I’d snuck out of my London flat at 4am, the day after classes had finished for the semester, and didn’t tell anyone (save my Dad back in California) where I was going. And even I didn’t really know where I was going. I had just finished up a semester of school in London and decided that I didn’t want to go home.
I stood on that freezing deck, with my hair being blown all over, listening to Duncan Sheik on my DiscMan and the wonderful, scary, beautiful enormity of life hit me. Anything was possible. I had no money and one friend in Dublin and
absolutely no plans in mind.
Anything was possible.
I can’t describe that feeling. The feeling of knowing the entire world is laying at your feet. The feeling of being tied down by absolutely nothing. I felt a little like a kite or a balloon that had been set free from it’s string…I could go anywhere. Do anything. The world felt huge. There were a billion “what ifs” on that day and they all felt electric and wonderful.
Eventually I did go home. I got pregnant. I had a baby and then got married and then had more babies. I graduated from college with an arts degree and promptly settled into being a cubicle drone. Staring at grey walls 8 hours a day. Getting fat
and unhealthy. Confining my life and my world to what went on inside the four walls of my home.
I did what most of my peers were doing. I participated in online mom communities. I started blogging. I found comfort in this collection of women doing what I was doing, living lives so similar to mine.
What I didn’t realize was…I wasn’t as happy as I could be. I wasn’t living my best life. That feeling I felt on the bow of the ferry on the Irish Sea was so incredibly distant. If you’d asked me, I would have told you I was happy and I truly believe I thought I was as happy and fulfilled as I could be. But I was wrong.
In the midst of all of that life happening in my four walls, my marriage went to crap. I spent years faking that it was great, faking my happiness, but in reality it was failing for a long time. I finally left.
And then at 33 years old, I found myself a single mom to three kids who didn’t know what the hell she was doing with life. I was lost. I felt like a raft being tossed around in stormy seas. I was miserable, scared, worried, anxious, lonely.
I stepped out into the unknown. I had no plans. Just as I had 12 years previous, I was standing on the edge of a completely open world…only this time I was terrified and depressed. The wonder and electricity was gone. What changed?
I guess I could make all sorts of excuses about how now I had kids or now I had a real job but let’s be honest. Those are all just excuses. The real, hard, honest truth was that I completely lost myself as I aged. I fell into motherhood (and a little bit of mommy martyrdom) and marriage and that became my entire life. The problem was… that wasn’t truly who I was. My ideas, my passions, my happiness all somehow managed to take a backseat to birthing babies and being a good wife. So much so that when I suddenly found myself alone….I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t even really know who I was.
Standing on the edge of the world with everything laid out before you and not knowing who you are or what you are supposed to do with it is one of the most profoundly depressing, sad, horrible, devastating feelings I think anyone can ever
Finding my fancy has been a long process. And I’m still finding it. But everyday I get closer. You know how I know? Because every day I am happier.
My fancy is when I’m sweating buckets at the gym. My fancy is every time I step on the scale and am lighter than the time before. My fancy is when I am at the theatre directing a show and actually using my degree. My fancy is those nights home with the kids when they are helping me cook dinner and music is playing and we are all happy and mellow. My fancy is when I am able to do things for my kids that I didn’t think I was capable of. My fancy is my stable, mellow, sweet home I have created and it’s knowing that there is life outside those walls, too. My fancy is my life that includes my children, my partner, my pets, my passions, traveling, concerts, music,…and the rest world outside of these four walls.
I honestly never realized it was missing. It wasn’t until I was on the brink, on the edge of the world, looking into that scary wide open world that I realized something was missing. And that thing was me.
I think I am my own fancy and I just never realized it. I let it slip away and didn’t realize it. I’m glad I figured it out. Now I can focus on never losing it again.
Fancy Pants is a community writing project. Moms sharing their journey to bringing together the mama and the woman. Without guilt. Without judgment. Finding a way to care for ourselves and our families. It aint easy.
To be a part of this project send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org