Monday, April 11, 2011

Not Knowing

I was raised by a difficult woman and an absent father.  He deserves credit for being a great provider of food, shelter, clothing and the portion of my psyche that loves to carry a portable GPS receiver into woodsy areas in search of geocaches.  She deserves credit for teaching me how to be a good hostess, a fine conversationalist, and an expert manipulator.  She managed to take me hostage at an early age and sell me on the idea that my purpose on this earth was to take care of her until she died, and I did. Kudos, Mom.

I didn't know I was unhappy when she was alive.  I knew I was depressed (because antidepressants made living "better") and stressed (big job, difficult declining mother, long commute), but I had a good life.  Big house, big money, nice cars, frequent vacations, lots of shoes, comfortably large circle of friends.  Everything a girl could wish for, right?

Before my mother died, I was certain that I would disappear when she did.  My identity was seamlessly soldered to hers (retrospectively - that was my choice, but is it really a choice when you can perceive no other option?) and I was terrified at the thought of losing her and myself.

She has been dead for more than two years now.  I have not disappeared.  In fact, I have begun to live a life that has my name stamped on it.  I knew what steps to take to find this life.  They were intuitive.  I didn't have to wrestle with what was right or wrong for me, worry about what she might think about my choices,  or push through much fear to reach this path.  What I did was reject the vast majority of the elements of my existence when she was alive.  I allowed my heart to speak and I followed its direction.

It's impossible to describe happiness to someone who isn't.  I wasn't.  Now, I am.