Saturday, June 22, 2013

I write to be Myself

I never really thought of myself as an interesting person. Sure, I think interesting thoughts and like interesting things, but I'm not a person with a particularly dynamic life. I've lived most of my life in the same small town in Western Washington, never been out of the country (except for Mexico on a church trip when I was 15) and have only visited about 7 states, most of which don't even cross east of the Rockies. But here I am, a recent resident of New York with no job, no friends, and little to do except impatiently wait for my life to change.

I always loved writing. It was a way for me to get out all the things I wanted to say, but didn’t really know how to convey in so many spoken words. More often than not, I would find myself tongue tied and stammering, whenever I tried to speak my mind, or else, much worse, I would try desperately to talk myself out of a corner I had only moments ago talked myself into. However, writing allows me to be witty, charming or cutting without the added pressure of performance anxiety.  So here I am, a recent New York transplant who has nothing better to do besides writing down anything and everything that comes to mind.

I was born in Washington, lived there, went to college there, met my husband and got married there, and had my kids there. My entire family lives in Washington, as well as all of my husband’s family. So, leaving all of that heritage, memories, and support system behind was not really a choice; it was more like an anti-choice. My husband’s career path steered us ruthlessly toward New York. There, was the only place that his career could go, if not, it would just become stagnant and evanescent. There was no choice. Either I go, or I damn his dreams. That is not a choice, it is an undeniable force that mercilessly and unceremoniously dumps you onto a path, already moving forward. Your only choice is to stand up and meet the horizon head up and head on, or lie down and let the road drag you perpetually onward.

I’m not going to lie, there was, for a time, dark hours in which I was willing to lie there as the path I was on, dragged me along. With two small children and two rapidly growing Labrador puppies, plopped down in a two bedroom corporate apartment, with unfamiliar and starkly impersonal rented furniture, in strange city in which I knew no one, I was more than willing to be swallowed up by a sense of desertion, fear, and of being completely overwhelmed. I let it take me for a while; I succumbed to the bittersweet embrace of wallowing in my own self-pity and bemoaning my present fate. For a time it was soothing and comfortable to feel ill-used and at odds with the world. Then it began to grow heavy and gnawing, like the cloying scent of the air freshener that clings to its surrounding around the garbage chute in our building. It was time to shed the dark veil of mourning I had donned in lamentation of my current circumstances. I had to find an outlet for all the hours of non-conversation and idleness I had stored up. I had to find a purpose. Writing became my purpose. I now write just to express myself in complete sentences that are not hobbled by the limited vocabulary mothers use when conversing with small children all day. I write to fill my empty hours with something productive and of my own creation. I write to find purpose and conviction and freedom within myself. I write to be myself.

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