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!