The makings of me…

ripplespeak

My forties began on a Sunday.
I’d napped too deeply
and woke up late,
scrambling to meet up
with our homegroup at 6.
I was eager to keep my promise
to be with this small band of friends
who gathered weekly
for support and encouragement.

I remember grabbing
a handfull of grapes
and finding my husband
oddly helpful
with the rally to ready the kids.

Wearing sweats and still dumbly fumbling around
inside a wintry naptime fog,
we pulled into the field filled with too many cars.
Oh God, a large gathering.
(great…must’ve missed that memo.)
I pulled my sweatshirt around me and braced myself against the cold,
hoping to dodge any overt attention.

Surprise!!!!!

Oh crap.
A whole warehouse full of birthday-wishing smiling faces
and tables groaning with potluck love.
It was an outpouring of generous gifts from genuine friends.
I felt humbled and grateful
and strangely missing
…as if waking up inside of someone else’s dream.

Later that night, as I described the evening
to my mother and sister on the phone,
it sounded so wonderful.
It was wonderful…. special and thoughtful and kind.
I should be happy. Pleased.
Truth was, I’d begun to feel more lonely
than ever before in my entire life.

Problem was,
I’d bumped into the woman for whom the party was thrown.
She seemed so very far from home.
This woman they honored~that image of me~I didn’t like her.
Wouldn’t even want to hang out with her.

She seemed a cardboard cutout….a role someone played…..a model wife and mother….
a standard to strive for…..a singer of worn out songs….a hoverer over home
and children (could’ve learned a thing or two from them)
…a selfless woman living a small scared life,
suffocated by her own virtue.

She completely pissed me off.

When had I stepped aside and let her take my place?
Why had I just disappeared?
I felt the keenest sense of dissatisfaction
and with it came a surge of something I can only describe
as hope on steroids.
It wasn’t too late for me.
I’d somehow lost myself in my 30’s; I had a new decade to put things right.
I would begin again.

And so, like waking up from a drugged and shadowy spell,
I stepped back into my life again.

~I took responsibility for my dissatisfaction and began making course corrections,
trusting the Spirit of Life to enable me to create new patterns and palates for my life.

~I began to grow a strong “no”.

~I made friends with the struggling artist within me.

~I labored to birth and build a business that expressed my truest colors.

~I began to savor wine and spoon sugar into my tea.

~I became, bit by wee bit, more of the woman
I’d wanted to be
…someone I like.

I’ve got one more week to live
before my last year of this decade begins
and I’m over the moon
for every day
I’m given
to be
more
completely
me.

 

Comments

  1. celebrating the you
    that you are
    and will be

    celebrating all life
    has to offer
    in the year
    ahead

  2. PaperPumpkin says

    I have 9 days. Yep, this January 17th is the one I dreaded. The end of my 40's. These past two and a half years, I have begun to BE my true self. Best to you, dear sweet Jennifer. Live it up!

  3. Sharon Leaf says

    Oh, girls, i'm so delighted to hear
    that you are celebrating this year
    with the freedom to be yourself,
    to politely say no, and to yell out a yes now and then.
    I'm celebrating a birthday on the 31st,
    and I plan to 'get down' with my true 65-year-old self!

  4. rachel awes says

    dear heart,
    i too
    am over the moon
    for completely you.
    yes yes
    love love,
    completely.
    xoxox

  5. So I'm sitting here reading this thinking the whole time, I'd love to be friends with her, this is the kind of woman I could dig havin' coffee with, wish we were friends in "real life"…..so, ya know, didn't know ya back then, Jen, but whatever's transpired between then and now, it's worked for ya Girlfriend….I'd give my eye teeth to get to hang out with ya…hey, if you or you and your hubby are ever in Richmond, look me up……I know, a long shot, but hey, per your post, life is short, trying to savor it, trying to carpe a few diems before it's all said and done…..trying to "put things right and begin again" and thankful for your message here….."It's not too late"…….

    great line from a Sundance film called "Paris" I think, with Juliette Binoche…"You're 40, you're not dead; your life may not have even *begun* yet…"

    Hope abounds,
    love,
    Liz

  6. Stunning! You've once again managed to put the deepest issues than any of us can struggle with brilliantly, evocative. Your self awareness and courage is astounding my friend and this had better make it into the book! Love the woman you've become, she is pure inspiration to be around!

  7. Eydie Kugler says

    jennifer,

    I said good bye to my 40s' and hello to my 50s last year. I can tell that the 40 are a wonderful decade to become grounded, yet flexible, to be powerful, yet soft, I love'd my 40's and I know you will too. Fell the magic in everyday.

  8. Do you know how proud I am of you…It takes great courage to look at one's self and say I want some changes…and you did that….you did the work necessary to make the changes you dreamed of…..that courage comes out in all your poetry and inspires and encourages all of us……by the way, from one who is past the mark; the best is yet to come….these are going to be the best years…..The freedom is there all you have to do is take it's hand and girlfriend, you are definitely doing that……
    You are a treat to visit my friend…….

  9. Just Be Real says

    Exciting post Jen. Happy 40! A beautiful you. You are such an encourager and a blessing. Thank you for being real!

  10. I love the woman you are, and are becoming more of. And sweetie I tell you, there is something wonderful about turning 50!! A ripening, maturing, but growing more youthful at the same time. Of being able to really see our strengths, and flaws, and not try to hide from either of them. And when we are really doing this journey with the lover of our souls eyes wide open, masks off…oh boy, what a ride!!

    Here's to becoming completely you!!

    Much love to you!

  11. Happy, happy, happy birthday. May this year bring you everything you dream of. I am glad I know you, my friend.

  12. Jennifer…. life gets better in more ways than I can possibly express here. This evolution of change with age is so glorious! This may sound a bit corny, but so true that with age comes wisdom (well, probably more from the hard knocks of experience and learning). Also comes a feeling of freedom. Oh my, it's all been said before more eloquently than I, but in many ways, the best is yet to come…..at least it all gets a lot easier. I so agree with Hindsfeet that I'd love to know you in person, and be able to sit with some coffee or wine and have a nice long girlfriend chat. Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog. I truly look so forward to your visits! dulcy

  13. Oh to my sweet Jennifer, I say hallelujah! How I would have hated missing out on the real and wonderful, lovely Y♥U, my friend. I hope one day to meet the real you in person so I can give her a real hug! So proud of you. You are such a motivator of being real to all of us. I love hearing about your journey.
    Happy Birthday to you too Jennifer. Welcome to the wonderful years of 1/2 of a hundred. Just where I am also. We have another 50 where we can enjoy being the real and awesome us!

    Love and hugs,
    Lee Ann

  14. Oh to my sweet Jennifer, I say hallelujah! How I would have hated missing out on the real and wonderful, lovely Y♥U, my friend. I hope one day to meet the real you in person so I can give her a real hug! So proud of you. You are such a motivator of being real to all of us. I love hearing about your journey.
    Happy Birthday to you too Jennifer. Welcome to the wonderful years of 1/2 of a hundred. Just where I am also. We have another 50 where we can enjoy being the real and awesome us!

    Love and hugs,
    Lee Ann

  15. Cheri Wollenberg says

    For years I thought the 30s was the best decade that a woman could live. You can look "hot" for your husband, change diapers, multitask in every way and still have enough energy to play some tennis or visit with friends. The 40s decade was consumed with teenagers, running them everywhere, and living in a roller coaster of harmonal emotions. When I reached the 50s, I thought the 40s were the best years:) I just turned 64 this week and with this decade new challenges will ravage me, tempt me to think the 50s were the best, but (for the moment) I plan to live out the moment. Age is such a mystery….a blessed mystery…. We should embrace it, celebrate it, and share the wisdom that comes with it. Thanks Jennifer for spreading the table for all of us to chat and have the tea of conversatin about God's mystery of the passing of time.
    Blessings for your new and precious decade,
    Cheri.

  16. wow

  17. I didn't tell you before, but I adore this. I appreciate your courage in sharing it and your passion to live the life you love, to be your own best self. I love this.

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