About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, July 28, 2013

You Can't Please Everyone So You'd Better Please Yourself

Sure, Johnny, easy for you to say.

You'd think by now I'd have being independent and sassy down to a science. I've been widowed for a long time and have pretty much mastered the art of pissing people off while I do my own thing. I've heard all the whispers about how I do what I do, been accused to my face of not caring about money (wtf?), told repeatedly that I'm headed in the wrong direction by being a writer, and (recently) it's been suggested that I date married men although I have no idea why my nun-like existence would breed such a story.

In other words, it's easy to say that I don't care what others think, but I do. It hurts. It's painful to be judged--I'm not made of stone! It's sad to hear people malign me when I know what's in my heart. You bet it's painful. Do I allow that to stop me, though? Apparently not since I keep right on going.

People create their own stories about each other, which then becomes their reality. Usually this story is spun in such a way where they become either the victim or the judge. I'm sure I've done it in the past, too. I'm only human, with all the faults that is implied, but I've grown a lot in the past decade (thanks to The Four Agreements, which I keep by my bedside) and try to remain objective.  There's not much I can do to change another person's inner dialogue about what is true. I know my truth of who I am.

When you know your own truth--when you can go to bed at night knowing that you are being honest with yourself--then there is no shame or regret. In fact, I've learned that knowing my truth makes it easy to stand up to the rumors about "the widow" and tell people plainly "you can't bully me" even when I know that they'll walk out of my life.

Figuring this out hasn't been easy, especially when trusted family members come at me with their judgments on my life (even though none of them live within driving distance of me and don't see me more than once a year--if that) and life long friends turn on a dime. Perhaps it's the meditation I began shortly after Sean died, the spiritual study I've undergone, or the yoga. Maybe it's a combination of it all, but I know myself better today than I did a decade ago. I know my heart is filled with light and love and, yes, a whole lotta hurt. I trust that I act out of goodness rather than malice--always.

Sure, I make mistakes. I get lonely. I sometimes look around at the couples in my midst and desperately miss Sean. But is that wrong? No. I look around at my home and think of the history here--kids learning to walk, all of us laughing in front of the fire pit many nights, summer parties, snowmen in the yard, wild sled rides down the back hill, movie marathons in the family room--and don't regret for one moment that I've stayed here after Sean died.

Maturing is about a lot more than age. I thought after I married, bought a house, and had kids that I was an official adult. But I did a lot of those things because they were expected by others. Sean and I loved each other, would have been content living together, but we married because it was expected by our families. After our daughter was born, we were content living in our apartment with the pool right outside our door. The constant chatter of "you need to buy a house now" rang in our ears...so we did. And it was all fine...we acted on free will and I have no regret about any of it. We were young...it was expected...it felt like the adult thing to do.

It's only in retrospect that I realize how much of what I've done in life was to suit others, to prevent conflict, or to simply 'go with the flow'. It was only after Sean died, when I was thrown into the fray, that my inner voice grew strong.

I listen to that inner voice, act on instinct and faith, which really annoys people who were used to me falling into line back in the day. They tell me they wish I'd be more like how I used to be--which isn't going to happen. I'm fierce now, I admit that. I've had to battle for my kids, myself, my decisions, and Sean's memory over the past few years. This gives me a "I don't give a fuck" attitude that I embrace.

Does this mean I have a thick skin? Not really. It's easy to say that I don't care what others' think, but that's not true. I do care...I just don't allow it to control me anymore. I need to make decisions solo, often quickly, and can't second guess myself. If it's the wrong decision, I'll correct it.  The thing is...it's mine to make. Hearing the observers heckle their verdicts about it does no good.

The way I see it is that I have one life to live--that I know of anyway--and need to be happy. I can only be happy if I'm true to myself...if I'm living an honest life...if it pisses people off, that's their energy to carry, not mine.

As Gilda Radner said, "There is no real security except for whatever you build inside yourself."

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