When I was young, I was waiting to grow up. That included waiting for the milestones: turning 13 years old and getting my ears pierced, starting my period, turning 16 years old and getting my driver’s license, graduating from high school, getting my first job, going to college, finding a boyfriend, reaching legal drinking age, feeling like I belonged.
I rarely feel “embodied” … as if I am where I belong doing what I am meant to do. I’ve mentioned before that I live in my head. I wasn’t always like that. As a child, I was present. I felt everything. I loved and wanted to make the people I loved happy. But those people and the world kept saying, “No, not now.”
I began feeling different and limited. Everyone watched me. I couldn’t do the things everyone else did. The more open and known I was, the more I could be hurt and manipulated. I became guarded, cautious and intellectual … because my body betrayed me too.
A part o me believes that I shouldn’t be alive. I was born with a heart defect that had to be corrected to keep me alive. Until I could be operated on, I had to be kept “quiet” and not overexert myself. I think I was fully alive and could’ve remained that way until I died. Afterwards, people worried about me and I learned too much caution. I was never as physically competent as my peers and I suffered from more childhood illnesses.
I think I believed that I’d still die young … yet I’ll be 56 years old this summer. I’ve had periods of time when I was able to dial down my intellect and live more fully in the moment and my experiences. Those times usually focused on relationships or major transitions. I loved a boy and married him. We got divorced and I learned to find social outlets and how to date. For a while, music (a childhood love) and concerts lifted me outside myself. I can read a book and escape to another world.
I have a strong social conscience and high personal standards. Somehow, they don’t seem to mesh with the people and relationships in my life. They are focused on the microcosm and I’m focused on the macrocosm. Their daily circumstances and immediate situations subsume everything else. I feel disconnected from them. At my most disconnected moments, I think of life as filling in the time between being born and dying. None of it is particularly meaningful. I find hobbies and activities. I take trips and attend events. I do things that align with the type of person I am and ideally want to be. I avoid too much planning as that just makes me feel like there’s really very little that NEEDS doing or very little I care about that can actually be changed.
So, I let things drift. I don’t feel particularly embodied. Since I see all the shades of gray in myself, I see them in other people too. I don’t think everyone has to agree with me, but they do need self-awareness. If you’re an asshole, just admit it. If you’re doing something, know why. And remember that choosing do nothing is still a choice. Meanwhile, just keep going.