Around 33, I decided my life wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t working for me for many reasons. Reasons that I created and reasons that I had no control over. To be frank it boils down to one simple fact; I do not fit into societal constructs.
What are social constructs? In a nutshell, it is what society expects from you and your life choices. This is an easy read for those interested in learning more about social constructionism.
When did I realize my life had taken a hard left turn when it was supposed to veer right? I literally woke up one day and didn’t recognize my life. Everything I had worked so hard for was so far in the past in felt like it might have actually been someone else’s life. When I looked at the pictures carefully placed on the wall in frames picked out special as a part of the ‘new house’ décor, I felt nothing. It was like looking at the sweet memories of someone else’s family.
I had been a part of every detail and every decision in this life we had built. So why couldn’t see myself anywhere in it?
Let’s take a step back…
Similar to most women, I eventually wanted to start a family. Similar to most women, I can also remember a time that I never wanted kids.
When I was 28, I wasn’t at the phase where I wanted kids yet. However, I was at a pivotal point in my adult life. When you choose the military as a career, it will eventually end. There is only so far to climb and age does matter when it comes to military service. So if you choose to make it a life career out of it, it will end in retirement. At 28, I had to decide to negotiate new sea duty orders (deployable) and stay on that track to retirement or get out. I chose to get out and finish graduate school with high hopes of a career in the psychology field. Oh, also I got married. Again.
Fast forward 18 months and my 11-year career as a photo-journalist is over. I have finished graduate school but have no prospects for work in the field of psychology in the state we picked to move to. I am now waiting tables to make friends since we picked a state we knew 0 humans in and all I can think about having a baby.
This was the beginning of me trying to live a life I am not designed for.
Soon I pregnant with Charlotte and babysitting for extra money. I played a stay-at-home mom and wife for 3 years. For three years I woke up living someone else’s dream because I decided that is what I wanted and what was best. I went to bed every night telling myself that the feelings I was feeling were normal and would go away over time.
Holy shit I wish I had had a therapist at that point in my life.
It wasn’t until the end of last year that I started feeling like myself again. Once I stopped trying to fit into the mold society has made for me I feel free again.
I am a different kind of wife, different kind of mother and different kind woman. At the end of the day I try to help others; not hurt them. I have made the mistake in the past with being too open about my life and all that it encompasses and I have lost connections. It can be uncomfortable for those who do fit nicely into social constructs. I often think to myself that life would be much easier if I could just “go with the flow.”
At 33 I started asking myself what is more important, fitting in or feeling complete?
My choices make some people uncomfortable, and that is ok. It has to be ok, because I am no longer willing to sacrifice my comfortability for yours. So if you feel like-minded, wondering why you feel like a fish out of water, try living outside societal norms. Be yourself; as long as yourself is not a serial killer 😉