Just a few short months ago, when I first started blogging, I was in a rather rebellious stage of self-discovery. Suddenly I found my life absent of its familiar abusers, and I was trying to figure out who I was without them dictating it to me.
I let my natural curls go wild instead of blow drying them straight every day. I refused to wear any of the flannel they had convinced me I loved. I quit riding my bike and gained fifteen pounds. I stayed up until the middle of the night and then tried to sleep later in the morning, instead of getting up before dawn. I let things go that normally would have been alphabetized, labeled, and put away.
My patterns, my habits, and my tastes all became subject to experimentation. I didn’t want to be me. Not the me that I thought was only a by product of their manipulation and coercion.
I longed to move into town and felt penned in, imprisoned, here on this mountain, and I idealized city living. I hated the dirt, the trees, the bugs. I hated being so far away from everything.
But, this past week I’ve realized that I was throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Some of that other stuff was me. The real me. The me God intended me to be.
I LOVE Pinterest. I mean, I think I’m addicted. Like, I have a real problem. I can waste hours on it. My 4 year old daughter and I thoroughly enjoy sitting in front of the computer, looking at the pretty pictures, and dreaming of our someday home or the lavish garden we’ll one day grow. She’ll excitedly say, “Pintest that, Mama! Pintest that!”
I’ve really let myself go since R left. He was always so critical of my appearance that I suppose it was a combination of apathy and rebellion. I could eat ice cream for dinner, and no one was going to tell me I couldn’t. He’d forbidden me to have dairy because he felt that I have too much of a problem with cellulite, and he argued that dairy makes that condition worse. So, I loaded up on cheeses of all varieties and ice cream and yogurt. He forced me to work out beyond my capabilities, including immediately following birth, to the point I tore ligaments, damaged my knee, and ended up with a small hernia. So now I refused work out at all. :p
I’ve rarely worn make up and either pulled my unruly hair back in a pony tail or, if I wanted to get fancy, I would gently pull some strands back and clip them at the back of my head, allowing the rest to fall freely.
However, I recently saw some pictures on Pinterest that made me long to fix up. I actually felt a stirring, a desire, to put a little effort into my appearance. So, I texted my dear friend and then Facebooked her the pictures. (She can’t figure out how to create a Pinterest account, and I couldn’t figure out how to text the pictures to her like she’d asked. What a pair we are!) She can work magic with a bowl of chemicals and a pair of scissors though, and I knew she’d be up for the challenge. She’s wanted to cut this mess for quite some time, but I had adamantly refused.
I absolutely love it. It feels good to not have all that hair hanging in my face. My hair is lighter and brighter, and I feel lighter and brighter.
Many of my Pinterest boards also have something to do with decorating or gardening. I have decided I do genuinely love the outdoors. That wasn’t just something that my family convinced me I enjoyed. Sure, it was expected. It was assumed I’d wear flannel and love nothing more than sitting around a bon fire with a cheap beer, fascinated by the tall tales of the redneck men who thought they could out shoot each other.
Honestly, I do like sitting by a bon fire. I don’t like the redneck guys and their lies. I don’t like their misogynistic talk. I don’t like beer at all. But, I like the fire.
So, I came up with my own version.
And, I love it as much as I love my new hair. I made it from my broken washing machine. I sit there with a cup of coffee, doing my Bible study, listening to the wind blow through the trees.
I don’t really mind the dirt. I think I do love the mountain. My children can run and play outside with no worry of traffic. There’s nothing like how the sun peaks through the trees in the early morning, casting bright streaks across the hillside. It’s really pretty now that R’s stuff isn’t there to disrupt the view.
There was a darkness that my abusers’ illusions cast over my life. But, I shadowed my own life with another kind of darkness. In running from who they told me I was, I ran from myself, too.
I was trying too hard to be somebody else. Anybody else. Somebody who didn’t like the things they said I liked. Somebody who didn’t have the weird quirks they mocked me for having.
But, I do.
So, I’m learning that the trick isn’t to run as quickly as I can away from the life I knew. It is to sift through the devastation and destruction left behind in the wake of that storm and look for the treasures to salvage and use when I rebuild.