September 6, 2020

Losing Oneself

Losing Oneself
“Once you lose yourself, you have two choices: find the person you used to be, or lose that person completely.”

- H.G. Wells

She said she thinks I may be having a mid life crisis. Perhaps I am.

I was like most good mothers, one who threw herself completely into motherhood. I gave all I had to give of myself. But one of the problems of giving all of yourself is that you tend to lose yourself in the process. In essence you tend to lose a sense of who you are, or who you were at least before your life was about more than just you.

And usually what happens is that when you finally come up for air and look around, the world has changed.  Perhaps your qualifications are no longer valid or your work experience outdated. Sometimes what you used to do as a career no longer interests you, because the truth is you have changed too. Your priorities have shifted. Your patience for things has altered and you struggle to get a sense of who you are now and what it is that you really want.

When you are no longer really needed anymore as a mother, in the way in which you were needed when your children were babies or toddlers, you are left with the scary notion of now not belonging anywhere. This can come as quite a shock. It can also be emotionally wounding. And while we struggle with those feelings of rejection and dislodgment, time continues to do its thing and passes. We feel a pressure to figure it out, to do something, to have a purpose. Tick, tock.

It is my experience that when a door closes, there is no point in trying to pry it open again. As difficult as it may be, you have to be willing to see other doors and risk venturing down new paths. This often means starting from scratch. We ultimately have to re-invent ourselves. In the breadth of a woman’s life she has to do this many times. It makes me think that perhaps there are many versions of us lying around, like the drafts of a novel that await final editing in order to be published. Which particular version is the better one, is subjective.

So now I am in the process of re-invention. An uncomfortable yet also exciting period of transformation. Like the autumn leaves that are starting to turn colour and will soon fall to the ground, so too must I slip out of the garment of my old life, and with it release the old ways that no longer serve me.

So perhaps I did lose myself through motherhood. But the way I see it that is ok. It is part of the process of life and really there was no other choice. Even if you are warned or aware of the risk, one has no choice but to abandon sense and throw oneself fully into it. In this way perhaps motherhood is a lot like falling in love. There is only one way to love, and that is completely.

“I feel like I have lost myself. I want to find the “Me” that went away with you. The part of me that loved so unceasingly without condition. The part of me that loved the way you taught me how to love. The part of me that felt more real than I ever felt before. No one seems to find that “Me” and I can’t find Me either.”
― Kate McGahan