I’m currently on this five day adventure in search of me. And I’m off to a fabulous start.
Over the years I have lost myself in my kids and my husband. I have become (or maybe always have been) a classic case of co-dependency. This co-dependency is about to cost me my marriage and for the first time in my life I am recognizing that it is indeed a giant flaw that I need to face. Whether I am in a relationship or alone, it’s time to stare it down. It’s an attached part of myself that needs to be surgically removed. In the process of removing this fatal flaw, I’m learning the art of independence, self sufficiency, self love and detachment. Yesterday I began the process of letting go and seeking me.
I put myself on an Amtrak train and navigated my way by public transportation to a hotel. I suffered through a very lonely first night. I was longing for my boys. For my best friend. For anyone but me. I spent the evening alone in my hotel room watching the AZ wildcats and feeling somewhat connected to my family members who were undoubtedly watching the game too. I needed anything that would keep me from feeling alone. The game ended and sleep was still nowhere near so I immediately sought out more distractions. I ordered a glass of wine and tuned in to the Bachelor (piece of shit show really). Distractions.
The night was spent feeling like my king-sized bed was too big and lonely. I decided that it was time that I went to Build-a-Bear and make my own snuggle buddy. Note to self: Do this soon! My boys are so comforted by their stuffed animals and I really feel that I too could find comfort in the stray ear of a stuffed dog. My sleep was filled with very telling dreams but solid sleep. Upon waking, I immediately jotted down the last dream I had so I could explore it further at a later time.
Today, the loneliness lessened and I focused very deeply on myself. I started the day with a meditation and then I searched for a therapist to work with me on my co-dependency issues. I took a run. Goddamn, Seattle, you have some serious hills! It was a brutal workout. After my run, I headed out and walked to the nearest park, where I found a quiet spot in the grass and first got down to the important business of pursuing a career. I took the exams required of me by the Oregon Veterinary Board and then mailed them off. And then I began to cry. I allowed myself to just sit with the pain I’ve been feeling these past weeks and allowed every tear that needed escape to make its way out. I didn’t care one bit that I was in public or that people might see or that my mascara might run. I just let it loose. In that pain I decided to make myself a video message. One that I could reflect upon during calmer times. I usually would never video myself because I can’t stand to look at myself on film but this time was different. On playing back the film, I was not critical of myself. I only had deep deep love for myself and could find nothing to criticize. Instead I could only see my pain, my insight, and my beauty. I have never accepted myself so fully! I carried this self acceptance throughout the day.
My next stop was a tiny coffee shop that had a blazing fire. I pulled up a chair next to the fire and read Co-Dependent No More for nearly 2.5 hours, marking up the pages with a hot pink highlighter. It was as though this book was meant for me at this exact moment in life. Every word relatable. Every suggestion applicable. I was devouring every morsel of goodness oozing from its pages.
Next for a vegetarian curry wrap. Because my true highest self desires to be a vegetarian.
Over to the MAC store where the girl who helped me is probably the epitome of every man’s fantasy. A perfect body . And by perfect, I mean a 10. Not a 9.9. An absolutely perfect 10. She barely dressed that perfect 10 body of hers in black knee high stockings with ankle boots and a skirt so short that every time she leaned over her ass cheeks became visible. Normally I would feel highly threatened by a woman like this. But not today. Today I was self accepting. She (whose face was caked in layers and layers of thick makeup) asked me what I was looking for. I told her that I wanted to learn how to play up my best features. I wanted to learn how to accentuate my eyes and add color to my lips but that I wanted a very natural, soft look. She brought over a TON of products and immediately started in with, “I’m sure you are wanting to make these lines around your eyes less visible.” Not even a slight cringe within me. Instead I responded by saying, “I like my eyes just the way they are. I don’t want to fix any lines or make myself look younger. I just want to brighten what’s already there.” She seemed stumped. “Are you sure? I can really help you cover some of these lines up.” It took some time but I finally convinced her that I truly was very happy with my beautiful face. I left with eyes that were beaming and lips that looked softer but not looking a single day younger. I’ve earned these lines and I’m keeping them! And I left confirming that younger and more beautiful does not equal better. In fact, I much prefer my sagging face and aging body over the pressure she must feel to maintain what will eventually fail her anyhow. My identity is not wrapped up in how I look.
After my makeup experience, I kept the self focus going strong and finally invested in new bras. Exciting, I know! But I have put off purchasing bras for more than 1.5 years and now was the time to stop neglecting that need. I approached the saleswoman letting her know what I was looking for and my size. She looked at me and said, “Oh, let’s get you something that makes you super perky. It will make you look and feel younger.” WTF! Still sitting confidently in my self acceptance I replied, “I really don’t desire to be super perky and younger. I just want to be supported and secure and maybe have a little prettiness under my clothes.” Looking really disappointed she just pointed me in the direction of the bras in my size. I tried a kazillion on (I swear bra shopping is worse than swimsuit shopping) and landed on the ones that felt most comfortable and added just an oomph of femininity under my clothes. Yep, still feeling quite confident and in love with myself. I don’t want to present something to the world that I am not.
I walked back to the hotel and decided to go to a bar. I am someone who prefers the safety of my hotel room and the ease of room service but I thought I’d continue down the road of independence. So I walked to the bar, leaving all distractions like my phone and books in the hotel room. I boldly took the seat between two men and ordered myself a beer and salad. I sat there alone. Without anything to fidget with. And it was fantastic. Here were these people that I doubted I could have any conversation with and while I said nothing to the first two guys I sat between, I eventually started up a great conversation with the bartender. I learned all about his hometown in Ecuador. About his son, his divorce, his jobs. I gave him websites that my boys love (pleygo.com) and as we were talking I mentioned AZ. When I said AZ the guy a few seats down said he’s from AZ and we got to talking about Mt Lemmon and bike riding and how his beloved Sun Devils beat my beloved Wildcats on Valentine’s Day. We talked about how much we miss the stars and the mountains and hearing the coyotes at night. It was wonderful. Next a young man came to buy 4 glasses of Vodka/Tonic before happy hour was over and I commented on his ability to drink a lot. We laughed and I gave him high fives and he went off to his business meeting. I connected with a lot of people and it was really easy. I liked it. I liked me.
I walked back my room feeling like today was a really good day for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve loved myself. Focused on me. Grown as a person. Self reflected and self accepted. I have a lot of growth ahead of me. Probably a lot of pain too. But after today I know that I can do it. I know that I can become all I want to be. And I know that the only person who can accept me, change me, and unconditionally love me is me. Only me.
Let this next part of my journey begin because I am ready to fall in love with the person I’ve been neglecting the most. Me.
Tomorrow I begin a 3 day Intensive Journaling Workshop. Cannot wait to uncover what there is to discover!
Journey on, Readers. Journey on.