to get a Jeep and a dog and head to the mountains and be a forest ranger. I even had a name for the dog....Jake. But something in the back of my mind worried that I would regret it later if I didn't get married and have kids.....take the normal path that girls my age would follow. What would people think?? I worried that following my dream would mean a life without any money. Maybe a life of isolation. I knew I wanted companionship, but wasn't sure in what capacity.
Now, at 43 years of age, divorced for almost nine years from a bad marriage and having ended an intense six year relationship with a man whom I love deeply but who drove me as crazy as I drove him, I am coming to the conclusion that I am much more of a free spirit than I ever realized. I am beginning to understand the need I have for open spaces, fresh air, and few people. There is also a need for connection, but on my terms. The internet is a wonderful tool for that. It lets people in but only as much as you allow. I'm also only allowing a few people into my life for the time being and in very limited doses.
Even though I am happier than I have been in years, I still have this underlying feeling of suffocation. I've talked about this for years.....the need to get out of Oklahoma and go to New Mexico or Colorado. My need for the mountains. Fresh air. Few people. Almost everyone has to put in their two cents as to why it's a ridiculous idea and how I should just bloom where I am planted and enjoy my life as it is. I know they mean well, but if they could live for just a day inside my head and really understand how I feel, they'd encourage me to move as quickly as possible.
I still struggle with what I "think" I should do or feel based on what the norm says, but my inner voice begs me to just listen to it and get out.....run, get away from it all and follow MY dreams, not what others think my dreams should be. And even though there is a part of me as a mother that feels very selfish in pursuing my dreams and leaving Oklahoma, there is a much stronger part of me that hopes my actions will inspire my children early on to follow their dreams and not let other people's expectations get in the way of pursuing what they want to pursue in their lives.
On days like today when I know to my very core that I am NOT living the life I should be, I feel as if I am suffocating. I know when I am in New Mexico or Colorado, in the mountains, my head is clear, I feel like I have purpose. My creative juices flow. I am at peace. I am home.
Today I made a few more baby steps towards releasing some things I need desperately to let go of. It's so very hard but feels so very good once you push through it. It's sort of like exercise. Damn, you're sore the first few times, but you start to feel an exhiliration that becomes addictive and you feel so amazing that you keep doing it....keep working out.....keep taking more baby steps but with larger strides each time.
One of the best parts of my life right now is the fact that I have the time to actually stop and think about what I am feeling. Over the last 6-8 years, that wasn't a luxury I had so I had to make snap decisions and was very reactive to situations. Now, I can slow down and really think about what is happening and how I want to react to it. It feels really good.
Life is good.
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