I started this blog nearly five years ago, in January 2010. I was approaching my 40th birthday and I felt adrift. How did I end up here, I often thought. Who am I and how did I become this person? I would find myself talking to myself in the mirror, having the conversations that I couldn’t have with another single soul on earth.
Then I started this blog. This blog helped me. Helped me figure out, if not the answers to those questions, at least find some peace in the journey I’ve been on. When I look back on the way I felt then, the sadness that often permeated my days, the insecurity I felt, it is nearly embarrassing. I’m not that person anymore. I’m not the person who needs others for validation, for them to like her. Who needs to always know everyone’s opinion of her and change it if it is negative.
Some of that is age, but some of that is the introspection this space has allowed me.
I journeyed through time here, taking the time to sort through the stories of my past. For most of my life, I’ve felt like a victim of the tragedies that have befallen me, the rotten luck I’ve had or the lack of closure I’ve felt. I don’t feel like a victim anymore. I feel strong. I feel like a fighter. I feel like someone who has taken the blows and come back swinging.
I was able to meet again the characters that lived in my past, in my head, in the stories I told myself late at night. And in some cases, upon reexamining those long ago events, I discovered that I wasn’t, in fact, blameless for the mishaps that befell me. It wasn’t always my dumb luck or the world out to get me. Sometimes it was me, and my own actions that brought about this thing or that. Not an easy pill to swallow.
It’s been years since I finished writing my life story, one memory at a time. I still keep this blog, to write in sometimes. But mostly it is like a warm blanket I can wrap myself in when I need it. If I want to go back in time, all I need to do is click a few times and suddenly there I am, in a room with my son’s father again. I can give myself permission to love him again, to think about the funny way he used to smile or the way he would visit me at the drive through window when I worked at Burger King, his car spewing oil smoke so thick my coworkers would shoo him away. It is 1988 again, and I haven’t made all the mistakes yet. I’m in love, and I’m happy, and the world is my oyster.
Or it is 1992, and I’m in a hospital room with my mother. I can allow myself to remember not only the beauty of caring for her while she was ill, but also the hard parts, the angry parts, the parts where we argued. It’s OK for me to remember that it was a hard thing to do, to care for her alone in addition to my 2 year old son. I’m there again, remembering the nights we cried together before she died.
Or it is 1999 all over again, and I’m standing backstage at a Rick Springfield concert. He is telling me that he wants me to work for him. I’m scared and excited and sweaty and not sure how I will be able to do this, and I’m also trying to quiet the thirteen year old girl screaming inside my head. It hasn’t gone south yet. It’s still fun. It’s still amazing. He still looks at me like I’m the best thing for his career that he is trying to reignite.
Or it is 2004 and my beautiful blond boy, my silent, stormy, sweet boy hasn’t been diagnosed yet. There’s still hope, there is still the idea that maybe we are just like everyone else. Even though I know we’re not. Even though I am already hoping someone will tell me what to do with this child to fix him. Because for every problem, I think, there is a solution. There’s a problem, and you fix it. That’s how life is. Right?
Going back through my blog here allows me, even just for a moment, to imagine. To dream. To allow myself the fantasy of the paths that I didn’t end up traveling. But it also gives me the thing that I wanted, always. It gives me peace. It lets me know that I made these choices. I wasn’t a victim. I was an active participant. For each thing that happened to me, I reacted. I chose. I forged a path. I decided what came next.
It hasn’t been an easy journey. But it has been my journey. And all in all, even with all of the pain and the heartache and anger and sadness, there has also been joy. And truth. And discovery. I know who I am now. I used to need someone else to tell me, to validate me, to let me know that I was good, smart, strong. I don’t need anyone else to tell me those things now.
Because I know. 600 posts later, I know who I am.