Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That monster...the unknown...threatens me

January always seems to be a time of challenge for me. This year is no different. I am finding myself clinging to what has been, knowing that change is coming. My heels are digging in, making skid marks, and shrieking across the floor. Change isn't just coming, it is going to inhale me, suck me up, and shoot me out into....something different.

Change is good, I say. Change brings new life. I am a hypocrite. I applaud change in others. I encourage my friends to embrace it. I am THE mom with a mission, when it comes to advocating change for my own children. Yet, I am a coward when I have to make changes...myself. I tremble at the door of change. I don't like it. Not one bit. That monster...the unknown...threatens me.

As is always the case, I will avoid change as long as I can, until I am no longer able to take another step, without changing. Something. Will. Have. To. Give. The old way no longer working.

Who do I see now when I look in the mirror? I see a middle-aged woman who no longer has the luxury of waiting. Who still has time to stretch and grow, if she allows herself to do so. If she starts moving. Forward. Not in circles. She must step out of her comfort zone. A zone that doesn't feel all that comfortable, anyway. Yet, she draws comfort in sameness. Even if it isn't good for her soul. This is who I see when I look in the mirror.

My identity is permanently entwined now with my role as Mother. I both embrace and rage at this. For there is no greater demand on me, no greater depth of love, than what I feel for my children. And how they feel about me.

At the end of the day, no matter that many of my dreams are still out of reach, I can put my arms around my children, inhaling their soft scent... knowing that my biggest dream has come true. I am their mother. I am blessed. Yet, I want more...

Yet... Always, always the "yet." Why? I am ...afraid. Afraid of stretching for those dreams. Because stretching requires growing. And FOR THE LOVE OF GOD...aren't I growed up yet??? No. Not yet.

As uncomfortable as my current skin has become, shedding it takes guts. Putting on a new skin, hell...even polishing the old skin - still a change, causes me to freeze. Uncertain. As if in a dream...sinking in quicksand, falling without a parachute....

But, I AM! also a person in my own right, with dreams that are separate from those of being a mother...and a wife. Like a broken record, it is a constant, a buzzing, this need to have a separate self.

So, what about those other dreams? Are they valid? Can they have a life? Yes. But, in order to create that possibility, I must make changes. I must. Or, I will never know...

Painting Imminent by Chuck Gumpert.

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  1. I know just how you feel about change. Just as all my hard work is coming to fruition I am questioning rocking the boat by working full-time. Which is just plain silly when my kids are almost out the door.

    In my case I wish I was just a couple of years younger--then I would definitely wait until they were gone. I have to look at the backside though and I'm pretty sure by the time I'm 65 I'll want to be looking at retiring.

  2. I like the metaphor of the trapeze; at some critical point you have to let go and suspend in air as you reach for the second trapeze. It's scary as hell. I'm like you....standing there with my feet dug in avoiding the 'letting go'.


  3. Much as change scares me, too, you have to go for it. It's good for you *and* your family for you to want something more than just being a mother and a wife.

  4. What are the changes or dreams you are contemplating?

  5. May I suggest baby steps to change???

  6. I'm in the "don't like change" club, too. It's tough reaching and not knowing who or what will be there to help support your change.

    Something that keeps me moving forward is the thought of what I hope my kids will see in me. A happy, fulfilled mom. I also believe my marriage is stronger when I bring a more engaging, changing, interesting self to the equation. And I do want my kids to benefit from their parents enriched bond.

    Your posts are always so thought provoking, JCK.

  7. Hey, I accidentally deleted all my contacts. I was getting too much spam at my blog email, so I changed it to rantsravesjen@yahoo.com. Can you email me there please?

  8. I like Texasholly's suggestions - baby steps.

    I am remembering how I felt when we moved to LA. My son was 7; I was leaving the city I loved and had lived for almost 20 years; leaving my professional life and wondering what I would do. My identity had been deeply tied to my profession, and I felt completely unmoored. Suddenly it seemed like my only identity was "Mother" and I felt ashamed at how inadequate that made me feel.

    I think make incremental changes as your kids grow. Part-time work? Or take a class?

    How is the idea of your business going? Your plaint here is heartfelt and universally shared, yet you are - perhaps deliberately - shy with specifics. What are your dreams? Show them to us so we can help you figure out how to achieve them.


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