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Figuring out who I am - share your stories...

Old 05-11-2011, 05:00 PM
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Figuring out who I am - share your stories...

Originally Posted by GettingBy View Post
This is going to be one that will haunt me for a

I am *almost* convinced (based on AH's rants) that I am unsuitable for ANYONE to love because I'm so damn head strong and opinionated.
I saw this on another thread and it really got me thinking... I used to be proud of who I was, I had opinions, I was fiery and feisty and had passions... and along the way I've lost sight of who I am, what I believe, what excites me etc...

I was just talking to my T about this very thing yesterday. Saying that I've stifled what I think and feel about pretty much everything for so long (by choice-- no one to blame but me) bc it was easier than the raging that would come.

I even remember when I decided to just keep my opinions to myself. Crazy huh? D5 was 4 months old. The Kerry/Bush election night. We'd gone to vote and AH demanded to know who I voted for. I told him (Kerry) which he had to have known since when we met we'd jokingly banter about my being a bleeding heart liberal and him, well, not so much. He told me I was drinking the kool aid the democrats were handing out and for someone with supposed book smarts, I had no real life smarts. I can picture where I was standing in our old apt and I decided right then and there that I was done expressing my opinion.

So, I was talking to my T and saying that one of the things I want to focus on and am focussing on is figuring out who I am. I feel like the me I was when AH and I met is a stranger. And some of that is normal-- life changes, priorities change... But for ex I used to volunteer a lot and haven't done it in years. I used to go to church and haven't in a long time bc I don't want to hear how f'ed up the catholic church is.

What's exciting to me right now (and a little scary) is this: Instead of feeling sad (which I have for a long time) about having lost sight of who I am and what I think, I feel I am getting a second chance to figure this out. I feel like I have the world at my feet and I really can decide what direction to go in, what I want, what matters to me and I'm going to pursue things that make me happy, that I am passionate about and all that's stopping me right now is the simple fact that I am not completely sure what those things are... I need to figure it out...

Some of the ideas I've thought of:
- starting an out of my house business; I sew for my girls and get asked if I would sell some of the dresses I've made-- I have made and sold a few locally at a children's clothing store and would LOVE to do this full time

- doing some sort of party planning/cake decorating thing. I love doing this for family parties, friends parties, work events, girls bdays and have no real experience but have gotten pretty good and am fairly artistic so I think I could do something with this

- trying to expand my photography and make a living out of it-- not sure how, but I photographed a friends' wedding a few yrs ago and am not bad and take pics of my kids all the time so I've thought of trying to combine my clothing designing and kids photography into something...

These are just the things I've been thinking about... Even if I stay in teaching, it feels nice to dream and feel like that's okay.

I just sent money into the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (who I volunteered with after college) and got info about the local former volunteer gathering in Boston which is something I have not done in years (the whole evil Catholicism thing from AH so I just stopped involving myself).

Thanks for letting me ramble...

Anyone else feel like they are figuring out who they are and what they love and want to share?
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:28 PM
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I love threads like this, where we can all get to know each other better. Thanks for starting it.

When I left my AH, I had absolutely no idea who I was or what I wanted to do. Twenty years is a long time, and going back to who I was when I was 24 at the age of 44 was kinda out of the question, lol. Although, I did want to find the core parts of me that I had lost along the way.

So, I simply tried everything that came to mind. I took a ballroom dancing class--without a partner. I ended up dancing once a week for 8 weeks with an adorable 17yo boy with two left feet. We had a blast and I really learned to laugh again. And (I think) he learned how to dance properly for the prom.

I went to city council meetings, thinking I might want to become politically active in my community. Turns out, not so much. But it was interesting and educational and I met some cool people.

I took a creative writing class at the local community college. Turns out the instructor was a local therapist who specialized in codependency recovery. (Synchronicity anyone?) I learned so much in that class, not the least of which is that writing isn't my thing.

Then one day, on a lark, I bought a DSLR camera. And I have to say, that was it. As soon as I got past the size of the manual, actually started taking photos, and learning what to do in order to improve them, I was hooked. I believe I've found my passion. I can't imagine doing weddings or portraits (although I did my daughter's senior portraits--another story for another thread, lol), because the things that do it for me are nature and wildlife. I only recently started with the wildlife and it has been such a thrill. The adrenaline of capturing an animal in action in the wild is so thrilling it's almost like a drug for me. Not a bad addiction to have, I figure.

As a matter of fact, right now as I'm typing this, I'm uploading photos in the background to several microstock photo sites. It's not anywhere near enough income to live on, but it's gratifying that people actually buy my photos. I have some ideas/plans for an online gallery that sells framed prints, greeting cards, etc.

This is my new self. The self that might never had been had I stayed and held out for my "dream." I think life has better plans for me than I had for myself. Who am I to get in the way of that?

Thanks again for the thread,

L
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:41 PM
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This is my new self. The self that might never had been had I stayed and held out for my "dream." I think life has better plans for me than I had for myself. Who am I to get in the way of that?
WOW LTD, just wow.

Isn't it amazing how great life can be if we just do the next thing in front of us and pay attention to the guidance of a higher power who can take us places we never ever imagined we might go? There is a full, rich, beautiful life out there for us. It might not be the life we thought we would have, but that doesn't make it less remarkable and beautiful.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:35 PM
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I had dreams before I married the RAH. When my girls are out of high school, I wanted to go work for the World Health Organization and travel the world.

There is absolutely no reason I still can't do that.

But like WTBH, after 4 years with an alcoholic, I am finding my voice again. Politics - HUGE minefield. I learned very quickly to just do the bobblehead...never disagree...and lie about who I voted for when pressed, to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

I turned into the very liar I accused him of being - just to avoid the traps he set to have a battle. Sick. That's just pathetic.

I also had a horse when I was younger. I'd like to have one again.

I make jewelry...a long time ago used to do re-design's for my Grandma's friends with their old 40's and 50's beaded necklaces. I haven't made anything in a long time.

I used to volunteer for the parks & rec department cleaning up trails around town, since I am a big user. Haven't done that in a long time, too.

And I was very civically involved. I have begun to do that again.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:19 AM
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wanttobehealthy,

I don't know why--I started crying when I read your post! I am so happy for all the cool things going through your head right now! I feel like I'm watching a beautiful butterfly emerge from a cocoon.

I think all of your ideas are wonderful expressions of who you are (of course I don't know you, but they sound great!) Go for it! I think you live in a city, right? So much opportunity there!

As for me, I've gone back to my old journals to rediscover me. The peak of my "me-ness" was in high school, where I just completely explored who I was. Back then, I drew and painted (even one a prize in the town art show--haven't picked up brush in years). I also made all my own clothes and I was a CCD teacher, just coming off of my ambition to be a nun (talk about a fork in the road with two completely different paths). During my recent six weeks away, I actually contacted a retreat house run by nuns to find a spiritual director, and I went to several of their evening programs, which were great.

So these are the places I'm going to start in to get back to me...

Thanks for the uplifting thread!
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:33 AM
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I retired after 30 yrs. of teaching and now study alot of spiritual stuff and am painting and am loving it........been divorced 4 yrs. and am beginning to meet myself.
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:53 AM
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Well I am still with the RAH but am working on myself each day. My kids are teenagers so I have alot of free time now. I am still trying to find myself. I do yoga and zumba 3 times a week. Sometimes it is just the little things I need like getting my hair or nails done.
In the 20 years that I have been married voicing my thoughts and opinions have never been my problem, at times probably said to much. The thing with me is my husband and kids have always come first and now I am trying to put myself first sometimes.

Great Post - getting me to real think about what I am doing for myself!!!!!
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:17 AM
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Wanttobehealthy.....
Thanks for starting this thread. I am still with ah & he is working on his problems but I am also focusing on myself & we will see where it goes.

As I read your post tears came to my eyes. I just had a full physical for the first time in yrs. My dr is also a friend. He asked what was wrong? I thought that was why I was there, for him to tell me.

I have gained wt, am depressed, do not care about anything.
I have 4 kids, 4 businesses, large family & community activities. For over 9 mo. I have been isolating myself. I make excuses for not attending or participating in anything. My car can sit in the driveway for weeks at a time.
I just wish everyone would leave me alone & stop trying to help. If I knew what would help I would do it.

He put me on an anti-depressant. Suggested I try to do things that make me happy & if I need too fake it til I make it, do it. My mind went blank. I couldn't think of anything that I thought I could do that even seemed mildly fun. Hopefully the antidepressant will boost me over the hump.

I was so impressed with your list & ideas. Do it. Try them all!!!!!

My husband & I own our businesses together. So there is no enjoyment there. Only stress. I used to thrive in our being there together & being so successful.
We love to travel. But for a while it just seems futile. Only a lot of money 4 my ah to drink, enjoy himself, & me feel alone.

I hate going out, because I know everyone looks at me & is trying to figure out what is wrong.

I am going to get through this.....and thanks for your post! It is very encouraging! I wish you all the best!!!
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:27 AM
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Wanttobe,

I LOVE your perspective. I am going to come back to this thread every time I start to get down about 'wasting' my time for so long. I have to run to work, but will most likely be back to post here again later. Thank you for writing this--very inspirational!
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:54 AM
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I just have a sec but am so inspired by reading everyone else's thoughts and am really glad that this struck a chord--

I need to re-read my own words right now bc I dealt with a very drunk, very nasty AH last night and I just left the courthouse where AH basically walked away with no consequence for assaulting me.

I feel it would be VERY easy for me to slip back into my old role, and patterns and am going straight from typing this to re-reading what I and all of you wrote bc it will help get me back in a good state of mind!
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:12 AM
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whattobe - stay strong!!!!
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:13 AM
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Instead of feeling sad (which I have for a long time) about having lost sight of who I am and what I think, I feel I am getting a second chance to figure this out. I feel like I have the world at my feet and I really can decide what direction to go in, what I want, what matters to me and I'm going to pursue things that make me happy, that I am passionate about and all that's stopping me right now is the simple fact that I am not completely sure what those things are... I need to figure it out...
I think that's exactly where I am, too.
I like my job and love the people I work with -- it allows me to grow and learn.
I started a small business to supplement my income, and fired my biggest client after realizing the person I was dealing with was acting like an A. (That was huge!)

I think this transition/transformation is enjoyable. It's also helped that I'm in a relationship with a person who knew me before I knew AXH. So he can remind me of crazy stuff we used to do, crazy dreams we used to have -- and while I no longer haev those dreams, remembering them reminds me that I used to have dreams before my marriage. Like WTBH, I don't yet know what my new dreams are, but I know it's OK to have them again.

One of the most amazing discoveries for me is that I'm really good with money and finances. AXH would never let me handle the finances (for obvious reasons -- I'd figure out that he spent three times as much on booze in a week as I got to spend on food for the family), and somehow that translated into "You can't handle money" in my mind.

Oh, and I'm working on my body image. Whatever possessed AXH to marry me, I don't know -- I've never been tiny, and he basically wanted me to be anorexic-looking. He'd be evil with his put-downs if I gained weight. (Of course it wasn't about what I looked like, it was about controlling me. I know that.) So after leaving, I've relaxed my extremely strict eating habits and am actually loving my more curvaceous body most days. I still have fallbacks when I see what I think he would see when I look at myself, but they're fewer and fewer.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:21 AM
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Feel free to make fun all you like bc this is really corny but....

D5 is currently obsessed with the Disney movie Tangled, and to be honest, I can't say I mind!

The heroine, Rapunzel has lived in this tower, "protected" by her mother (who keeps her there to keep her from knowing she is a princess and was kidnapped as a baby) and told the world is dangerous and scary and she ought to stick with what she knows. But Rapunzel has this spirit that won't quit and has a dream to see these floating lanterns that she sees from her window but doesn't know what they are.

So, the whole movie is one series of her taking leaps, risks and finding with each one that the world outside her "safe" tower is amazing.

It's got great music too-- D5 and D3 and I have taken to singing with the soundtrack and I love it!

If you've got young kids (or even if you don't-- it has a lot of humor for adults too) check it out.

It's a Disney version of what I feel like I'm going through. Leaving my "safe" tower that hasn't really been all that safe or great ever (but I told myself it was better than the unknown) and venturing out to see what's out there.

D5 was begging to watch it this morning so it's on my mind, but also, reading about others' dreams and thinking about my own got me thinking of the movie too...

I sure have a lot of posts about kids books and kids movies lately huh? Maybe that's another avenue to check out-- writing kids books that have good strong themes!?
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:25 AM
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Ha! I got my girls that movie just last week, and they LOVE it. Now I know why: It's their story!!!
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:29 AM
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lillamy- how old are your girls? i have to say that the one part that freaks us all out is the mother... my mother has borderline personality d/o and i read on a blog that the mother gothel character was created with bpd traits... creepy huh?

right now i have the tavern song 'i've got a dream' playing in my head... off to impress at my interview!
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:30 AM
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story EVERYONES GOT A STORY...and Amanda Marshall sang those words about 10 years ago!!

my story...is 1 important thing.."i forgot everything my mother ever taught me"

yep...and learning now and growing
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:38 AM
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My passions are creeping back into my life, slowly but surely....

I remember when I was about 12 years old I found out that tulips are planted in the fall, and my birthday happened to be in the fall, and I asked for and received tulip bulbs for my birthday. I carefully planted them and painstakingly watched them grow in the spring and eventually bloom. My love for landscaping and gardening has ebbed and flowed since then..... having a beautiful garden at the house I left when I divorced, and being frustrated as a renter to not want to put the $ into someone else's property (but planting freebies when I could). Now that I am a homeowner again I am passionate about my own yard, working on a major renovation of the back yard and painstakingly (again) watching tulips grow in my front yard.

I shunned PE class in school, but discovered a passion for running when trying to lose weight as an adult. I used it as an escape when I was married, it was MY time. I still run, and it is still MY time, but not as an escape. I often run with my fiance (more later on him), and/or my dogs, and we run races and have a great time. I also took up yoga. Just the other day at yoga class I was looking at myself in the mirror in front of the room; and I actually LIKED how I looked. I smiled at myself and thought --- "wow, you are an awesome and strong woman!" (And I look roughly the same as I always have.... )

And.... I am getting married this fall to a man I have been dating for a couple of years. He recently started his own handyman business after a stint of unemployment, and it has really taken off. Knowing I can rely on his handyman skills -- I am thinking about buying rental property with the hope that I can eventually quit my job and spend my time doing home-improvement/landscaping on my own house and rental properties.

It is amazing what all has unfolded for me..... It sounds so trite when people say to follow your passion, but doing so has opened up so many possibilities that I never considered before.

Life is good!
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:39 AM
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Married for 15 years. Presumably he married me for who I was: bright, inquisitive, observant, soft-hearted, funny, interested, and devoted to him. Away from him for 2 years this summer.

As the years went on, we had 3 children, his problems (drinking, mental breakdowns) increased. I bailed him out in every way I could. I was like his personal cheerleader and he resented the heck out of me and really came to despise everything that I now know are my core traits and values.

I have been excavating the parts of me that I suppressed because they offended him so:

I am a constant reader. I will read anything: fiction, non-fiction, self-help, recovery, theology.

I am heavily into my HP, God.

I have "rescued" 3 additional dogs since we separated. (this pendulum has swung too far, I believe, but we are one big happy, furry, muddy family).

I have taken a renewed interest in my looks (I realize now that I used to be very pretty before I let that constant worry and stress take over my face and my life. And gained dozens of pounds "inexplicably")

I have been writing. It's always been easy for me and I express myself best that way, but people who read my blog actually seem to enjoy it. That has been a lot of fun.

I am happy again. Cheerful. Upbeat. Some people have said "wise." Me? if I am, it's just through years in the school of hard knocks.

Being hated for who you are is a terrible thing, and I am so thankful that I have been freed from that bondage.

great thread.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:02 AM
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lillamy- how old are your girls? i have to say that the one part that freaks us all out is the mother... my mother has borderline personality d/o and i read on a blog that the mother gothel character was created with bpd traits... creepy huh?
9 and 11 -- so they're on the old end -- but they still loved it. And if the mom has bpd, they'll recognize that from their father...
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:14 AM
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This is an amazing thread Wanttobehealthy. I've only JUST recently realized how at some point during my marriage I stopped expressing myself. I allowed him to define me, I gave up my interests, and I stopped saying what I really think and feel about things to avoid conflict and arguments.

When I finally opened my eyes, I realized I didn't even know who I was anymore. For years I listened to all the B.S. that came out of his mouth and believed it was true. Several months ago, I stopped listening to him. However, the urge to remain silent remains.

Now though I am looking at what I WANT for myself and my life. I don't know if I'll get a divorce yet, but I do know that I am done sacrificing myself in the hopes that it will please someone else. I still don't know WHO I am exactly, but as I open the "window" and think about what I want and need, it's slowly becoming clearer to me. At the moment, this is my short list:

1. Write! I've been working on this and I love it.
2. Make friends and make plans to see them.
3. Make plans that I want to do - not because someone else wants to do them.

Not a long list. But the growth I needed to go through to even get to this list was huge. I believe that over time this list will get longer and longer.
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