In a mere 24 days I’ll hit the biggest birthday milestone of my life, so far. All of the standard cliches apply…”I blinked,” “Time flies,” “Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you are to the end the faster it goes.” I could go on and on, but I won’t. You get the gist.
I’ve spent most of my 49th year contemplating, reflecting and building a better me. The first 49 years of my life have been good ~ no, I’ll correct myself…they’ve been great. I built a wonderful family with the man who has walked beside me through good times and bad, in sickness and health and until death do us part. This year has been a huge year of learning and growing. For the better.
This is going to sound strange to say, but Taylor Swift’s concert in July was a massive turning point. A concert. Given by Taylor Swift. It was a point where I realized something big…
It’s something I always knew I wanted, but didn’t think I could put into practice until I heard TS utter these words, “And in the death of her reputation, she felt truly alive.” I’ve spent this entire year killing my reputation. On purpose. I’ve given up trying beyond all reasonable expectations to be the “perfect one.” The one who gives so much only to receive scraps from the table of her “master” (whoever that may be at any given time). I’ve given up the responsibility of trying to make others happy. I realize now it’s their responsibility to make themselves happy. I’m not the happiness maker. I’ve left behind trying to please those people who add zero value to my life. I’ve set healthy boundaries for myself and my family. I am more a mama bear than ever, and I realize how truly strong I am. My reputation is withering in the wind, dying a slow, painful death, and I don’t care, because my character ~ the part of me that truly matters ~ is blazingly strong.
My Character. The part of me that shows me who I really am. It’s the part which matters. In killing my reputation, I’ve allowed those who have called me a bitch, selfish, and a selfish, bitch to leave my life. I have been told I don’t care about others for as long as I can remember, but the truth of the matter is I cared so deeply about what other people thought of me, about my reputation, that I allowed myself to feel like these words were who I was. In truth, my character shows all of what I said above to be completely untrue when it comes to who I am. I welcome others into my world. I cherish those who love me, and I reciprocate. I’ve never been selfish a day in my life. I’ve been a bitch occasionally when the situation warrants it. But I’ve never been a selfish bitch, and I care more deeply about those who touch my life than is sometimes deserved. My character is flawless.
In the poem TS read toward the end of her show (Why She Disappeared), I heard, with stabbing familiarity,
“When she turned to go home, She heard the echoes of new words
‘May your heart remain breakable but never by the same hand twice.'”
My heart. It’s there for anyone who wants to crawl in and be loved, but never again will it be there for someone who has broken it repeatedly. It won’t. It’s mine. I will take care of it and protect it.
The final piece of her poem says what my heart couldn’t for years, but now can…
“without your past,
you could never have arrived-
so wondrously and brutally,
By design or some violent, exquisite happenstance
Without my past I could never have arrived here…in the best place I could have ever imagined, with the family Stan and I created. I am surrounded by friends who lift me up. They know my story. They know me, and they love me in all the ways I never realized I needed, or deserved, until this year. I turned to go home this year, and I am here.
Oh, for the love of my children…