The New Me

In the past three months I lost 25 lbs, got an IUD placed, bought (and was gifted) a whole new wardrobe (and even some new jewelry and shoes), tried in earnest to make some new friends, started a new blog (and shut down my old one), enrolled in a writing class and created a new nom de plum. I didn’t notice it at the time, because the decisions were made months ago and the time it took for them to manifest was considerable, but these were all related. It took months for the weight to come off, to make an appointment with my GYN, for me realize I liked how I looked enough to buy new clothes, to choose a URL and start a new blog, for my writing class to finally start, to decide on a new writing identity. None of these things happened quickly, there was careful deliberation involved, and a lot of work. So maybe it’s not so ridiculous that I didn’t see what was happening into recently, when it all became so glaringly obvious.

I have been trying to reinvent myself.

The problem is, I’m not sure who I want to become. And I’m floundering as I attempt to figure it out.

There was already a shift happening. What spurred all this change was organic, really, the obvious next steps as I moved away from a massively transformative time in my life to whatever comes next. The past six years have been all about building my family, but after my son was born we decided we were done having children. As I got to work reclaiming my body, I ceremoniously stripped my wardrobe of the maternity clothes I had worn (or held on to) for the past five years and got down the pre-pregnancy staples I used to love. Most of them were from before I had my daughter and were dated, both in the general sense and in the way I see myself; they just didn’t seem to fit with the person I’d become after so many years of family building and parenting.

It was a theme I started seeing everywhere.

A lot has happened in the last six years. We bought a house, had two kids, got married, and made professional commitments. We set ourselves on a certain track, made decisions about what our future will look like, and who we want to be moving forward. After my son was born I felt like I was setting out on path of the rest of my life, that the decisions I make now will determine my direction and ultimately, where I end up.

I enrolled in a creative non-fiction class because I wanted to focus on my writing. I started a new blog to attempt blogging with a new intention. I made plans with potential friends in the city to fill the gaping hole in my social life. I bought new clothes to present a more polished version of myself. I got an IUD to formally distance myself from family building. I did all of this with purpose, with the future in mind. In the absence of building my family, I set about building my new life. Without the wave of change that family building provides, I tried to paddle myself out of the doldrums.

Except all that paddling is exhausting. I am struggling. Considerably.

The friendship explosion didn’t help. That bomb went off right as the wave of the last six years crested. At a time when I was least sure of who I was and what the future might hold, someone close to me decided they didn’t want me in their life. That wave hit when I least expected it, knocked the wind out of me, dragged me under the churning water, and spit me back to the surface, gasping for air. I’ve spent the last few months determining my orientation, trying to figure out where the shore lies.

For all the intentional choices I made setting out, I now feel lost. Without my trusted agents to guide me, I am floundering. Right now, at this critical juncture, I’m totally and completely unsure how to proceed. I doubt myself, and my choices, at every opportunity. I have no idea if my efforts will eventually provide adequate returns. I consider going back to my old ways of coping, even when I know they don’t suit my situation. I long for the familiarity of my old life, the habits that felt comfortable, even as I recognize they are no longer relevant. I just want something to be easy.

Because writing here? It’s not easy. Keeping up with my writing class? Is really challenging. Making new friends? Is terrifying. Even laying out a nice outfit every night is starting to feel hard. None of it is familiar. None of it is comfortable. But I am committed to doing it all because I’m terrified of where I’ll end up in ten years. I’m scared shitless that all this paddling will just take me farther and farther out to sea, and I’ll look around one day and realize I haven’t seen land for years and years, that there is no hope anyone will ever find me.

12 Comments

  1. Ditto what Karen said. Its a constant struggle, striving towards the woman I want to be, with the tentacles of my past habits and comforts pulling me back the whole way. I get the “nothing is easy” feeling. Does anyone NOT feel that way? That’s what I really want to know.

  2. To answer Ana’s question “does anybody not feel that way?” – I think those who don’t are overconfident and probably stagnant. Or they could be very discouraged or depressed. Either way, I think continuing to try to improve yourself is a sign of hope and confidence, that you CAN do it.

    I’m impressed with all the reinvention, though. I think when Bean was your son’s age, I was still just trying to keep my head above water. Only now, as she’s getting a little more independent, am I starting to think about me for the sake of ME and not how to do more for my family.

  3. You are doing wonderfully! And it is normal after the launch to hit the “deer in headlights what am I doing” point. Keep going. Just like you always have done. Because you will come to calm water again. Life is not an ocean but a river and we launch from a safe place and encounter new things and big rocks and sudden rapids…but if we keep going we get to wondrous new places, more love, more joy, and new peace. Besides once launched there is no way back. You are doing fabulously with your life and world. HONEST.

  4. Reinventing yourself is hard. And it’s harder if you put pressure on yourself to do it, especially if you’re not sure exactly what you want in the end. You’re not alone though. Far from it. And we’re cheering you on.

  5. You have taken bold and concrete steps toward things that fulfill you and make you happy. I think that is impressive – period. And if those things don’t turn out to fulfill you and make you happy, you can paddle to a new destination.

    1. I love this. šŸ™‚ It’s so true that sometimes we forget that if we arrive somewhere and don’t like it / aren’t fulfilled by it, we can always turn and paddle in a different direction.

  6. You know, this makes so much sense. That you should feel rudderless, out in the open sea – I think you have a strong internal compass though that will eventually point you in your own right direction.

  7. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Scary can be good and an opportunity to move into new awesome territory. Keep on being awesome, you’re already there even if you haven’t fully realized it yet.

  8. So glad I found your new space. So sorry you are feeling our of sorts. I wish I had words of comfort, to let you know that you’re not alone. But I know they’d come off as insincere since I haven’t been following your blog (or any blogs, really) since my boys were born. I want to be better about that. Also, thank you so much for your comment on my glad. I want to respond but you’re a no-reply blogger. Can I email you?

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