Saturday, September 14, 2013

That Girl, This Girl

Before I start with a long purging session of thoughts, I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for your very kind comments on my last post and all of the very sweet emails. It was a long and lonely week here without my dog, and I have gone back and re read all of your comments several times, they were most comforting! Thanks to all of you for your sympathy, I know too many of you have had the same experience. It has been a week of introspection and quiet thinking and melancholia, that's for sure.

I have been browsing through my hard drive looking at old photos of Tyler and Wesley and finding photos of me and of Gerry that I had forgotten about. This first photo was taken at Randolph Community College in Asheboro where I first met Gerry. I was modeling for one of the photography students. The one perk to modeling for them was that they gave me nice prints. In this photo,  I am the same age as my daughter is right now. Wow, 20 years old, where does the time go?!
I looked at this photo this morning and wondered,  where is that person? Where did she go?

Look at that skinny girl! That girl knew who she was and what she wanted. I was there to get a design degree and get out as soon as I could and find a job in the furniture industry. That was the only thing on my mind. That and a cute boy I saw walking through campus :)
The furniture industry is long gone, design work gone, skinny girl that knew what she wanted....gone. The boy is still around!

I would like to find that girl again. She washed her hair, bought cute clothes, ate everything in sight without gaining an ounce, worked her ass off, traveled. She was defiant and self confident, and she knew exactly who she was. Somewhere along the way, she got lost.......

me and Gerry on our 24th anniversary

That girl got married, became a mom, left the furniture industry, got obsessed with clay, gained 40 pounds, and became this girl. A very happy girl, but different. All of it has been wonderful (except the weight gain) and has enriched my life greatly, but I feel like I lost touch with who I used to be. Life changes us, makes us better, or stronger, or in some cases weaker, or smarter. My journey has been rewarding and fun and interesting, but I feel like I am looking for myself all over again. Is this something people go through after turning 50 I wonder? I turn 53 next week, time to start the second half of my life I suppose. This girl needs to figure out who the hell she is.....

I had lunch with my very wise friend Meredith last week and I told her I feel like I have been wandering around aimlessly this past year, like I am lost or something. Its not a bad feeling and I don't mind it, but I feel like something needs to happen. Her comment to me was that perhaps I'm not lost but I am finding myself. Hmmmm.......... maybe so.......

Losing Tyler this week has been the last episode in my empty nest experience. It feels like maybe it's ME time again. Time to figure out what I really want. Gerry has been smart and stayed the course with a strong and successful career. I have followed him on that journey, raised Wesley to be the best person she could grow to be and fed and walked the dog. I learned how to make pretty objects out of clay.
 I learned to weave. But recently I have gone back to what I first truly loved, styling sets. I am good at it, I love doing it. I'm so bored with clay right now, and can't really afford the yarn I want to weave with. But I stood on the stage at the Artscenter the other night, and that smell, those purple gels on the lights, the curtains, the props, the actors, the script.......

food for my soul, man! If only I could fall in love with a craft that I could actually make a living with! Nothing I love to do pays worth a damn.

The first big step on my apparent new journey has been reclaiming my body. Friday was weigh in at WW. Since July 5, I have now officially lost 10 1/2 pounds!!!! Whoop!!!!  We went hiking at Pilot Mountain on Monday and for the first time in several years, I didn't feel like my heart was going to explode and my legs weren't shaking weakly on the downhill and I felt strong for the first time in a very long while. It felt amazing to see how much progress I have made in just two months. I have been working my ass off and the payoff was sweeeet. Last fall, we went to Pilot Mt. and I didn't even walk down to the lower trail, because I knew how difficult the climb out would be. I didn't think I could make it. I have climbed this rock and yet I had reached a point where I couldn't feel confident just walking on the damn trail!

I still have ten pounds to go, but I have no worries, it's been easy on this program and I feel a glimmer of that girl in the first photo coming back. Maybe that's why I found that photo this morning........

maybe she's back!


cookingwithgas said...

She was always there, waiting for you to be with her again.
The same, but different.
We are who we are.
You have been going through major shifts and changes.
I am happy as all get out to see and hear you find your footing.
Life carries on.
The fun is going with it.
The rest is still to come.
Look forward and keep on.

cookingwithgas said...

Oh, plus we have more lunches in US!
To be continued...

Tracey Broome said...

Talk about shifts and changes! Boy have you had your fair share! Yes, lunch, just let me know when!, or I'll let you know, haha!

littlemancat said...

Very thoughtful and thought provoking post - and love the photos of then and now. It's all good...
I do know how you feel about re-connecting with your original passions, and the way you once were.
It's a nostalgic feeling, seeing your young self in those old pics.
The thing is, that person is still there, altered and polished - fired in the kiln, if you will.
I do some writing - haibun,haiku,tanka mostly. and have found writing about some of those past times a meaningful process. Evolving all the time.
Best to you in finding the way, I know you will,

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks Mary, good way to look at our younger selves, I like thinking I'm "polished" now!
Writing does help so much, that's mostly why I have this blog, just put it out there and then move on, great therapy :-)

Dennis Allen said...

Best of luck sorting it all out.Remember it is all journey not destination.

Tracey Broome said...

Absolutely, and good thing, I have absolutely no destination in mind, haha!

Laura Smith said...

It is so cool to hear you say this, because I felt the exact same way not that long ago.

What I remembered about myself at 20 was how full of confidence I was, and how everyday was a new adventure, and how I didn't think about the future very much at all.

I never had a jealous or envious bone in my body about anyone or anything, including my bf at the time, who is still my husband today. There was something about being so young, and having the whole world ahead of you, people to meet, places to go. I felt so free.

Maybe it is our age, or our empty nests? I have a 20 year old girl, and a 22 year old boy. I turn 52 next month.

I've been feeling really happy lately, happier than I've been in many years. I've been spending a lot of time reading, studying things I'm interested in on my own, being a more present friend to my friends and my husband and myself. I don't know, really working on myself and being a better human.

Sometimes I get that career envy thing - when I speak to my dear old friends who never gave their careers up. But then I see how much happier I am than they are, and that goes away. I've actually taken time to work on my Happy. It's not something that is dependent on anything external like a job, or money or even my kids. It's all from within - so it's me. I've got that, which is cool.

I just lost a bff last Sunday who was only 43 and after the initial shock I realized, yeah, I am so really going to miss seeing her face stop by my house, but you know what? She is in me. I am the me that I am, because she was my friend. So she is always in me. I just have to recognize her in a different way. It's sad and hard but I can already feel it.

And that's what I figured out- that 20-me - is in me - and in my girl and in my boy, and my husband, too.
Remembering her, just sort of reminded me of more of the simple goodness and easy happiness that came so easily at that young age. And now I feel it more at this age, too. I just have less energy, but even that seems to be on the rise.

I don't know, I guess, the thing that has changed the most for me in the past two years, is how easily I shift to Happy. Happy is just always right there for me these days, and I'm so grateful for that, because I see how happy it makes my husband, and even at a distance, my kids. We're all connected - and my Happy makes them happy.

I still sometimes struggle with "am I doing enough", "am I meeting up to my potential", "am I contributing enough" - but it's not something I worry about for very long, something always seems to come up.

It's nice to know that others are thinking this way, I imagine women have been feeling this way for 100's of years - if they lived that long. But it's so cool to hear it.

Let me just say it this way - how you're feeling? Ditto.

Vicki said...

Beautiful. Inside and out.

Lori Buff said...

Dennis is right with his comment about it being the journey, not the destination that matters. I say this whenever I go on a bike ride and people ask "where did you go?" I went home. My final destination is my home, me. The journey is just how we do things while we are getting back there.

Tracey Broome said...

Laura, I was sure when I wrote this yesterday that there were a bunch of us out there feeling the same way. Thanks for taking the time to write this comment, I will read it many more times! All the best to you!

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks Vicki, same goes for you :-)
Hey Lori, the journey is the best part isn't it? I hardly ever have a destination haha!

Michèle Hastings said...

I started reconnecting with myself after Danielle was done with college. I think i felt that the most important part of my job as her mother was done and I could focus on myself without feeling guilty.
It is a journey, not always an easy one.

Tracey Broome said...

Michele, I'm sure that's what I am going through. Wesley seems like she finally has grown up enough that I feel like I have done what I can, now it's up to her. Now I have to figure out what I'm up to!

DirtKicker Pottery said...

Something about the 50's has me reflecting a lot on who I used to be too. Life leaves us no choice but to continually re-invent ourselves. We are ever changing and some times it happens so fast it catches me by surprise when I look into the mirror. Being a woman and growing older with grace is challenging for me. Some days I'm cool with it and other days I'm terrified.

Dennis Allen said...

Tracey, I think June left you a comment on my blog. Unintended stuff happens to all of us sometimes.

Tracey Broome said...

Reinventing can be exciting, can't it?!
Thanks Dennis!

Kathy Catlin said...

In my mind's eye I am still 25...and then I catch a glimpse of the skin on my arm- or have to look closely in a mirror for an eyelash and I see 53. I think WHAT??!! When did that happen! Like my body has no right to age or something ~

But at the same time I am finding a peace inside myself, unlike the urgency I felt as a 25 year old. Some confidence after all these years.

I like that we can keep changing and growing for the whole life span, a constant work in progress. I am excited to see where it all leads and what adventures await me...and you!

Susan Wells said...

So many changes and so many sames! That's a new word: sames. You the sames even if the spell check wants to call you dames! The sames with added wisdom! Yay!