Yeah, I know, it’s been a few days. Nowhere in da rulz did it say three days in a row, so I’m just going with “the next three days that you blog.” 🙂
So, here’s Day 2 of the challenge:
For 3 days, post a quote and express what that quote means to you. And nominate 3 other
suckers lucky bloggers to take the challenge as well.
Today’s quote is one that I actually heard back in 2004. I heard this quote at a conference, and I wish I could remember who the speaker was. I suppose it doesn’t matter, really. What’s important is that it stuck.
I was working up the courage to make a major life change – I had realized, after 10+ years of marriage, that my then-spouse was mentally abusive. I discovered that my soul was a shriveled, dried-up fraction of what it used to be. I was existing solely because I was constantly “in costume” – I focused all of my energy on being the person I thought I was SUPPOSED to be – the person I thought my spouse wanted me to be – not on who I actually was.
And I wasn’t sure who I REALLY was, anymore. I didn’t know if any of the vibrant, outgoing person I had once been still existed.
I had the opportunity that year to attend a large HR conference. Now, if you’re an employer, and reading this, you should know that these conferences are a fantastic value – your HR professional will come back motivated, energized, connected, and informed. The knowledge s/he will bring back to your organization will result in increased revenue, improved employee engagement, and capitalization of numerous efficiencies.
(If you’re an HR person, and reading this? It’s one huge honkin’ parTAY. Get your drink on and prepare to violate every company policy you’ve ever written. BOOYAH)
That year’s conference was in New Orleans. It was an opportunity for me to get away from my confused, stifled persona – a chance to shed the constricting, ill-fitting uniform I had worn for years, and step into something more comfortable…me.
For four days, I could just be myself – whatever that looked like.
So first, I decided I was a fabulous dresser, and bought a couple new dresses and shoes for the trip. (OK. I was always a shopper, even then.) The then-spouse was NOT fond of this – of the trip, of the clothes of any of the other changes I had been attempting to make. In all honesty, my new things were very classy – but were, admittedly, brighter and shorter than anything I’d bought in the last ten years. (He preferred to have me dress more “vintage” – if by “vintage” you mean Pilgrim.)
“Why’d you buy this dress? Who are you wearing it for?”
Me. I’m wearing it for me.
“You must be meeting someone at this supposed ‘conference.’ Who is he? Why are you doing this?”
I’m going for me. I bought these dresses for me.
I was excited for my trip. Even my then-spouse, with his put-downs, frowns and scorny scowls couldn’t kill my anticipation. I was looking forward to meeting my virtual network – a bunch of people whom I had only “met” online but had been communicating with for years. I was eagerly awaiting the chance to wear my pretty new things at social events.
But most of all, I had a voracious longing to meet….me. Myself.
The conference was a
superior educational experience valuable networking opportunity
Dude. It was NEW ORLEANS. ROCKIN PARTY YO
It was amazing. I made new friends. I relaxed. I had fun. I wasn’t looking over my shoulder to ensure I was sustaining the approval of a controlling, manipulative spouse. I laughed as loudly as I wanted; I drank more than one hurricane; I <gasp> danced until 2 AM.
My soul found water and light, and sprouted and bloomed.
I was happy. I was ME.
Then the conference came to an end. One more half-day of educational sessions, and we’d all be on our way back to our normal, everyday lives.
But I didn’t want to go back. I had found my voice; I had found my light. And she wasn’t going to quietly go back into that dark, confining shell very easily.
I had tasted freedom, and I didn’t want to stop drinking it in.
Right before I chose which final session to attend, a new friend asked me to sit with him at the session HE was attending. I glanced at the description – something about a life coach. Meh. I doubted it’d be of value, but since I was, realistically, probably too exhausted to absorb anything that was actually educational, I figured I’d go along and maybe catch a nap.
The session began. Instead of dozing off…my eyes widened. I perked up as I realized that this session was right here, right now, at the right time, just for me.
Are you unhappy with your life?
Are you on a path that isn’t satisfying you?
If you’re alive, it’s never too late.
When I got on the plane, I laid out a plan. I knew that I couldn’t go back home to the way things were when I left. After a week of gorging on freedom and peace, my old costume no longer fit.
But I knew I was still alive. I still had a lot of life left in me.
It wasn’t too late.
I turned around and forged a new path in a completely new direction. What followed were the most difficult 18 months of my life…but I knew where I was headed. The vision of peace lit the path in front of me like a promise.
The direction was clear, and I knew exactly where I was going.
Home. Back to me.
victim nominee for this challenge: at Lyma’s Life – because I love reading her stuff and just wish there was more of it. 🙂