When I Found Me, I Found My Muse.

“What?”  His eyebrows shot up as he leaned toward me just a little.  “Twenty years?”

He blinked once.  Then twice.

My jaw went slack, realizing what I had just revealed.

Then he sat back hard in his chair, shaking his head.  “You need to be kissed.  You need to be kissed.”

I noticed he wasn’t offering his services to remedy the situation.  He merely stared, digesting my confession.

 

Two decades is a long time to go without being kissed.  I mean, really kissed.  I was embarrassed, wondering if I was even capable of kissing that way again.  I swiped at a tear that started to form, hoping he didn’t notice.

So this was it.  This is what I had become.  A closed-off, passionless excuse of a woman.  How could I have let it get to this point?  For that matter, at exactly what point did it get to this point?  Did my softer edges sharpen during those first years of raising my children when laundry, cleaning, and cooking, had to fit somewhere between the hours of my day job?  Maybe it was during the years after that when I took on the additional roles of taxi driver, gardener, and all around super mom.

Sexy lingerie was shoved aside to make room for baggy t-shirts and sweat pants.  Practical shoes took the place of fun, strappy sandals.  No one knew how long my hair really was since it spent most days tucked up underneath a baseball cap, mainly to hide the fact that I hadn’t had a chance to touch up the roots.

Somewhere between the “I do” and the “I don’t want to do this anymore,” I had lost myself.  I lost the ability to tilt my face to the sun and soak in all of its goodness.  I lost my creativity and the ability to laugh.  Not that I didn’t have the opportunities – I just didn’t have the energy for it.

Worst of all, I had forgotten to write, something I had done since I was a little girl.  My dream journal was buried under stacks of paper and magazines, never experiencing the touch of a pen to its pages – because I had forgotten to dream.

And like anything in this world, if it is neglected, it will die.

And die I did.  A thousand times.

On the outside I was Wonder Woman and Martha Stewart rolled into one.  I wanted to be that person.  I wanted to be the perfect wife and mother.  I tried.  I tried really hard.  Books on how to knit and sew and quilt and make candles for Christmas lined the shelves.  Cookbooks for pasta, vegetables, barbecuing, and even sushi were lined up neatly in the kitchen.  Playing at the park or going to the beach were regular activities.

I deceived them, all of them.  “How do you do it?” I was often asked.  I would just shrug and smile.  If I were to answer them, I would have said, “Miserably.” But I never said a word.

I may have fooled them, but I didn’t fool me.  I knew that by not being who I really was, by not being filled with my own joy, I had nothing to offer.  I might as well have been a bot.

When I finally hit the tipping point, I prioritized.  I wanted me back.  I threw out the how-to books, the knitting needles, and found a nice home for the upright piano that mocked me every time I would pass it.

And then I looked for me.  I wasn’t hard to find, for as I was looking in, the woman I searched for was looking out, and when we met after so many years, it was magic.

After that, I wrote.  And I wrote.  And I tipped my face towards the sun and soaked up all the goodness that its warmth offered.

And still…I write…I have found my muse.

How about you?  Is it easy for you to lose yourself to others?  Is it difficult to put your needs first?  How do you find that balance in your life?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on July 19, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Wow. Thank you for being so real with us and saying what most people could never admit. You are an amazing writer and brought tears to my eyes.

    Yes, for so long I was like a pink poodle in the circus jumping through hoops of fire and wearing a ridiculous tutu. Did you know that poodles are dignified creatures who are exceptionally smart?

    I found the balance, but it wasn’t easy. I don’t think my way is for the light hearted, but it worked for me. I walked away from every single negative influence in my life and those who would only accept me as a ridiculous circus poodle. I never looked back. My life is lighter and more simplified now. Of course I do not have children, so it made things easier to walk away from it all. I learned to be strong at the core of my being and built from that, little by little. Some might call it a mid life crisis, but I like to call it an awakening. Strip down to the raw and start over. Only take on things that will benefit your soul and spirit.

  2. Wow. What an interesting post. Makes me feel better about the time/energy I devote to writing. Because of some health problems, I have to make choices about everything I do. Writing is important to me.I feel guilty sometimes, but without writing I’d be cranky and depressed. Hmm, maybe that’s why my hubby encourages the writing. LOL

    Well done!

  3. Finding ourselves, honoring our dreams, staying true to our passions; not always easy especially with the day-to-day responsibilities of life that can overwhelm. For me, it’s about practice and always getting back on the horse. I find keeping a list of “my” priorities nearby handy. I try to stop when life gets busy and ask myself “is this what I really want to be doing?” And a biggee for me, saying “no” when I realize it’s not something I want to do…that’s a tough one for me…but I’m always rewarded when I do because staying true to me always feels good! And on days/weeks when I struggle, I try not to beat myself up…I’m always learning. Putting ourselves first is a work in progress.
    Thanks for the wonderful post! It filled me with tears, courage and inspiration to stay true to me!

  4. Beautiful post about a challenging position so many of us find ourselves facing. Expectations (our own and those we accept from others) are hard to meet day after day. I completely related to your realization that time for change had come. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow. Brave post.
    So beautifully written.
    There was a moment while I was reading it, when I thought. “that’s me.” Or more specifically, that WAS me.
    The year my twins were born I wanted so badly to prove to everyone that I COULD do it. I wouldn’t ask for help. I cooked elaborate meals for my husband and myself, I remember putting on a Martha Stewart Christmas. Alone. Because I felt I needed to.
    But I’d also lost myself.
    The twins were only about a year old when I found myself and returned to writing.
    Excellent post. Thank you for sharing. You may have inspired me to bare it all. 🙂
    thanks

  6. OMG, OMG, Diana, I have tears in my eyes. It’s so….. me in this post. Sigh. Well, maybe not the kissing part, but EVERYTHING else. You’re brilliant. And judging from all the comments, so many of us go through this in life: giving so much, stretching ourselves so thin and expecting so little in return. Us – women.
    Hugs.
    Angela

  7. Great post! I too lost myself and my writing for a period of time, in part due to listening to the expectations of others. Finding self is a difficult thing, but so worth it.

  8. Wonderful post! 🙂 There was a brief time in grad school where I decided to put everything else in my life on hold in order to focus solely on school. That semester was hell. I was miserable, and I realized it was because I was suffocating a very important part of me: my muse. That next semester I promised to nourish my creative side with the same level of priority I gave my studies. My classmates thought I was crazy to write a book during this program (commonly considered a “black hole” by other students), but I was happier and healthier. The semester I ignored my muse, it was like you said, part of me died. I will never do that to myself again. 🙂

  9. Thank you for being so vulnerable, for expressing what so many of us experience or feel, but are not brave enough to confess! Children, mortgages, double jobs, these things are all new to me, and I’m struggling to find a balance, always seeming to tip too far in one direction or the other. Tip too far in the writing direction, and I am overwhelmed with guilt. Too far in the other direction, and I am overwhelmed, like you, with a loss of self. I haven’t learned how to find that balance yet but I’m certainly encouraged by your words, and the comments on this post.

  10. Oh Diana – I feel this to the core! Probably the only thing saving me from losing myself completely is pure, unadulterated determination. Sometimes it is so much easier to give than it is to refuse to give. But then I married later in life (32) and had my daughter later than average too (27) so maybe that helps. I had a little longer to be selfish and enjoy it! LOL

    Perfect example – my husband and I are headed for our 1 year anniversary. For some strange reason, ever since we got married I’ve become the maid. I wasn’t the maid before we got married – everyone did their fair share and had to help.

    Now, however, dishes are ignored unless I do them (and I won’t because that’s his chore although I do help on occasion. I’m sure you can imagine). Laundry sits piled on a chair in the living room until it’s put away or worn (whichever comes first – often the latter). I refuse – stubbornly, absolutely – to budge. I’ve drawn a line in the sand and I’m not backing down. Which is probably the only thing that gives me enough time to be me after Mom’s taxi service, business owner and Mom duties are done. And as of January this year, Mom’s taxi service includes driving my husband to work after he totaled his car on the way to work. We can’t afford to replace it and the insurance companies are locked in arbitration. There are brief moments when I wonder what I was thinking… lol

    • I’m so with you on everything. The maid thing gets me the most. And the cook thing. Here’s a good story. A few years before my divorce, my husband had called asking what was for dinner. I told him and he whined a little, as usual. He came home 30 minutes later and when I gave him his dinner (watching TV, of course *eye roll*) he said, “I already ate.” I’m like, seriously? I’d reached my limit with the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, the everything. I just wrapped his dinner up and from that day on, I have never cooked for the family again. I was so done. I’m not sure where it goes sideways and the thought process changes and we become an object rather than a woman with dreams of her own. I still scratch my head when my sons treat me like an means to an end. Not good feeling. Now that I’m on my own, I talk to other single women my age, and the general consensus is that we want a hang-out partner. We don’t want a live-in partner. We want our space, but not a relationship. We are happier on our own. The men become needy or more juvenile, especially when they get sick. Oy. That’s an entirely different blog…

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