For much of my life, I played small, and even sat hunched over, legs crossed, taking up as little space as I could. I thought I was protecting myself from pain, and would become target practice if I lived in plain view, open and exposed. What would other people think of me if I released myself, and dared to create and express myself? I had questions and ideas at work, but I didn’t want to be “too much” outside the lines of my job description. I lived with my brakes on, and created deep ruts while I tried to move forward, and held myself back at the same time.
Silly me, in my fifties, life found me in my hiding place, dragged me out, and beat me up again and again. My son made decisions that, for me, felt like slaps in the face. How could he disagree with me and choose his own way in life? My healthy and fit husband got dementia in his fifties. I became his caregiver, and the job was 24/7 with lots of pain and heartbreak, and no pay. He disappeared before my eyes, and died of Lewy Body Dementia November first last year. This was not part of my plan. Reality choked me, and when the dust cleared I was left out in the open with no where to hide. Strangely, I wasn’t afraid.
I am 63 years old, and today, playing small doesn’t fit me; it’s the wrong size and is not my style. My job as a caregiver had required that I step up, be large and loud, and fight for the best care for Roger. I can’t go back and I don’t want to. I see that my son’s choices are what is so special and unique about him, and they are not about me. I am so proud of the man he has become. I am learning new things, and stretching myself out of my comfort zone. I play my banjo loudly and poorly, but still make music. My hero and teacher is Banjo John. He says I have to sing to learn how the banjo fits the music and vice versa, so I sing! I write this blog weekly, and somehow my thoughts get onto the screen and published. I risk having my writing criticized and rated, but I keep writing because I am a writer with things to say. I read and study extensivly about current affairs. I am the top student in my class of one. My need to express myself is so much bigger than any fears I have about being judged. My spirit and courage continue to be forged into steel by the fire that is life.