Boy, it sure has taken a long time before I realized that I was not practicing what I’ve been preaching. I’ve spent a lot of energy writing about following one’s dreams, being true to yourself, living by your intuition. Sure sounded good.
Living it? Not so much, as it turns out. I don’t know if it’s just women of my generation (baby boomers) or whether it’s shared as a symptom of how women behave globally. But I still have trouble being true to myself rather than “being nice,” or, to put it another way,”making nice.” That is, I spend the majority of my time taking care of things so that others will be happy–or what I think will make them happy. Therein lies the rub! I could spend a half day planning, shopping for and cooking a meal that I think would be special for dinner. Except that, come to find out, my husband is not so particular–and wouldn’t be capable of even dreaming up some of these dishes–and would be just as happy with just about anything else I threw together at the last minute.
So, that’s number one: pleasing others. I was thinking about how I spent the first year in the cottage by the sea, entertaining family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, as well as sleepover weekends. I was reminded by my landlady recently that I took the cottage “to write.” But because the locale was so incredible, and mostly because I thought this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that might not repeat itself, I threw myself into opening it up to as many people as I could. It was a lot of work. It was also fun. But it was a lot of work.
Now that we are beginning our third season, things have settled down. A lot. I’m going to write again and spend time by myself in addition to being together on the weekends with my husband, G. I’ve brought up a minimal amount of dishes and things to have around. I’ve left open the view of the room from end to end so that nothing interferes with taking in the ocean view.
It’s the same with other occasions too. I used to do what I knew someone else wanted me to do–but was uncomfortable for me, and now, I don’t do that anymore. I do as much as I can. But I am finally learning how not to step over my own line in the sand. Or, even to acknowledge to myself that I even have a line in the sand!
I have thought about why this is so hard for me. Could it be due to my being Asian? or just because I’m female? Maybe it’s because I don’t think I am very important in the grand scheme of things. And that to justify my existence, I made it my business to make other people happy. Except, sadly, you can’t. I mean, I can do things so that others have an enjoyable time. But I can’t make them happy. And I can’t keep myself in the closet anymore either.
So, here’s to walking the talk of being myself. All the time.