Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lesson learned

One of the things that I love about life is how it just sneaks up on you. There you are, just going about your business, getting through the day, and all of the sudden, you realize that something has happened. That frisson of recognition and delight shoots through you when you realize that somewhere along the line things have changed.

Today, I realized that the rut I thought I was in wasn't what I thought it was at all. I've been extremely frustrated with my writing and creative life for sometime now, and because of how highly I value that aspect of my life, I've been projecting that frustration all over the place. My writing is in an undeniable rut, but today it hit me how much else has changed.

For several years, doctors' offices felt like my second home because between family members and myself, I was usually in two or three a week. Now, it's maybe once or twice a month, including the womanchild's painless-for-me orthodontist appointments.

As the family chief cook and bottlewasher, during the worst of my daughter's struggle with anorexia and bulimia, food consumed much of my energy, time and thoughts. Planning, shopping, preparing and serving it wasn't something I could ever take for granted because eating disorders distort the consequences of seemingly simple things. A bag of chips on the wrong shelf could trigger incidents of emotional pain and health endangering behaviors. I was constantly on a tension filled alert. Through her own courageous hard work, my beautiful daughter has gotten better and regained her health. The hardest struggle we have about food now is indecision over what's for dinner.

Along with her physical recovery, she also emerged from an isolation that terrified me. She's participating in school activities. She's seeing family and friends again, and I'm no longer the social coordinator. She's much less dependent on me, but we have developed a closeness that leaves me deeply grateful. These aren't changes I've created, but their affect on my life is tremendous.

I don't know how or when, but somewhere along the line, I've gotten better at drawing boundaries. There are people in my life that I love. I know they wish the best for me, but too much contact with them always left me feeling drained of everything but self-doubt. I've changed those relationships and accepted that the accompanying discomfort and loneliness is still preferable.

I changed careers and surprised myself with my ability to learn and enjoy a job that involves two things that have always given me grief -- numbers and details. That has extended to my personal life as well. I used to have panic attacks while paying bills, and though that's not something I'll ever enjoy, I don't remember the last time I panicked. I've also recognized that despite the financial difficulties of the last year or so, I'm getting through them. My nightmares about becoming a homeless bag lady are just nightmares.

For years, my biggest gripe about family life was that I was often seen as the maid. Maybe bitching does accomplish something because my family is stepping up to the plate and taking on more household responsibility.

After years of feeling separated from the community of Christian believers, I found a church that feels like home. Its beliefs and mine are not in lockstep, but I am simultaneously inspired, comforted and challenged.

I've been looking at my life and seeing the things that I've wanted to change for a long time. What I noticed was that my house was still over cluttered and filled with rampaging dust bunnies. I saw the same old boring wardrobe. I saw that my car still wants to overheat despite two thermostat replacements and radiator flushes. I saw the familiar stack of bills. I saw the same overused words and phrases in my writing. I saw all the scribbled edits on the page and the discarded wads of paper in the trash can. I saw the dinged and dented surfaces of my life and didn't realize until today that the inner renewal has been significant, indeed profound.

This has left me feeling quiet, soft, relaxed and excited in a way I haven't felt in a long time. My drippy nose, scratchy throat and cough seem so small now even though they've dominated my day. I've wanted positive change in my life for so long, and here it is. I've got it. I just got lucky enough to see it today, and I sense that I'll have other moments like this in the future. I don't know all the lessons I'm learning and the skills I'm acquiring now. I'm just living a day to day life, but this minute, I feel lightened and buoyed by knowledge that change and growth are always ongoing.


Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Now if we can just get you working on a novel or a collection of short stories! :-)

January 25, 2006 12:19 AM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

What a great entry! I feel better, having read this. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on this happy feeling.


January 25, 2006 1:26 AM  
Blogger sunflowerkat said...

What a wonderful, uplifting entry! I'm sure this positive outlook will provide food for more exciting changes.

January 25, 2006 4:54 AM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

OK, you've writtena great entry, but what I immediately notice is that you figured out the tag thing. I will be back, both to digest the entry and to ask for advice. In the meantime, I'm happy for you that you are able to recognize so many areas of growth and creativity in your very own wild and wonderful life.

January 25, 2006 7:45 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I am happy for you, Cyn. You really have come a long way. And on top of that, to have the blessing of actually knowing that you have...the foundation for a great day, at the very least.

January 25, 2006 9:14 AM  
Blogger dreaminglily said...

I'm so happy for you to have made this discovery. It's an amazing feeling to look around you and realize even though it all looks the same, it isn't. Well, at least when it's good lol

Lovely entry, as always.


January 25, 2006 1:04 PM  
Blogger ckays1967 said...


January 25, 2006 2:09 PM  

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