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
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
As a mom, it's easy to lose ourselves in the lives of our children. Somewhere between picking out pre-schools to visiting college campuses, the woman we once knew has become a stranger.
Selling the family home, sorting through nineteen years' worth of memories, packing up and heading out to a new state all alone has jarred some things loose within me. Some days are so blissful I can't stop smiling and dancing around the room full of ideas. Other days I'm washed over by a tidal wave of loneliness where I miss the hectic school schedules--and even miss being called mom a hundred times a day (something I never thought I'd miss). But, mostly, I'm mesmerized by the process of meeting myself again.
It's weird just being me again after so long. There are days that feel incredibly surreal to me as I adjust to this new normal. I'm meeting people as Amber again rather than Ben or Bree's mom. I'm learning what I like and what I don't--often amazed at how those things have changed now that I am not taking anyone else into consideration when making a decision. I've also realized that shedding the mom identity makes me vulnerable.
Do I know how to be myself? What does that even mean?
For the past twenty-one years, I met other people through the kids. As a stay-at-home mom and then an author, my outside life has been limited to the kids' activities. My social connections were people I knew from swim team or lacrosse. The few other friends I had outside of that scene fell away over the years for whatever reason--let's call it evolution of life.
When I used to think of sending the kids off to college, I imagined still being married to Sean and traveling, being a couple again where we could indulge in those 'someday' fantasies we'd had when we first got married. But I'm a widow so it's a bit different, but it's all good.
I look in the mirror and see a woman who has survived a helluva lot. I see some gray hair mixed in with the blonde. My eyes are a deeper blue and always seem to look a bit sad even if I don't feel that way. I'm quieter than my twenty-something self. I'm calmer than my thirty-something self. I am more tolerant than my early forty-something self. I'm more optimistic than the self I was a year ago.
I avoided mirrors for a long time. I hated seeing someone I didn't know--and didn't like. I used to see someone defeated and lost so I avoided eye contact with myself. If I had to put on mascara, I'd focus on the lash because I didn't want to look myself in the eye. If I did, I'd cry. The struggle had beaten me up and worn me out. My hands would shake with the effort to keep control of my emotions. Daily. Perhaps that's why I avoided the mirror--my inner spirit or the woman I once was couldn't stand to see me that way.
C'mon, Amber, fight.
And I did fight. I fought hard. Life was a perpetual battle field for years and I was tired of the endless war.
Eye contact was a definite no-no. If I needed to look in the mirror, it needed to be quick--like a skittish fox peeking out of its den to see if it was safe to venture out.
Now I sometimes catch my own eye and pause for a minute. I look without cringing away or feeling sad like I used to a year ago. Instead, I am filled with a sense of acceptance and gratitude for still being alive.
I see myself clearly for the first time in many years. I see a woman who is starting fresh. I see a woman who dances again. I see a woman who has many brand new friends. I see a woman who is embracing discovery every single day. I see a woman who now says yes to adventure and who seizes the why not mentality with gusto. I see a woman who is building an empire. I see a woman who thinks of those strands of gray mixed with the blonde as sassy silver streaks. I see hope.
The past few years were incredibly traumatic. Since being here, I have woken up screaming from a nightmare that was only terrifying because I'd been remembering rather than dreaming. Reality can often be more horrifying than fantasy. Sometimes the trauma washes over me like a tsunami of sorrow and crushes me to the ground. But that's okay...I now have time to deal with the pain, to claim it, to allow it to wash through me so I can let it go. For good.
You see, when I was consumed with being a mom and holding everything together--convinced I needed to always be strong--a lot of horrible crap got shoved down deep in my soul. I'm in a safe place now, a secure place in my life, and it's just as okay for me to indulge in despair when I need to as it is for me to dance in bliss for the first time in far too long.
That's the beauty of being alone and having the freedom to make peace with my past. I can do whatever the hell I want. I can be whomever I choose to be in any given moment. No apologies or excuses.
This is my time to reconnect with the woman I am and discover the woman I am meant to become. I have the power to make my next chapter the best chapter. It's pretty amazing to finally figure that out.
Peace to you.