The past month of my life has been all about choices. It has been choice after choice. I have had to take a long hard look at who I am and how I can end up on top and for the most part, it’s been pretty depressing. I have spent so much of my life trying to appear perfect to the outside world because that was how I raised. My parents taught that what happens in the home stays in the home and that a perfect image to the outside world is just a part of life. That is why I try to so hard to stay in control of my life and to appear strong when I don’t have any strength left in me. (I think I may have actually missed the point of my parents’ lesson.)
Looking at my life has forced me to see that no one really knew my secrets so there was nothing that I had to show as “perfect” or “normal” to the outside world. Further, even if my life is a mess, it is not like anyone has their life in order. We just all walk around pretending that we are “normal” or “perfect.” I am not even sure that there is an accurate definition for either term.
I finished up my master’s degree in legal studies at the end of June and recently received my degree in the mail. I have been told by many in my life that I should go to law school but I don’t think that is part of my plans any more. See, in the past few years, life has handed me obstacle after obstacle and I have kept going despite the punches. It feels like being awake for several days because something has to be done before you can sleep. I feel like I have spent the past few years sleepwalking through my life because I had too much on my plate and when obstacles smacked me the face, I had no choice but to keep going even I didn’t have it in me. After my brother’s death, I realized that I did not stop enough to stop and smell the roses. I wasn’t enjoying life because I was simply living it and a year ago, that was fine, but it doesn’t work for me anymore.
In the past seven months, I have been forced to tackle the issues in my life that I have for so long just did enough to get by with. Between my multiple responsibilities, my marriage issues and the financial nightmare I was dealing with, I think I stopped feeling anything. The truth is – I did that to myself and I have no one else to blame. I wanted to be this superwoman who was strong and had her life under control but all I ended up doing was making a mess of my life.
In recent weeks, I have found myself trying to find answers to my faith, my marriage, and to the financial situation that has not gotten better. As I tackle these three issues, I feel a sense of empowerment that I have never had before. I feel hopeful but at the same time, I am scared. I am feeling something that I have not felt in a long time: control. I feel like I am finally in control of my destiny. I still feel sad about the road that got me here and I sure as heck am scared, but it feels everything is finally coming together for me.
The hardest part was hearing a doctor tell me that my stress and other factors in my life were raising my blood pressure and I had to start making some serious choices because things would get worse as far as my health was concerned. I have my kids to think about and while I have worked really hard to take care of myself as far as RA and fibro were concerned, I was not doing enough for my overall health. I know that the biggest thing standing in my way was stress and I was doing it to myself. I was bogging myself down with responsibilities instead of just doing the best that I could.
I don’t want to just get by. I want to enjoy life because I know that this is what my brother would have wanted for me. He would want me to be happy and instead of always working towards being better, he would want me to work towards being happy. It is the least I can do to honor his memory.