First off, I wanted to thank everyone who has continued to show their support and the overwhelming response to my last blog post. I know I still have a lot of comments to respond to and I fully intend to respond to them, but I had to get this off my chest.
For those of you who know me, you know that separation and divorce has been particularly hard on me. I've continued to fight, but I've been weary to the bone of fighting to keep moving forward.
That being said...
There have been some major milestones this past week. The last of my ex's things are out of the apartment. I have spent a lot of time cleaning and reorganizing the apartment to turn the page and get a fresh start.
I had no idea how emotional that would be.
I also had no idea just how much of my identity I had sacrificed over the last few years.
As I pulled out statues and figurines, reorganized my bookshelves, and thought about where I wanted to rehang things that haven't been on the walls for quite some time, I came to the very hard realization that my guilt had caused me to make sacrifices I never intended. Over time, I slowly carved away pieces of my identity and put them, literally, in boxes. Physical things that reminded me of who I am. And I did this because I was trying to mold myself into who I thought my ex wanted me to be. (No, I'm not blaming her. I need to be clear here.)
I was really pissed at myself at first. I didn't understand how this had happened.
Then I made the second hard realization in as many days: The writing had been on the wall in my marriage for a long time and I was sacrificing my identity out of vain hope it would salvage my relationship.
It was quite a gut shot to come to these realizations, but this weekend wasn't done with me quite yet.
As I continued to reclaim those pieces of myself that I had packed away, I started to feel an incredible sense of relief. I felt a vastly increased sense of security in my home. Most importantly, I started to remember the thing I used to love about myself that I haven't allowed myself or anyone else to see for way too long.
The ultimate realization came earlier today. There's something a lot of you don't know about me:
I've been singing since I was three years old. Music and, more importantly, SINGING has been central to my identity my whole life. I've won over $4,000 in karaoke contests. I've had people tell me I should try out for American Idol or the Voice. I don't normally bring any of this up. I'm not the type to brag and my singing has always been about the music, not the accolades.
I wouldn't have brought it up at all if it wasn't important.
Why, you ask?
Because I realized that, with the exception of singing with my daughter, I HAD STOPPED SINGING.
Talk about a bombshell of a realization. I haven't been doing something for YEARS that is central to my physical, spiritual, and emotional identity. I finally realized just how much of myself I have lost in the last few years, how out of touch with my own health I had become.
I made this realization this weekend of all weekends because the latest season of GLEE came out on Netflix and I had some free time to watch. That's right, GLEE. I was singing along with almost every song and something amazing happened.
It was like someone parted the curtains to let the light into my soul. In that moment, I was truly happy.
I wasn't just satisfied. I wasn't just less depressed than usual. I wasn't just pleased with the turn my professional life has taken.
I was uplifted. Emotionally and spiritually fulfilled.
Why? Because I was creating my own harmony to Beatle's 'Yesterday'. I was adding my flavor to the song, directly and freely sharing the deepest and truest part of myself. I was singing for the pure joy of it.
So what now? I have a choice. I can beat myself up over the mistakes I've made and continue to hide myself away and joy I can bring to myself. I can hide myself away and lose the opportunity to share my joy with others.
I can reclaim the life and vibrance music and singing has brought to me and hopefully lift others up to share in my experience through song.
I'm going to start by making sure I make time to sing every week. I'm going to go out and find a venue to sing and reconnect with that part of my that I didn't realize I had lost.
I might even eventually record some of it and share my joy with you all. Who knows.
All I know is that I need to raise my voice. To sing and to be heard.
Music adds so much context to the tapestry that is my life. Just like writing my blog, it allows me to freely express what I'm feeling.
I intend to reclaim it.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.