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Finding my Self: Part Uno

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Something interesting is happening to me. I am learning to find my Self.


Within the last five years I have noticed a distance behind my eyes. I’d look at photos of myself and see a shadow of what used to be me. “Oh, that’s just part of getting older”, I’d say to validate my feelings. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t know who I was anymore. After all, in the last five years I married into the military, moved away from the only place I ever called home, gave birth to two girls, went through my husband’s terrifying deployment to “the deadliest place on Earth”, and endured four (yes, four) cross-country moves. Throw in life’s natural forces such as family births, deaths, a cancer scare and people cutting me off on the freeway, and you have yourself one completely emotionally spun out of control mama. These past five years have taken a toll on my mind and body. And it was making itself visible in several ways, particularly in my reflection. At most, I put on 65 pounds. And because of that, I started avoiding mirrors altogether. Who the hell am I? I’d ask myself. I didn’t see the 20-something hot spring chicken I once was. You know who I’m talking about. The one who danced on a bar to the song “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, stayed out until 5am skinning dipping with the girlfriends after a far too fun Girls’ Night Out, and the one who could pack up and leave on a jet plane at any moment’s notice – alone. That’s not me anymore. Well then, who the hell am I?

But, something interesting is happening to me. It's not happening overnight. Rather, it's showing itself slowly like a good hand of poker. I gave birth to my second daughter, Kennedy, in October, 2011 and I immediately struggled to find a balance in life. I was working from home for Walt Disney Internet Group, I had a newborn, an energetic 3-year-old, and a husband who is absolutely amazing, but couldn’t help me with my day-to-day life while he was at work. In hind-sight I held it together with my mind. I created a model of how things should be. My type-A personality kept me and everyone close to me neat and tidy with no room at the bottom of the list to pencil-in an unexpected event. Everyone had a schedule. I kept to that schedule like everyone’s lives depended on it. No one could deviate from it. The house had to be a certain way. Always. If it wasn’t, I unraveled like a thread from a quilt, asking the universe why these things happen. If my 3-year-old took all 20 pairs of my shoes down from my neatly organized shoe-shelf, and strewn them all about in a mismatched, chaotic mess for the umpteenth time in one week, I lost it. I’d ask the ceiling, "Why do these things happen to me? I could have easily left my job to focus more on the girls, but I loved my job. I needed my job. The hours were very, very late in the day, but I told myself that I needed it to keep something for me and only me. Plus, I liked having my own income. I was often an emotional wreck held together with a daily structure that I created in my mind – and nothing or no one could drill a hole in that structure otherwise I’d really loose it.

Well, something drilled a hole right through my structure. My work decided not to continue with me and I was given three weeks until my last day. I was devastated. Nothing like that had ever happened to me. I had always ended a business relationship on my terms – not theirs.  I wasn’t fired or laid-off. I was simply contracted out with them, and they chose not to renew the contractorship based on business needs. Somehow, the thought of not having the job I loved didn’t make it into my perfect, tidy little model that I built up in my mind – and I was really hurt by it. I loved that job. I felt rejected. And because of that, I cried a lot. I really was an emotional wreck over a little piece of what I thought I was. If I wasn’t a contractor for Walt Disney Internet Group, what was I? Wife? Mother? What else?  What would my friends think if I didn’t have a job anymore? What would my goal-driven, extremely ambitious family think? I would be completely financially dependent on my husband if I didn’t have a job. I’m a 21st Century liberated woman who had a serious problem with that. It was a dark time because I felt lost. I didn’t know where to belong. I remember texting my husband during the day with, “I’m just so unhappy. I can’t stop crying.” Day after day he came home, hugged me tight and told me that it was going to be OK. I wondered how could one little thing in life bring me to my knees in sorrow? After all, no one had died. No one was physically hurt. The only thing that hurt was my ego. I obsessed in my mind what I could have done differently, but I always came back to knowing how hard I worked for them. I really did work hard. And then I started allowing my ego to shoot back thoughts like, “Oh, I’ll be something bigger than this someday. I’ll move on and become big in other ways and then they’ll really be sorry that they didn’t want to stay with me because I’m freaking awesome!” Still, at my core, I was lost, confused, and I didn’t know what to do. Again, I would look at photos of myself and see a lost woman who didn’t know who she was anymore.

With stress compounded inside me, I scheduled a massage to help release the tension. I told the massage therapist to focus on my back, neck and shoulders. As she worked her magic, all this nasty energy started rising up through me. And I cried. I cried right there on the massage table. Sure, I lost the job I loved, but c’mon, this crying thing was getting a bit ridiculous. Then, out of nowhere, something told me that I needed to go see a psychic. To this day, I still have no idea where that thought came from. But as I laid on the massage table with all this dark energy rising from my core to my surface, I felt a very strong desire to see a spiritual advisor. Now listen, so that you don’t start thinking I'm a “freak” and not "freaking awesome", let me emphasize that I do not see psychics. In fact, I have never seen a real psychic before all of this. My husband and I went to a palm reader at a Renaissance Fair once as a joke when I was pregnant with our first baby to see if the woman could actually guess the baby’s gender (she did). It was all silly and in good fun but I don’t consider that “seeing a psychic.” I have never seen a spiritual advisor before this time in my life. I always thought it was weird witch-craft-voo-doo stuff – and it was never for me – until I suddenly felt like this is what I needed to do.

And so, with lingering compounded stress and dark energy, the next day I saw Psychic Kristy.

To be continued in Finding my Self: Part Dos

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