I am not Selfish
It is not selfish for me to do the things that feel aligned with my true self. This is who I am, and I can’t be anyone else without faking it.
I am sitting on my bed looking out my french glass doors onto my balcony watching the Palm trees as they sway in the breeze. It is overcast this morning at the beach, so there aren’t as many cars on my street trying to find parking to play in the ocean for the day with their families. I woke up at 9AM today, which is late for me. I made coffee and debated about writing this or not. I gave my Frenchie pup his morning bone and he is laying against my leg on the bed chewing as I write this. My neighbors are having a breakfast in their backyard and I hear the clanging of plates and silverware and their excited chatter as they set up for their guests.
This is my place, this is my home. This is my sanctuary that I created after leaving my marriage that had been become toxic to my health. It wasn’t always toxic but it was the circular arguments, silent moments, humiliations, and gut wrenching realizations that happened over time that led me to realize that not only my marriage wasn’t healthy for me but my whole lifestyle was slowly killing me. I was anxious, sad and withdrawn most of the time, but the one bright place in my life was my daughter. She was my light, my reason, my north star and she still is.
If I ever got too depressed it was the thought of her that lifted me out of the fog. I had to be strong for her, she needed me. She is 23 now, and I used to beat myself up for sometimes not being ‘there’ emotionally for her. I was dealing with my own demons and it made it hard for me to be present. She saw right through my facade of being the happy go lucky person, as children always do, and it made me feel too vulnerable, because my life was built around hiding and I couldn’t hide around her.
Having a child brought up my own past issues and the abuse that I suffered as a child. Being so close to my daughter and seeing her sweetness and natural generosity made me think that I used to be a child like her; open and loving. I didn’t feel the full impact of my caretakers actions until I had my daughter. This realization sent me into my own tailspin of having flashbacks and finally feeling what I had endured as such a small helpless child.
It is often that women that come from abusive childhoods marry someone that treats them the same. It feels familiar, and oddly enough it feels like love. I was insecure and emotionally immature, and my Ex husband made me feel like I was important and interesting. I was in love with him because that is what I thought love was. He was my everything, nothing mattered but him and my daughter. When things got rocky, I blamed myself and my dysfunctional background, and worked harder to make everyone happy.
This didn’t start with me. My grandmother and my mother both were in similar relationships, and I am sure if I knew my great grandmother it would have been the same. My behavior in relationships was passed down from generation to generation. It is in my DNA. That is why it felt so right at the time, and it fit like a glove. I knew how to behave, and it seemed passionate because my Ex-husband and I fed off each other. It was in his DNA too. We were playing the roles of our ancestors without putting much thought into why we were acting the way we were. Was it making us happy? No. Were we growing as people? No. Was it scratching that itch we had our whole lives of being who we were destined to be? Yes. It was safe. We already knew the ending because we had seen it play out in our own family. There was no risk, and no unknown.
I left my marriage and my whole life in Oregon and moved to California about 2 years ago. I have lived alone in my spiritual sanctuary by the beach, but this Saturday will be the last one I will spend alone. My daughter is moving here. She is driving right now and will arrive on Monday. The thought of her coming here gives me a calm excitement. It makes me look back over the time since I moved here and realize how much I have grown. I am a different person than I was when I was married, and I know I will be a different mom now. I will be more open, honest and loving. Her moving here allows me to say the final goodbye to my old life, and welcome her to my new one. She is the last piece of the puzzle for me to move on completely.
We haven’t lived together in 5 years, and I know that she has changed and grown too, and I can’t wait to get to know her all over again. I am looking forward to seeing her transformation as she finds her way in California, and experiences new things. I am excited to have a front row seat to see all the accomplishments she will achieve and I will be there to catch her when she falls.
When I first started my journey to self discovery, I felt selfish. I started doing things just because they felt right, and saying No to things that didn’t feel right. I stopped over explaining myself to people who weren’t listening anyway. I stopped trying to change myself to please others. I started writing, because writing is my passion. I used to say to myself; “I will write even if everyone hates me and no one reads my writing. I will write!” Things make sense when I write them down, and my truth is revealed in my words. It is not selfish for me to write, it is not selfish for me to do the things that feel aligned my true self. This is who I am, and I can’t be anyone else without faking it.
As much as I believed this, a part of me felt like I left my daughter behind. I know she was living her own life, and she was happy but it was just a feeling in me. I didn’t have that house in Portland for her to come home to for the holidays. I moved to a different state, she had to fly to see me, not drive. I was living a new life, which was completely different from the life she had known as a child. The fact that she is now joining me completes the circle and reenforces the fact that none of the actions I took were selfish at all. I created a new space for us to become closer without the distractions of my past. We are breaking generations of a relationship pattern. We are taking a risk, and we are traveling into the unknown, together.