There was a time that I could tell you exactly who I was. I knew what I wanted, I knew what I liked. I wasn’t afraid to go for it, even if it alienated people in the process. Somewhere along the line, I lost myself. Not in the big, life threatening sort of way. No, this was a smaller, shadier way.
I lost myself to what I thought my marriage was supposed to look like.
Romantic candlelit dinners. Flowers delivered in as varied a method as the blooms within. No fights, no disappointing each other, just everything perfect all the time. That was the ideal. I lost myself in it, when it came crashing down around me. We don’t really do candlelit anything. And B just isn’t a bring home flowers kind of guy. It’s okay though, because he totally is a buy her jewelry just because kind of guy. His version of romantic isn’t even close to textbook. But neither is mine. And if we’re happy with cuddling on the couch while setting bad guys on fire with guns on video games? Well then that’s what makes us tick. We may not be perfect, but we sure are perfect for each other.
I lost myself to who I thought I should be in my career.
When I was 16 I wanted a baby so bad that I physically hurt for one. My Mama wisely sent me out to baby sit and be a mother’s helper so that I could see that baby’s were a lot of work. She had no reason to worry, I was more pragmatic than romantic. I knew a baby was a lot of work and I wanted someone smart to help me with the responsibility. After grad school and as I settled in to teaching, I had found my stride career wise. I was happy, I was fulfilled, I was enjoying the difference I made. I carried that over into our time in Germany. I made a little difference in each child’s life as I helped them find a love for music. Somehow, when we moved here, I came to believe that that wasn’t enough. We were supposed to be DINKs. I needed to get a job that paid a decent wage so that we could have all this money saved up. And I lost myself to trying to be that person. The truth though? I have no desire to climb any form of a corporate ladder. I love teaching children to play the piano. It brings me joy to discover what works best with each of them and to help them find in themselves that person who loves music. Maybe I don’t bring home as much money now, but I smile more, laugh more, and the inertia of depression is slowly, but steadily lifting.
I lost myself to who I thought I should be as a wife.
The visions in my head are strong. The wife and mother who keeps a sparkling house, balances all her children’s needs, while cooking gourmet dinners. The only problem? I’m not even sure where it came from. While our house growing up was clean, it wasn’t sparkling all the time. And meals could be simple too. But, you see, it’s always the job of the wife to cook, clean, do laundry. Always. But that’s just not me. I’ll do it. Especially now that we have people over every day for my teaching. And I don’t mind cooking I just don’t like feeling like I have to cook. As a grad student and young post grad worker, I lived a very fast paced, on the go life. I taught 12+ hours a day between my two jobs. One of them fed me a delicious, balanced, and nutritious lunch every weekday. The other caused me to grab fast food on my way home at 8pm more than I would like to admit. But it worked for me. Now I find myself struggling with eating at home. It just gets so boring. I have to let go of my own imaginings of who I was supposed to magically become when I got married. I will always be the spouse who’d just as soon go out as cook. But I’ll also be the wife who will make cookies and cakes to send to work or throw a big dinner party just because. I have my strengths as well as my weaknesses. So sure, laundry may sit in the baskets instead of being put away in drawers, but it’s worth it to squeeze in that extra few minutes of video games with B before he leaves for work.
I let the perfect become the enemy of the good.
I love that quote. “Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” It’s from Voltaire and it speaks volumes for what I’ve struggled with recently. Instead of finding the good and being happy and content, I’ve held up the perfect and lamented not measuring up.
My life is good. I am happy. My husband is happy. We may not fit cookie-cutter roles, but I think we have more fun that way anyway. So this way I shall stay. Me, quirkily, uniquely, perfectly, me.