Growth, Change and Grief

*Disclaimer: I wrote this whole thing and then realized that maybe I should have titled it, “Metaphysical Monday” or something like that.  It doesn’t have anything to do with my body image or anything else along the usual lines.  Today’s post is basically just some emtional upheaval that needed a place to be purged.  And hey, coincidentally, I have this blog!  LOL*

I don’t know what’s going on in my head lately.  Or rather, maybe it’s that I DO know what’s going on, and there’s just so much of it.  The events of the last year or so have caused me to really reevaluate what I want out of life, how I feel about things, what I like and don’t like.

It turns out that I might not be the person I always thought I was.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  It’s not like I thought I was a good person, but oops, I was wrong, I’m really a serial killer.  It’s more like I thought I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want, and have suddenly realized that I don’t want what I thought I did, and hey, I might want some of the stuff I thought I DIDN’T want. 

I’ve always wanted to act.  I wanted a career in film, and everything else (love, kids, house, etc.) was ancillary.  Maybe if I’d started when I was younger I would have gotten that film career, but at this point, I’m not willing to live the kind of unsettled life that starting a film career requires.  (“Hey, let’s go away for the weekend!”  “Ok, but if I get an audition call, I have to cancel.”  Happens more often than you’d think.)  So the film career went by the wayside this year.  It’s not something I regret, but it was a big change.

Last year I dated a man with kids.  In some ways it was a great relationship, in others not so much.  But I’d never EVER wanted to get married or have kids, and because of that relationship, it’s something I’d consider now.  So that was a big change.

That same relationship made me realize that there is a big ol’ part of me that LIKES all the stereotypically “female” activities in life.  In some ways I’d probably be a really good stay-at-home-mom.  I also like cooking and decorating and sewing and even cleaning, to a certain extent.  If I’d grown up in a Baptist family, I’d fit in just fine, LOL.  I’m not Baptist, or even conservative, and I don’t plan on converting: I don’t have any of the religious or political beliefs that accompany that lifestyle, and I’m not really sure I’d want to stay home in reality.  But it was a shock to realize how much of that kind of stuff I LIKE, when I never thought I’d like any of it.  So that was a big change.

And going hand-in-hand with the “girly” stuff was the realization that when my actions and beliefs come from a rebellion against something, I’m still being controlled by whatever I’m rebelling against.  In other words, I have HUGE issues with the “traditional” roles of men and women in our society and religions (which in this country, are primarily Judeo-Christian).  So I moved as far away as I could from those things, swearing that I’d never get married, never have kids.  But a reactionary movement is still a movement in response to something.  It’s like reverse psychology: I’m still allowing myself to be controlled by those expectations, because I’m rebelling against them, without any thought for what I really want (on the fence about marriage, don’t want to birth any babies, but might really like to adopt).  I don’t even know if I’m saying that right, so I hope it makes sense. 

I think a lot of this is coming up because I’m supposed to go have coffee with the above-mentioned ex this week.  It’s a long story, but basically we’re hoping there might be a friendship in there somewhere. 

But there has been so much internal upheaval, so many changes and about-faces, and fast starts and full stops that I’ve become a little bit of a wreck.  I find myself looking forward toward a future that holds things that 2 years or even 1 year ago I would have said I never wanted, and leaving behind and outgrowing things that I have wanted ever since I can remember.  I don’t want those things anymore, but somehow I’m grieving their passing. 

So I find myself crying randomly because I’m grieving the death of an old me, even though I know there’s a new me that will emerge from the experience.  It seems sort of silly when I stop to think about it: I mean, what am I grieving, exactly?  I’m still the same person.  The stuff I’m letting go of is stuff that doesn’t fit anymore, like old clothes.  What am I mourning?  I don’t know, exactly.  I can’t put my finger on it, and even as I write this, the tears have dried on my face. 

We are creatures of habit.  Letting go of old things means letting go of a certain sense of security, of knowing who I am.  But then again, was that really WHO I was?  Did I really know myself, or did I just know ABOUT myself?  I know a lot of things about myself: how I respond to crises, what makes me happy, where my “issues” come from.  But that isn’t really knowing my SELF.  That’s just knowing about the external constructs I have created around myself in order to define myself according to the tenets of this society.  But “myself” is different from “my Self.”  One is a descriptor of my little life: my external life, my constructs.  The other is a word for the part of me that never changes – my soul, my Higher Self, my Buddha-consciousness, whatever.

So what am I grieving?  I’m grieving something transitory, something that, as part of my “little life” wasn’t ever anything more than an illusion to being with.  I guess it seems a little silly, when I think of it like that.  It seems a little silly when I know from experience that I’ll be ok, even if I don’t see the whole picture yet.  (There’s a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that says something to the effect of, “You don’t need enough light to see the whole staircase.  You just need enough light to see your next step.”)

(But I still reserve the right to completely forget this moment of enlightenment and have another good cry should the need arise.)  😉

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6 responses to “Growth, Change and Grief

  1. frick frickitty frick frick.

    read.
    digested.
    TODDLER A’CALLING.

    short version? I cant move beyond anything unless I embrace the sadness and *grieve* a little.
    longer? shall have to wait as TT wants to yank over TV.

  2. Marste, I think you’re just grieving the comfort of the familiar…you understood the old you, her ambitions and her limitations…it’s scary to embrace a new sense of self, to let go of the stale and stagnant and to start afresh. Scary, but also the healthiest thing you can do. It’s only when we change that we grow, and by constantly challenging ourselves can we see that our capabilities are limitless.

    I know you weren’t asking, but I’m all about my two cents!

    Also, I’m happy to read anything you want to write, so please don’t feel confined to topics of body image etc.

    Ah, and I adore that King quote, I’d never heard it before, and now I want it tattooed on my self.

  3. Ahahahaha! Miz, I hope the TV survived the Tornado! As for the rest . . . I guess I’m just tired of grieving, you know? I’m ready to be DONE already. *sigh*

    Cara, I think you hit the nail on the head: it’s scary to leave behind something you know so well. Re: the change=growth paradigm – I heard a man once say that when an aphid eats all of a rose and it prays for more food (in its little aphid way), it doesn’t get what it expects. Instead it sprouts wings and flies to the next flower. I remember him clearly saying, “The next stage of your evolution IS your answer! When you need an answer to something, the answer is, it’s time to change!” I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

    And hey, I’m all about other people’s cents/sense! LOL

  4. It is scary when you begin to grow and stretch in ways you never thought you would! But it can be exciting too. It’s definitely OK to grieve, but as my mother says “don’t look back, you are not going that way!”

  5. I read once about a woman who got rid of everything she owned and started over. Apparently her possessions were ‘part’ of her, and getting rid of them freed her from her old self. Sounds brutal, but effective. (She wrote that it was ‘an incredibly frightening and liberating experience.)
    Sometimes people have to free themselves in an outward way; I like your method of pondering, grieving, next stepping.
    Let us know how it goes!

  6. What a thoughtful post!

    And I think a lot of people never get to that point of realizing that rebelling against something is still being controlled by it.

    Hope the grief part isn’t too much of a drag, but sounds like a necessary part of moving on.

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