Although it will come across as self-centered (or hell, although it is self-centered), a moment should be taken to explain why. The subject is currently transitioning into middle age and realizing that time and opportunity are slipping away. She’s watching everything change around her and realizing that one sweet year of taking everything she wanted doesn’t mean that the world will always do what you want. She’s staring down a very big decision and has to choose between two things that both seem as essential as air. Life is going to be surprising.
Let’s cut the gross third person talk. I don’t know what’s going to happen and can’t decide if I should just let life do what it will and think of it as an adventure or if I should try to take it back into my hands. I don’t know. I do know that it won’t last forever and that how the rest of it goes will depend heavily on how tireless and steel spined I can be. But I also know that how I feel at the end, no matter when that is, will depend on what I do now. I feel the need to do something good, of consequence. I will tell you one day about her, my reason for existing when I was younger. She’s far away these days and I’m dealing with mourning her. Part of my mourning is this question that just keeps coming back. If my reason isn’t her, then what is it? Why was I spared when better and kinder died years ago? Why was I put here in the first place? I can’t believe that it’s just dumb luck, even if it does reveal a limited mind to feel that way.
I’ll leave my subjects out of this for now. I was a happy, fearless child who was bullied pretty badly at the wrong time. It turned a chatty, noisy little girl into someone who hardly ever spoke. It taught me to be afraid to say hi to a stranger, join a conversation, or answer a question at school. That was the fault of the kids who were unkind, but it was also my fault. I let it happen and I let the feelings of being worthless persist. I put away things that I liked to please other people and let that happen for far too long. I let it make me secretive and sometimes unpleasant.
But – there has always been a little warrior to me. In high school, I signed up for an exchange program and spent a Summer away from home in Europe. I had my first real crunchy crush on a fairytale prince who was kind to me. I went away to school and even though that was terrifying, I made good friends and let myself enjoy the things that appealed to me. I took a terrifying job and got better at it. Not good enough, but better. Good for me.
That fear was still there, though. It told me every single day that I didn’t deserve any of the good things that happened to me. I fell in love twice with good men, then I let my fear make a decision for me. I got married and divorced and then something horrible and wonderful happened. The fearful girl couldn’t survive the marriage. I realized that nothing could ever be that bad again and that there was only one real thing to fear. I dropped everything that made me miserable – weight, the job I hated and was afraid to let go of, limitations. All of it. The desire for love was slow in coming back. Truth be told, coming back to life took a while. I watched a lot of tv, did a lot of nesting and thinking, and acted pretty selfishly for a while. I soaked up what I needed and didn’t think as much about what I could give as I could. There was a plan and I needed energy and resources to make it happen.
Then the call came and I was so casually told that every plan was going to change. I need a new plan and I think it has to be to do some good. A little selflessness is long overdue and where better to learn than at the feet of the people who have done the most good in my own life. Reading that line back, that is so self-centered, but maybe this narcissistic creature can still learn something before it’s too late to do something right.
That, by the way, is the first time I’ve told the absolute truth about this. That needs to keep happening – complete truth. I won’t learn anything if I look at it all through a filter.
There’s a reason for all of this.