Sounds of laughter drifted up through my window, the image of everyone sitting there by the fire, drinking, talking, bonding stayed in my mind’s eye.
I had just left. It was a feel-good scene. So why did I feel like such shit?
We had traveled up to Idaho to bury my husband’s father. He died in December, and the forest-colored urn with his ashes sat in my mother-in-law’s den for months. Everyone had begun to move on, and then it was time to make the pilgrimage to Idaho to say the final good-byes.
My husband’s family is different from mine in nearly every way. It’s a large, close, mostly gregarious family with strong genes that loves to laugh. My remaining family is small, neurotic, stressed.
It’s interesting because my husband’s father was kind of like me. A quiet man who liked to read, he also tended to escape when too many people crowded around.
Still, despite loving myself as an introvert, I know deep down inside that sometimes my solitude is less chosen and more because I’m not good around people. I tend to lose myself, feel not good enough. So sometimes, I hide.
Last week, I wrote about a dramatic epiphany — learning how to receive — and was immediately tested on how this would play out in real life. How do you walk through an experience far outside of your comfort zone, where you’re needed but not an integral part of the whole? How do you act unselfishly without losing yourself?
Sometimes I feel like I’m riding in the sidecar of someone else’s life.
Although I’m pursuing my passion, and my husband supports me in every way possible, sometimes it feels like I’m trapped in a cage, creating within the boundaries of a life that happened to me while I was unconscious.
Waking up, healing from the trauma of cancer — it’s been a long journey. I’ve been tilling the soil of my life for many years, trying to make things grow. I’m getting closer, but some days it feels so far away.
In many ways, it’s the push and pull that happens after you get married. You’re no longer one person, but two. How do you create a life with someone else that works for both of you? I believe it’s possible, but to find a good arrangement takes time, with a lot of trial and error.
I’ve always been the flexible one, and one day I woke up and realized I’d been so flexible that I lost myself.
I didn’t know who I was anymore. I’ve been growing closer, so close, to reclaiming my power, then came this trip to Idaho. I was tested. It was the ultimate side car experience, of feeling like an outsider who didn’t belong. There were highs and lows, but to say I passed with flying colors would be a lie.
To see my husband interact with his large family and network of friends in Idaho highlighted for me everything that’s missing in my life. He has everything I dream of. I’ve never been good at creating my own tribe or asking for the resources I need. I’ve always learned to do without. To do it on my own. It’s made me resourceful, but also sometimes hard and empty.
While in Idaho, I did the best I could as an introvert surrounded by this large tree of family and friends I didn’t know. I’d stay for as long as I could, and then leave to hang out, alone. But this solitude didn’t bring me peace. It made me sad.
I realized how much I rely on my spiritual practices — healthy food, daily yoga and meditation, a lot of sleep — to keep me happy and healthy. There was no room for yoga or my sleep schedule, and it felt like there was no room for me.
So now, returning home, I’m recommitted.
To setting boundaries, to creating a life that works for me, to my physical and mental health, to expanding my sense of personal power, to stop hiding, to love who I am and be who I am.
I’m committed to creating a world that nourishes me, of increasing my sense of personal power so that everything that’s meant for me is effortlessly drawn to me.
This is the meaning of that Rumi quote, “Had I not created my own world, I would certainly have died in other people’s.”
Other people, no matter how much they love you, will never be able to give you what you need to find within yourself.
I’ll never be the outgoing life of the party. I’ll never have the bucolic childhood experiences I long for. That’s not a part of my story I have the power to change.
But I still have the power to change my story.
I have the power to learn how to be at ease in every situation.
I have the power to learn how to ask for what I need.
I have the power to learn how to live life on my terms.
I have the power to make the rest of my life the best of my life.
I have the power to write and share my story, the good and the bad. Because all of my flaws pave the way for all of my gifts.
Authenticity is everything, and as much as I’d love to pretend I have it all figured out, I don’t. It bothers me when other people create the picture that they do.
So here I am, with no epiphanies, just a girl trying to figure it all out and make today better than yesterday.
I hope this served you, even in some small way. Thank you for being here and joining this journey.
All the love,