“The question isn’t who is going to let me; but who is going to stop me.” ~ Ayn Rand
Many of us women defer to the wants and needs of those who matter most to us, and so we learn to adopt roles that will accomplish those tasks. We grow up thinking this is what is expected of us and, therefore, what we should do.
The world sees us as wives, partners, mothers, daughters, sisters, employees and friends, but who is it that we see? What is our role and relationship to and with ourselves?
When we can’t answer those questions, we invent hollow excuses in a vain attempt to ignore the burning curiosity that exists in our bellies and prods us to explore and find our own paths.
To be at peace with the soul that inhabits our bodies we must make this journey by beginning it with some basic, but necessary steps.
It is never too late and you are never too old.
In the absence of those roles, coupled with the lack of personal definition and the loss of time, we make excuses to defend our existence and to hide the fact that we are actually paralyzed by fear.
Fear feels dreadful and in order for us to gain a sense of control, albeit false, and to keep us from having to take action, we craft and buy into our own lies. The stories we tell ourselves keep our feet planted in victimhood and erase any thought of self-responsibility that is paramount to beginning the process of filling the emptiness that now exists within us.
“It is too late to…”
“I am too old to…”
Ignore those lies, pay no heed to your age, stop staring in the mirror and erase the thought that you know everything. None of us will ever have more time than we do at this moment, nor will we ever be as young as we are right now. It’s time to put your dancing shoes on and step into your own life.
As a woman who has confronted her lies and is now in the late autumn of her life, I can tell you that I have arrived at a place—emotionally, physically and spiritually—that allows me to reflect upon my past, with all its cobwebs and glitter, and embrace the woman I have become.
It was not too late, and I was not too old, to finally grow up and make my own choices.
Don’t ask permission.
Find that faint burning curiosity that gnaws in your belly, let it prod you to explore and find your own, true rhythms, and never, never, never ask someone else for their permission for you to be happy.
Although we may have somewhat decided that change is necessary we probably also want someone to give us permission to make those changes. We want them to tell us that it is okay to leave all that is familiar behind us so that we can explore the unknown. We also want them to assure us that we will find our way and that no one will get hurt in the process.
No one can do this for any of us. It is time to give yourself permission to do things you have been longing to do your entire life; to live life with abandon, without worrying about what, or how good, the picture will look when completed.
Relinquish all interest in emulating other people’s lives, and for heaven’s sake, do not be concerned with their opinions of this ridiculous shift you are making with yours.
Listen to that quiet voice inside you that has been silenced for too long. Trust yourself and the universe that the answers live within, and know that, no matter what, you will be okay.
This is where the building process begins and where we are able to recognize that the ultimate obligation is to ourselves. We become enabled to make our own decisions about what we want to do with our lives.
It is, however, necessary to be willing to be uncomfortable in the process
Leave the comfort zone.
This is probably the most crucial and difficult, yet most necessary step of all. Here is where the tremendous pain of standing on the edge, with our hands bloodied from holding on to all that we know, exists.
We know what we have, and who we were, but are not yet quite ready to leap the chasm into the unknown to discover who we are and will be for the rest of our days.
Panic will try to convince us that we live in a wonderland that others would kill for. We tell ourselves that we are happy and should be grateful for all we have, but, sadly, we can find no sincerity in those statements. The internal darkness makes us feel like failures and ingrates, and causes us to wonder what is wrong with us and why we just can’t be content. Our friends, family, and even we, find us unrecognizable.
Our personal abyss, from which we cannot escape, offers us no hope, only profound desperation, in which each day is filled with the same unidentified sadness and unanswered questions.
This, however, is the perfect place to be! It serves as the jumping off point where we make friends with being uncomfortable and prepare to leave that we know for what we cannot even imagine.
The answers we seek cannot be found if we remain cloistered in the safety of the box, hidden from ourselves.
There will come a time when we no longer will want to feel as if we will implode under our own heaviness, nor drown in our own tears, and this is when we will become ready to embark upon our solo journeys by taking a leap of faith and surrendering to the Universe
This is an act that is born more out of desperation than courage, but I can tell you with great confidence that it is indeed possible to leave your comfort zone, get emotionally naked, and still survive.
You will also be rewarded greatly for having done so, but first, you must be willing to do some work.
Be willing to do the work.
We have all been programmed from the day we expelled our first cry, and perhaps even before that, to react to other people’s opinions, moods, feelings and actions.
Our family of origin circumstances, values, morals and prejudices provide the foundation upon which we learned to live our lives. It is no wonder that we were confused about who we were and what would make us happy because so many of these beliefs and behaviors were inherited, rather than created by us, and they have now begun to feel fraudulent and faulty.
In order to develop a sense of self and break free from the state of unbridled anxiety that we have been trapped in we must go back to where we came from and visit our past, with all its warts and bumps in order to find out how we got to this place. We need to look our childhood square in the face and see it for what it was and how it affects us in the present.
This work can be difficult because we want to believe in the sanctity of the fairy tale family and to think, do or say otherwise feels selfish and traitorous. Just know that to abandon our true selves is the ultimate state of betrayal. We must all find our own ways.
I, having been raised in a home that was akin to a roller coaster ride inside the walls of an asylum, know that we can overcome how we feel and act. Confidently, I say to you that this trip through the past will not break you, but rather it will show you who you are not so that you can find out who you are and create your own fairy tale
Create who you want to be.
It is not lightly that I use the word ‘create’ because that is precisely what must be done to fill in hole left by rejecting what was not ours to begin with. This is not a concept that is easily accepted by those of us who have not yet evolved and may still be reeling from the process of discarding our age-old ways.
Here is where deliberate choices must be made so that we can proceed in our own personal evolutionary processes. In this place, we get to pick and choose what and who we want to be for the remainder of our years. It can be neat or messy, but we are in charge of the creations.
Although it seems simplistically complex, it was a bit of both, and yet, a bit of neither. It is all about shutting off your brain and getting your feet to maintain movement in the forward direction.
We have done all the necessary preparation for this stage. The slate is clean and we are free to decide what to draw on it. Finally, we allow ourselves to openly and gloriously color outside the lines.
Do things that will shake your spirit awake. Go to college, get a new job, move often, climb trees, have affairs, break hearts, get your heart broken, decorate your home with polka dots and scarves, serve tea in china cups, skin your knees, color your hair, get a tattoo and make friends with the person you are.
Caution…do not spend too much time unearthing potential problems or consequences of those choices. Rumination can waylay our progression, and trap us in an identity-less void. Some things may work for us, others may need a bit of tweaking and, yet, there will be some that do not work at all.
Don’t be discouraged, or abandon you self-journey. Mistakes are part of the process and evidence that we are actively participating in life.
Enjoy the ride.
Never let your life even out too much, or allow motion to cease completely. Just change speeds to accommodate periods of rest between episodes. Amass a plethora of experiences that are exciting and devilish. Make your life as genuine, authentic and of your own design as possible. Dare to, not only think about the unthinkable, but to actually do it.
People will either make you their idol or think you too weird, but without question, life will go on, the world will continue to rotate on its axis and you will find happiness.
Get out of the box, create your own design and color outside the lines, my sisters.