(This post is in response to the prompt “Tell a story about a time when you had to honor your reality” for the DIY MFA Book Club. To learn more about the club, click here.)
When I started down the writer’s path, I quickly realized that setting boundaries and being occasionally selfish (gasp!) with my time is okay, even healthy. As a born people-pleaser, I created a lot of codependency in my relationships. The line between true reality and perceived reality became fuzzy. I would expend much of my time and energy doing things for others they were very capable of doing for themselves. I spent thirteen years as a stay-at-home mom prior to attending college and was very active in my household. Since that time, I have been slowly learning to respect myself and delegating tasks that are best done by others.
I had no sense of who I was or what I wanted out of my life.
Proof that I have grown is evident in the differences to how I responded to two separate crises involving my children. My twin sons were born 10 1/2 weeks premature a month and a half after I turned nineteen. I was married to an alcoholic at the time and life was less than blissful. My sons almost died the first night, but have gone on to grow into two healthy, handsome young men. At this time, I had no sense of who I was or what I wanted out of my life. No one had ever asked me and it hadn’t occurred to me to ask myself. The following two months were split between hospital and home. I would spend my days next to my boys and my nights cooking dinner, doing laundry and whatever else was required of me. I had no notion of self-care or even asking for help. I had never done it before.
Contrast that to my daughter’s traffic accident a little over a year ago. Due to her injuries, she had multiple doctor visits and was unable to drive for several months. This meant a return to carpool and taxiing for everything after I’d finally found a successful groove with my time and my business free of the carpool line. Everything had been looking up and then all came crashing down. I had to turn down work to do what was needed on the home front and money worries and anxiety became my norm. Each day I left the house, I packed my Moleskine and Sharpie pen. During those waits at the doctor’s offices, tutoring sessions and carpool lines, I would capture stray notes and ideas as they passed by. The seed for a novel was planted and became my escape from the stress of the day, my refuge.
Learning to discern between my perceived reality and my true reality has been key to transformation in my life.
Learning to discern between my perceived reality and my true reality has been key to transformation in my life. Writing has brought healing, awareness and change. Giving myself those little snippets of time helped me find balance and sanity. It helped me remember that life is constantly in flux. Some difficulties last a long time, but none of them last forever. Each day I learn more about going with the flow of change in my life, to find peace in each moment.
I wish you all peace in whatever your life brings today.