I was the girl who would yell at the television while cheering on my favorite football teams.
I was the girl who would break into song just because I felt like it.
I was the girl with huge dreams of travelling the world.
I was the girl who bought beautiful old glassware to plan for the holiday parties and get-togethers I’d host.
I was the girl who dreamt of a happy family with vacations where we’d bicycle through towns by a shoreline.
I was the girl who believed in hard work and dedication to making family a safe haven where love and calm acceptance were the norm.
Somehow, I let that girl fade away and I became a hardened, cynical woman who was so determined to keep the unpleasant aspects of me hidden that I’ve developed an anxiety disorder. I was so determined to have at least the image of having it all that I lost my vision, my dreams, myself. I believed that I needed to hold everything together; to maintain my grip on all that I touched so that things wouldn’t fall apart.
Everything fell apart anyway. I became someone I barely recognized. I was terribly unhappy and working incredibly hard to maintain a façade. A façade that I cling to in order to keep myself from drowning in my own sea of broken dreams. I had decided that if I can’t have what I want, that I’ll make the best of what I have as wave of disappointment after wave of disappointment crashed over my head.
I stopped setting goals because every goal I aimed for, I allowed to be missed for one reason or another. I can easily blame the people around me, but it was me. I let myself down because I compromised who I am. I wanted a family and a beautiful house, but at what cost?
When I suffered daily physical ailments and realized that I was behaving more like a wayward teen than a 40+ woman, I allowed myself to realize that the cost of my façade had become too high.
And I broke out of the cage I had put myself in to begin the journey to reclaim my voice.
Month after month, I took steps to find that girl I once was. The one with love in her heart, a song in her throat and happiness in her future.
I have missed her.
While I still struggle – often – I see her more and more often. She shows up in an expected smile finding humor when the kids are arguing. She glows when I look at a project I’ve completed. She jumps for joy when I accomplish something I didn’t think I could do. Her eyes sparkle when I dream. She is so proud when I set goals and achieve them. And she sings along with me in the car even when my voice is hoarse and offkey.
I dream of the day when she and I are again one, smiling and laughing together as we share the wisdom I’ve gained with the innocence she offers.