Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recreating myself

My friend Scott just updated his blog - http://littleteaboyseverywhere.blogspot.com/2009/10/butterfly-house.html. If you're not reading his blog, you should. Scott is a brilliant writer, he never ceases to amaze me with his insight and the beauty of his prose.

Reading his blog got me thinking, about where I've been emotionally over the past year, about the things that what I've gone through have caused me to question, about how I've had to re-evaluate so much of what I thought my future was going to be, and about the effect that all of this has had on me as a person. The timing of all of this seems very appropriate to me. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler, and I'm feeling the desire to hunker down, snug up my nest, and settle in for the dark half of the year.

This is normally the time of year when I become more introspective, more still. That's been happening slowly over the last few weeks, and with it, I've started to take a really hard look at the impact of the past 9 months.

In a way, it feels like I've gone through a re-birthing of myself. The person I thought I was back in January doesn't really exist any more. Back then, if you'd asked me what I was, I would have said a mother and wife. If you'd asked me where I saw myself in 10 years, I would have included my husband in any description of that potential future. But that potential future, that role of wife, of partner doesn't exist any more, and I've spent the past nine months going through the process of re-creating myself.

It's been a painfull process, at times almost unbearably so. There were times where I thought I couldn't go any further, and that for the rest of my life I'd remain this fragile, unformed, unfinished lump, with no idea of who I was any more. I had invested so much of myself into the marriage, into the relationship that I'd started to define most of who I was in terms of how it connected me to the husband.

This spring and summer have been about letting go of that. It's been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

But I think I've finally got past the labor pains of recreating my life. I can look ahead now, and see my future as just mine. Not as part of a pair, not as something empty and lonely, not as consumed by being a mother to an autistic child and nothing beyond that. I can see my future as a clear path, with dozens of smaller paths stretching off of it, each one leading to someplace new and wonderful.

So I think that for me, this half of the year is going to be about finishing that process. I've spent large amounts of time thinking about the patterns of relationships I've had. Honestly, this is the longest period in my adult life that I've gone without having a boyfriend or husband, and I think that's actually been a really healthy thing for me. (Minus the sexual frustration!). Not that I'm dependant on a man to take care of me, I'm more than capable of taking care of myself.

I think that when I fall in love with someone, I tend to justify their behavior, make excuses for them, and want to believe the best in them, even when there are red flags popping up all over the place. I have a bit of a rescuer complex, and it's taken me years to realize this about myself. Part of finishing up the process that I'm going through is going to involve examining that aspect of myself, and learning how NOT to let that blind me to the things I need to be aware of. It's an important step for me, one that it took me 3 marriages to realize I needed to make.

That being said, I really feel like this time, I'm doing things the healthy way. I'm not diving into a new relationship to distract me from feeling the pain of the loss of the last one. I'm not ignoring the hurt and the anger, I'm actually processing it, evaluating it and growing from it. I'm not throwing myself into work/school/kids to keep myself busy to the point of exhaustion.

I'm taking time to actually be in the moment. To stop, breath, feel. To take the time to learn what it is I need to carry away from this experience, and what I need to shed and leave behind me. It's something I've never done after a relationship before, probably something I've needed to do for years.

I'm finally hearing the message, and doing the work, and it's starting to feel really good.

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