Happy Birthday to Me.

It’s my birthday!

I just spent a little while going back over my vision for the past year. You can see my notes on how it went here.

When I think about this year, it boggles the mind how different things are now. I’m sitting in the living room of my house (MY HOUSE!), typing on my new (to me) computer, and thinking about going to bed early so I can be rested for work (yes, you read that right) tomorrow (I’ll tell you about that soon).

This year I made more than a dozen dance videos, taught DansKinetics, led 3 Dancing Telecircles (I promise I haven’t forgotten about them), tried my hand at movement coaching and LOVED it, and recorded a moving meditation. I edited a book (!!), I had a paying gig as a proofreader, I moved into a house, sent our son to preschool, and got a full-time (albeit temporary) job that I love. I went to barefoot ecstatic dance and a yoga class, made a kickass pecan pie, chopped my own hair off, and finally switched to an iPhone (it was my birthday present this year).

It’s been a hell of a year in the best way possible. Lots and lots of change, but in a really good way.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next year. My job’s due to last for another couple of months, and I’d like to rock the shit out of it. I’d like to do some dancing before 2013 rolls around. I’d like to do more telecircles, make more videos, try some more movement coaching, and blog more than once a month. I’d like to crochet myself a couple of scarves, paint our bathroom, and unpack the last of our boxes. I’d like to learn something totally new.

I’d like to take better care of my body, earn more money doing things I love, make beautiful things, read interesting books, and play with my son more. I want to kiss my husband more, collect my dad’s stories, make it through this winter without wanting to hibernate until spring, get a clothesline, and plant a garden.

And I want to look back on 32 as an amazing year that was full of change in the best possible way, and that brought me closer to myself, my family, and my dreams.

Happy birthday to me.

A whirlwind of change…

Last week my life changed.

I don’t mean that in an “I’ve had a crazy awesome epiphany way” (for once). I mean it literally. Last week my life as I’ve known it for the past 4 years…changed.

I went back to work.

People who don’t know me personally probably need some backstory here: For the past few years, my husband has been working at a computer game company (he’s an insanely talented artist..do a Google image search for “Matthew Goodmanson art” sometime and see what I mean). But at the end of March he left his regular office job to work from home on a contract basis.

He needed a break from work, and I (I hate to admit this) needed a break from full-time Mama-ing, so we agreed that he would stay home with Xander and I would go back to working temp assignments like I did when I was pregnant.

I started my first assignment on Wednesday. And it was FAR more difficult than I’d expected.

The work itself wasn’t much more difficult than I had expected (although I had to learn a TON that first day). It’s the emotional strain I hadn’t considered. You don’t even want to know how much I cried that first day. I cried when Matthew and Xander dropped me off, I broke down sobbing on my cell phone at lunch, I cried after work, and I cried before bed. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I actually cried a little bit during work as well.

I wasn’t just crying because I missed my kid (I did) or that the work was intimidating (it was). In hindsight, I think I was crying because I didn’t know how to process what was happening. It was the biggest change I’d been through since I became a mama—which, incidentally, made me cry in exactly the same way for a number of weeks. It felt huge and scary, and I didn’t know how to handle it.

Things got better. No more crying after that first day. But the tears have been replaced with…I don’t know…malaise. Something’s shifted since the last time I did this. I can’t really explain it in any way other than saying that I feel exactly the way your feet feel when you’ve been wearing sneakers and flats for years and then try to go out in heels. I’m trying to be a person I’m not, wearing a costume (because what is “business attire” if not a costume?) so I can fit in. I feel wobbly and uncomfortable and all wrong. I feel like I’m from another planet or something. I don’t like the way this feels AT ALL.

I don’t remember feeling this way before. And I can’t tell if this is growing pains or something more permanent. I think that I assumed that when I went back to work, things would go back to the way they were when I was pregnant and temping, that I would settle into the rhythm and be 100% OK with everything. And maybe I will…I’m only 3 days in, after all, and I’ve been at home for almost 4 years…it just doesn’t feel like it’ll be OK from here. And I don’t know if I want it to be…

I’m in SUCH a weird space right now…off-balance, adjusting, while simultaneously feeling like I don’t WANT to adjust. I’m trying to remember that I’m not in this forever, that things will sort themselves out, that I can still be ME and work toward my dreams even when I’m working an office job (lots of people do it, right?!).

There are some good things. I’m finding that my priorities are clarifying in the face of this change. I’m learning that when I’m at home, I need to do my Right Work with super-intense focus and efficiency, or it doesn’t get done at all. This would be why you barely heard from me last week (it’s a learning process) but I assume that (eventually) learning to do my work efficiently and intensely will be a good thing in the end. And I’m cherishing every minute with Xander, even when I end up being the puke-catcher and cleaner-upper all weekend (he caught a tummy bug…blech).

I’m struggling to regain my balance in the middle of a whirlwind of change.  I don’t have a solution or a Grand Plan or anything really conclusive yet. But I can tell you this: here and now I make a commitment—

~to hang on to my dreams with both hands

~to make use of every moment I have

~to work with laser intensity and rest/play with equal intensity when I’m done

~to dance as much as I can

~to keep an eye open for opportunities

~to remember that this change will help me get where I need to go, even if it’s just by shaking things up and reminding me of what’s important.

And what’s most important to me is this:

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOYxQ0znZN4)

Breaking the Silence

Words words words.

My head is stuffed full of words unspoken and words unwritten. I am stifled, smothered, crushed by the weight of unspoken thoughts and untold stories. I am self-censored to the point of utter silence, mired in the shame that comes when you feel that your thoughts and feelings are not worthy of expression.

When you look at me, you might think I look a little sad, a little tired, a little stressed. But I am drowning, lost in a sea of words and stories and emotions, and unable to find my way out.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for days. I kept writing “blog post” on my to-do list and then…checking Facebook, opening tabs for other people’s blogs, obsessively collecting information about the thoughts and feelings of others instead of being in my own head and heart and processing their contents. As if salvation was possible only outside myself, as if other people’s breakthroughs could take the place of my own.

The only expression that has managed to break through the chaos is dancing…brief moments of release and escape from the crowded prison of my brain.

 

Big changes are coming for my family. Big changes for me, the stay-at-home mama. Changes which mean stepping out of my safe little bubble, smashing through my comfort zone, and doing the things I’ve said for ages that I wanted to do…but didn’t make time or space for because I was too afraid. It’s already starting. And I haven’t said one word on this blog or anywhere else on the Internet.

I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. Didn’t want to upset anyone or take the risk and fail. Thought that if I kept quiet and didn’t tell anyone, maybe the Big Scary Changes would wander off and bother someone else.

And that makes me shake my head in disgust, because the second-to-last real post I wrote was about my epiphany: how I didn’t want to live in fear anymore, wanted to live out loud and be 100% me 100% of the time.

“Now look at you,” my inner critic cackles, “Stuck in the mud, quiet and cowed like you always will be.” The untold stories threaten to bury me, to cover my head and suck me down into a life of silence and shame once again.

But, eventually, I stop them. I close down Facebook and all the other browser tabs full of other people’s stories. I open my word processing program. I begin to type this out. And the pressure inside my head and heart begins to ease. I start to feel more like myself again. Like maybe my stories are as worth telling as anyone else’s. Like maybe it would be OK if I just wrote what I was feeling. Like maybe this is only the beginning.

I know me. I know that in a week, or even a day, this collection of sentences won’t remotely resemble what I’m feeling, just as it bears no resemblance to how I was feeling 2 weeks ago. I’m an air sign, as changeable as the breeze. But this is my story right now…and I will tell it. Keeping silent hurts too much.

The words flow out of my head and onto the screen, and I breathe a little deeper, sit a little more solidly in my body, make plans to dance again tomorrow. I remember why I started blogging in the first place, remember the relief of letting my stories out into the Universe. I start to think of new stories to tell, now that the dam is broken.

There are always stories to tell.