I had to drive into Boston to visit a good friend in the hospital this morning……And I was very anxious about it. It has been years since I have driven into the city. When we go in, my husband drives. If I go in by myself, I take public transportation.
I have been reading two books by Joan Anderson, her first book “A Year by the Sea” and a book she wrote a number of years later, based on that book, called “A Weekend to Remember”. Both books are about retreating to find and re-claim parts of yourself that have been lost.
On my way into the city this morning, I drove an old familiar route, old and familiar because I used to LIVE in the city. Even when I didn’t live in the city, I used to drive in at least every weekend, because my two best friends lived in the city. When I met my Husband, he lived in the city, and I drove in every night after work to see him. Every. Night.
When did I become afraid of so many things?
When did I begin sheltering myself in the comfort of ROUTINE?
When did I stop trying new things?
When did I become so regimented?
If I think about it, I guess a lot of it started when we moved back here 14 years ago and my Mom started slipping. The overwhelm that I experienced as her primary caregiver was terrifying, and I think I grabbed on to anything I could that was familiar. Anything to make me feel safe. My Husband was a big safety vest. He could do the hard stuff, like driving in traffic, he didn’t like how I drove anyway, so it was just easier to give that up and let him drive. Let him be the adventurous one. Let him be the risk taker. That was fine with me…….
Except, that did not used to be fine with me. I used to be the girl that made her own way in the world. I used to be the girl that took herself down to Washington D.C. and figured out how to put herself through college, working three jobs. I used to be the girl that lived in Boston after college, and made her own way in the world in the big city…….WITH A CAR…..LIVING IN THE NORTH END……
I used to be the girl that loved adventure and travel and learning foreign languages and visiting art exhibits and attending concerts.
I used to be the girl that moved with a practical stranger to the freaking VIRGIN ISLANDS……sight unseen- with NO job and NO connections and NO IDEA how I was going to survive there. I survived there-quite well, as a matter of fact. I even managed to start my own child care and tutoring business. A pretty successful one, I might add…..
WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT GIRL???
WHEN DID SHE BECOME THIS PERSON WHO IS AFRAID TO GO INTO THE CITY UNLESS HER HUSBAND IS DRIVING THE CAR??????
In Joan Anderson’s books, she talks about going back and visiting your past, to see the qualities that you have that have become buried under layers of fear and the compulsion to meet everybody else’s expectations. She talks of finding these lost parts of ourselves in solitude. In journaling. In taking mental and emotional trips to the past. Like an expedition.
I am ready and yearning to re-discover that brave, spunky, young woman who scraped and clawed and survived a lot of obstacles to make her way in the world. She is still here-and she is ready to re-discover her world.
Bring it on……..