So y’all…been oversharing with almost everyone I’ve encountered lately (including near-strangers 😐) that I believe I’m going through my midlife crisis. I don’t think I ever had a clear concept of what all that entails. But yes, having a child at 39 and the ensuing identity crisis that came with new motherhood, and the recent job loss that left me with way.too.much.time on my hands and way.too.little enthusiasm about what my next “career move” might be…seem to have precipitated, along with a few other convenient factors, my entering into the real flesh and bones center of The Midlife Crisis.
It’s like all these layers of conditioning have been coming to the surface, these core beliefs that are way old, defunct, decrepit, irrelevant, and tired. These beliefs like “I’m not enough,” or “Why even try because I can’t possibly live up to my own self-imposed and completely inattainable standards of perfection,” or the ever straight-up in-your-face and mean, “I’m a fuck-up.”
Damn. These are some brutal words…and yet, I believe so many of us have similar tapes playing beneath the busyness of our everyday lives and daily distractions. And I realize how much energy is expended each day in pushing through the activities and responsibilities required of me, when I have these beliefs underlying every move I make. All the self-doubt, all the self-criticism, all the cognitive dissonance. When it would be so much easier to find new messages that actually make sense and align with the reality I know to be true.
That I am capable, tenacious, brave as f*uck, resilient, creative, adaptable, resourceful, and free…to choose the life I wish to live, to paint new pictures with nuances and dimensionality and wicked magic out of the ashes of the old verses I have burned.
That none of us is who “they” told us we were…the misguided teachers, the well-meaning parents, the people in power who abused it and abused us in some way. Look at what “they” are telling us now…the ones in the headlines running in dizzying blurbs across screens. Is it not more blatantly clear than ever that it’s all one big doodie-hole crock of shit?
That those who waved sticks haphazardly through the air when they were snotty-nosed kids now have bigger weapons and more broken spirits? These people don’t have the authority, or the power, to break us. I recently succumbed to the fear that is running amok and tearing through cities like Tasmanian devils on speed. It’s palpable as I cruise as calmly as possible through rush-hour traffic on Hendersonville Road, so I can get home and stare at job ads on indeed. Too corporate, too many hours, not enough pay…with the fear that I will lose myself, that I will spend most of my waking hours getting buggy-eyed in front of a screen and feeling disconnected from my passions, my heart, my daughter. Ultimately, a fear that those in charge are going to rob me of what’s most important to me.
In the midst of this midlife reckoning, I am sifting slowly and patiently, through the muck of a lifetime. The gooey, shameful ooze that still sticks to my insides and prevents me from dancing the dance of liberation my body is aching for. And I have all sorts of tired in my muscles, in my jaw, in my cells and brain crevices, from carrying the weight of these generations-old messages for so long. The messages that were always designed to keep us small and constricted and confined to obsequious “yes sir” mannerisms, bowed heads, shrunken selves.
I believe these times are here to set us free. It’s okay if our knees give out and we fall to the ground…if we crumble into a messy heap on the kitchen floor. That’s part of the process. Something’s gotta give. We can’t carry the heaviness of our ancestors anymore. And in being laid to the earth and breaking, we come back to where we came from, and who we truly are in essence and at core. And we gain humility, and we learn to trust in something different this time. Because we don’t believe the lies we used to live our lives by. We create new truths and build new structures…within our neural pathways and within the communities we live in.
And we come to see that we’re not alone, this isn’t shameful. This is human and vital and we’re all in this process of breaking apart and open together. And we reach out, hopefully for help and guidance…to the great beyond, to each other. We get past our pride and come raw and tender into lines at supermarkets and to playgrounds as we pick our kids up from school. We start looking one another in the eye and stop breezing by each other in our spells of doing too much, and stop to speak about what’s really going on.
Ya, so I may have gone on another soapbox spilling of guts here. But it’s what’s up for me right now. And I know at least some of you can relate. These are intense times, ripe with opportunities to shed skin and shift on tectonic-plate levels the course of humanity. It’s that big, folks. And it starts within ourselves…allowing ourselves the time and space and gentleness and bravery required to listen to these deep whisperings…these murmurs of Mother Earth and these cries of ancestors. It’s so worth it though. So very worth it.