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Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

a gift

For a couple of years when I was a kid I wanted to be a big animal vet, horses specifically. There was just something about them I loved, not to mention the whole draw of living on a farm and wearing jeans and boots all the time, which I somehow assumed went with the job. Then I wanted to be a travel agent. Flying off to distant lands, helping people plan their dream vacations; I couldn’t really see a downside. Then I wanted to be a journalist. Not a journalist in front of the camera but rather one behind the scenes, doing the research, putting together the pieces and then writing the words to bring it all to life. But no matter what form my life was going to end up taking, I knew one thing for certain: I was not going to settle until I found my calling.

I was, and still am, a big believer in the idea that there is something I’m meant to do.  There is something out there that will just click with me and I will love it and be good at it and be successful at it and it will not feel like work.  I grew up with two parents who worked extremely hard at their jobs and each achieved success in their fields but every day when they walked in the door, I could tell by the looks on their faces that it felt like work.

I ended up pursuing journalism and got halfway through the program at school before discovering I didn’t love it.  I stuck with it though, at the very least so I would have some letters after my name to fall back on until I found what it was I was searching for.  Then I met a guy and started dreaming very different dreams.  I started thinking that perhaps my calling had nothing to do with a career but rather that being a mother was what I was actually on the Earth to do.

Um, not exactly.

Two kids and ten years later and I have discovered that although I love my kids with a strength and conviction ‎that I can’t express or explain, motherhood is not my calling. I see mothers who truly love being mothers and I know, definitively, that I am not one of them. I love my kids with every ounce of who I am but, to be honest, being their mother almost always feels like work.

It took me a long time to get to a place where I could say that out loud (or at least out loud on paper) and not feel bad about it. It took me a long time to feel like I could share that part of me without also feeling like I had to apologize for even thinking it. I’m glad I finally got there; so relieved that after the days, weeks, months and years of feeling ashamed of the feelings that I wasn’t feeling, I can now accept myself and stop hiding it. I totally agree that motherhood is a gift, one that I will always be grateful that I was given but, as with some gifts, it has never felt like it fit quite right.

As they grow older, my kids need me in a much different way than when they were babies and toddlers and pre-schoolers. They need me in a much less physical way and although there is no doubt they still need me, their growing independence has left gaps in my days that I only used to fantasize about. When I spent hours in a rocking chair with one or the other attached to my body I used to dream of the gaps; of times when I could once again think thoughts of me and make plans for me and be inspired by the possibilities of what I could do.

Don’t get me wrong, most of my days are still filled to the brim with the kids, their activities and homework and friend problems and the constant search for missing library books, missing hair clips and whatever else manages to disappear on a regular basis, but now my mind has time to relax, even if my body doesn’t. I have time when I’m sitting on a hard wooden bench in a gymnasium watching my daughter chase after a soccer ball. I have time when I’m sitting on a hard wooden bench in a freezing cold arena watching my son stop hockey pucks. I have time when I’m sitting in front of a computer waiting to be inspired. I spend a lot of time sitting, and thinking, thinking and sitting and yet I’m no closer to finding any answers.

When I was a mother to babies I was filled with so many wishes and had no time to make them come true; as a mother to older kids I have all the time in the world but I seem to have forgotten what it means to wish wishes just for me.

I thought I had a plan for my life. I planned on school and I planned on a husband and I planned on the kids and the house with the two car garage but I guess that’s when I stopped planning. I wrote it all down on the pages of my life, hoping it would all eventually come true and I am so lucky that most of it has, but now I’m lost because I never planned what happens after.

And on the dark days I’m frustrated and disheartened to think that maybe I don’t have a gift to give, that I don’t have a role to fill beyond the one I play within these four walls. I get down on myself, I start to believe the negative thoughts in my head that tell me I have nothing left to offer, nothing to give that is worth anything.  On those days I feel like I’m trapped in a rut, a trench so deep and so wide and so long that I can’t see over the top of it.

But I’m not ready to give up just yet.  I’m not ready to pack away my perhaps childish idea that somewhere out there is the thing I’m meant to do and if I find it, when I find it, something inside will click into place like a key fitting inside a lock.

I have to believe it’s out there.  I have no choice but to teach myself how to once again start wishing wishes for me and finally start filling up the pages of the rest of my life.

 

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This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project.  Click HERE to learn more and if you don’t know about Glennon Melton’s amazing memoir, Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, now’s your chance – it’s now out in paperback so pick up a copy!  It will have you laughing and crying, all in the same breath!

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the desk

I moved the desk up from the basement on Sunday. I moved a chair to go with it and placed both of them against the wall, under the window, in the spare room. The room that before Sunday was known as my ‘reading room.’ In my head I now refer to it as my ‘writing room’ but that’s one I’ll keep to myself for now.

I moved the computer upstairs as well, plugged it in to charge so it will be ready. It will be ready for me whenever I decide that I’m ready.

The desk looked bare with just the computer so I looked around to find something else to add. My eyes quickly landed on a sign that a friend had given me for my birthday this year, and a coaster – both with the word “dream” on them. I added them to the desk and stepped back to reassess.

Much better.

I could almost see myself sitting there, a cup of steaming tea sitting on the coaster, waiting for me to stop writing and take a sip.
For years I have had a picture in my head of my desk, my writing space, my view. And I kept telling myself that the reason I have not written anything is because the reality did not yet match the picture. I didn’t have THE desk. Sure, I had A desk, but not THE desk. I couldn’t possibly be expected to write anything without THE desk, right?

Standing there, surveying the space I had created, I realized it was a lot different from what I had pictured. I had always imagined an old, antique wood desk with a huge writing surface and drawers – it had to have a lot of drawers. I’m not sure why, but I was sure that when I was a writer I would have lots of things that would need to be put away in drawers.

The desk I dragged up from the basement is not any of those things. It’s made from some material that is doing its best to imitate wood and has a wobbly front leg that refuses to be tightened. It does have a drawer but it’s just big enough to hold a few pieces of paper and a couple of pens; not nearly big enough to hold all of the ‘writer things’ as I had imagined.

I imagined that I would sit at THE desk and stare out the window while awaiting the arrival of my brilliance. I would look out the window at an inspiring view – a forest, a lake, an acre of rolling hills. That’s what writers need, right?

The window in my spare room looks directly out on the side of my neighbour’s house. A perfectly uninspiring view of off-white aluminum siding. If I put my face up right next to the glass I can almost see the sky.

Not at all what I pictured.

But the reality is, if I wait until I have the perfect desk, in the perfect room with the perfect view, I will spend the rest of my life waiting. And I’m tired of waiting; I’m tired of making excuses; I’m tired of dreaming.

But I’m scared.

As I stood there looking at that little desk I realized that I created all of those excuses to protect myself. Being a writer is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do; the only thing I ever believed I was any good at.

What if I fail? What if I realize that I’m not as good as I thought I was? Who will I be if I’m not that person? What do I do if this dream doesn’t come true?

I start to panic, feel the tears welling up in my eyes, the grip tightening around my heart. Maybe I should move the desk back downstairs; maybe I should wait and give it a try next year; maybe, maybe, maybe.

But instead of letting the doubts win, I decided to listen to the other voice in my head, the one that is slowly starting to speak louder, drowning out everything else.

“Stop thinking so much. They’re just words. Sit your butt down and start writing them.”

And maybe this time I will finally believe that it’s just that simple.

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I stumbled across a sign like this in a store yesterday.

I should have bought it.

Actually, I should have bought ten of them so I could put them throughout my house as a constant reminder.

It’s time to stop waiting for someone to tell me that now is the time; the time to do something; to do anything.

Time to realize that I need to stop waiting for someone else to answer the questions.  Time to start making my dreams come true all on my own.

If I was waiting for a sign, I guess I found it.

No more excuses.

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