Monday, July 2, 2018
Bursting the Bubble #StartingOver #Inspiration
Selling the home I had lived in for nineteen years and leaving a state that I had called home for twenty-five years felt like diving head first off a cliff. I was leaving behind memories of a life I had built with my late husband and my children--and not all of those memories were good, but many of them were. People told me, "you're crazy, you'll never be able to come back and have all this again" and said things like, "how can you abandon your kids (who are 22 and 20)?"
I was scared. In some ways, I felt like a failure because I couldn't hack living alone in the mountains. My husband had died, the kids were in college, I had nothing in common with the people in the community it seemed, and I felt as if I were dying. That's not an exaggeration either--I literally felt like I would die if I remained there. And not die as in "someday" but soon.
So I left and it wasn't easy. The transition hasn't been easy either. There have been highs and lows and doubts--but I have no regrets.
I had been living in a bubble that had been suffocating my spirit for years. Trying to fit in as a widowed single mom in a community that really disliked grief or anyone who struggled in any way isolated me to such a degree that I started believing the lie that I was flawed. If I grieved, I would be told how so-and-so got a divorce and moved on or how so-and-so's ex killed himself and she was fine--as if there was something wrong with me and my feelings--as if my struggle wasn't real because of the constant comparison with so-and-so (who I never knew personally, of course). If I admitted to struggling financially as a single mom whose little kids had anxiety issues after witnessing their dad's suicide, I was shunned rather than helped and my kids were bullied. I have no love loss for the community I left. None.
Why did I stay so long after my husband's death? I told myself it was because the kids needed stability after experiencing such a loss, but I did as well. It was hard enough moving alone with two adult children, I'm sure it would have been much more stressful if the kids had been younger and were protesting every step of the way. But, I stayed too long. I know that now with certainty. The bubble may have been stifling, but it was also safe.
Now that I've moved, I look back and see that the bubble that I lived in was not only toxic, but was also created in a false reality. To those people who still live in that bubble, they only know what they know based on everyone around them trying to fit the superficial facade that is perpetuated there as normal.
It's not normal, though, and I only see that now because I burst the bubble and set myself free. Shortly after moving, I met a sophisticated woman at the airport who was on her way back to Santa Fe on my flight. We started chatting and she told me that she moves to a new city every five years, no matter how happy or content she feels. She does this because she wants to be aware of becoming too comfortable and possibly prevent herself from becoming close-minded.
That conversation started me thinking about how afraid I had been all along to shake up my life. I have met so many interesting people in the past year since my move. I have participated in activities that have deepened my spirit and opened my mind in ways that never would have happened if I were still living in that secluded bubble on the mountain top.
I am no longer afraid of anything. I could sell this house tomorrow and become a vagabond for a year and would not be afraid of doing it. I shut down a part of my business because I am sick of snarky people who think that "snark" makes them powerful (or smart) when it is genuinely disrespectful and mean. Money and stability concerns would have prevented me from doing so a year ago--now I don't care. Yes, I still need to earn a living, but I now value my self-respect and my peace more.
A shift has occurred within me on the core level. Fear no longer has any power over me. I think when you're someone like me--someone who has lost everything at some point, who has hit rock bottom and who has looked around and realized how alone they were and are still standing at the end of the day--you do become fearless. You do develop a "fuck you" attitude to anyone who tries to disrespect you. And that's okay. Once you're out of the bubble, the freedom to be yourself sets you on fire.
We all live in certain bubbles--which is why some who have never left their hometowns become so set in their ways and suspicious of outsiders. Traveling expands our bubbles to an extent, but I've traveled enough where I've met people who only whine about "how things are done" where they're from--which only shows their closed-mindedness to anyone or anything outside their comfort zone. That's living small. That's being small. When you open yourself to others who are different from you, you learn how big life is meant to be.
I think the only true way to burst your bubble and break free of the limits you may be experiencing is to move--and move again if you don't like it--and move back to where you started if you realize that's truly meant for you. But how do you know what's meant for you if you don't experiment? How do you know what you're capable of if you don't reach higher than you ever dreamed possible?
I hope to keep bursting my bubble and creating new ones--more expansive ones--throughout my entire life until I have a kaleidoscope of experiences that shape me into the woman I want to be.
Boldly go, my friends!