Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Black Bra Wisdom: Decide what to be, and go be it

Maybe the heat and humidity are wearing on me; simply taking the dog out to do his business is oppressive. Maybe it’s the knowledge that summer vacation is almost at an end; I’m one of those weird parents who actually LIKES having my kids around. Maybe it’s the nagging pain resulting from being consistent about going to the gym the past couple of weeks (attagirl, Pam). Maybe it’s the combination of many things. Whatever it is, I haven’t been quite myself the past few days.

Matter of fact, on Sunday I felt downright depressed. My boys were away, there were bills to pay and no money to pay them, and my to-do list seemed to be growing longer instead of shorter, regardless of how many frogs I ate.

Then I looked at this week’s list more closely and saw that I was scheduled to write a blog post called Black Bra Wisdom. “I have no such wisdom to share,” I confided to Lindy and Megan. “I feel old and frumpy and overwhelmed, not sleek and sexy and sophisticated.” But they didn’t offer to let me off the hook. Those young whippersnappers. So here goes.

Decide what to be and go be it.

I didn’t come up with that line. It’s from a song by the Avett Brothers (the music video appears at the end of this post). But I wish I had, because it succinctly summarizes my philosophy of life.

When I was seven years old, I decided I wanted to be a piano teacher when I grew up and I never let anything stand in my way. I figured out the means to overcome every obstacle that appeared in my path and worked relentlessly until I had achieved my goal of receiving a master’s degree in piano performance and piano pedagogy; within three years, I built a studio of over fifty piano students.

I’ll never understand exactly what happened after that. But gradually over a period of time - as I struggled in an abusive marriage, had my business uprooted repeatedly, and dealt with the challenges of raising children and home schooling them - I lost myself. I threw my heart and soul into taking care of my growing family, and got swallowed whole in the process.

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin

It took me twenty years to come to this realization, then I asked for a divorce. It was messy and complicated, but at last I was free. The problem was I no longer knew who I was. And my self-confidence was shattered. All I knew how to do was to be a mom and teach piano, but since I had to parent almost single handedly and earn a living, those were good things. Slowly, slowly, I began to piece myself back together.

Unfortunately, however, I was also under the illusion that I needed to be a part of a couple to be complete. Happily ever after, right? So I spent years playing the online dating game, jumping from relationship to relationship, morphing myself in chameleon-like fashion into whomever the flavor of the month - or year, or years - happened to need.

Finally, after a broken engagement and another broken heart, something clicked. Yes, there have been a couple of short-term things since then, but my learning curve is improving. And during every stint as a truly single woman – no matter how brief - I discovered unfulfilled desires. I chose to run with them. And I was reminded of the pleasure of spending a Saturday night having fun with girlfriends.

Honestly? Most men can’t compete with the amazing women I know.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as chidren do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~Marianne Williamson, from A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

Not counting a couple of nights on the town, I have been single for four months now. It wasn’t easy at first. But once I got past the fear of being home alone on a Friday or Saturday night, I was all right. As a matter of fact, I am rather starting to like it.

Mom. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Dog lover. Piano teacher. Blogger. Novelist. Reader. Jewelry designer. Artist. Seamstress. Cook. Baker. 

I am all this, and so much more. I discover new things about myself, find new roads to wander, every day. It is exhausting. It is exhilarating. It is real. For the first time in a long time, I am really living.

And most days I’m wearing a black bra while I’m doing it.


Christine Ashworth said...

Awesome, Pam! Simply awesome. I adore Marianne Williamson. Have you checked out Jen Louden? She's amazing, too.

YOU are amazing. Hugs!

Megan said...

Beautiful, Pam. I think so many of us can relate to coming out of a time when others were the focus and into that stunning moment of, "wait, who am I again? who did I want to be?" I think I've been there for a while and am also just starting to claw my way toward my own vision of me again.

I agree with Christine. YOU are amazing.

WritersLiPP said...

Thank you so much, Christine. I am not familiar with Jen Louden but I will definitely check her out. Thanks for the hugs!

WritersLiPP said...

Go for it, Megan. I am beginning to understand it's the most important thing. Thank you for the sweetness.

Julee J. Adams said...

There you go. While we've taken totally different paths since high school, all we've been through brings us to here.

If anything, our fault may be that we think too small. We should celebrate those small things, but realize they are steps to our larger potential. So, while you may be experiencing some crummy things right now, I'm grateful you are seeing it as simply a course adjustment.

Ain't we sumthin'? Thanks and hope to see you in a couple days.

Pam Asberry said...

Well said, Julee. I can't wait to see you!

pat said...

Pam, this is such a touching, insightful, self-reflective description of your journey, and truly the best I have ever read. You are persevering and courageous. I can't imagine myself making it through all of that. You are an inspiration to all of us who want to become better than we are. Whatever this "formula" is you are using for your success, could you please add some of it to my drinking water?

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, Pat. You have known me a long time, and that means a lot to me. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula. But I recommend the frog diet! :-)

Lindy said...

You Rock!

pat said...

I just saw this quote and had to leave it on this blog...

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” Bob Moawad

Pam Asberry said...

Great quote, Pat. I'll definitely add this one to my collection. Thanks for sharing!

Denise said...

This might be my favorite post of yours. You know it spoke to my heart. The Nin quote is a favorite of mine.

Pam Asberry said...

I am so glad, Denise. I am so glad you are on the path with me!

Pam Asberry said...

I just saw your comment, Lindy. Thank you! :-)