There is something therapeutic about losing yourself in the moment. The conscious act of indulging out of your norm opens your eyes and is a key to a rewarding life experience. Choosing to lose yourself is about chance and growth, and can be very positive.
But what happens when you lose yourself by accident? Worse, what if you don’t even realize you’ve gone missing?
If you don’t understand what I am asking, I can liken it to this: have you ever stumbled upon an object that you didn’t realize was lost? Upon laying your eyes on it, you are suddenly overwhelmed with joy and familiarity. You didn’t realize how much you missed it until it was right before your eyes once again?
Arguably, that can happen with ourselves. Through life events, the passage of time, adult responsibilities and daily repetition, we slowly misplace pieces of who we are. We don’t always realize this until we have let go of too much, or because something simple reminds us, like a song, memory or familiar experience.
The moment I put myself aside was the day I became a mother. No longer was I just living for myself, so my needs, wants and plans were quickly put aside. A tiny person required so much of me, and I willingly and lovingly provided all I could.
The days and nights were a blur due to lack of sleep, and I found myself forgetting to eat, living off of coffee, showering when I could, cuddling, comforting, feeding and repeating. I quickly adapted to my new role, and continued it with the birth of a second child. I didn’t notice the line blurring from adapting to my new life and being consumed by it. Although I was extremely secure in my position as wife and mom, I misplaced myself as an individual, and I didn’t even realize it.
I can pinpoint the moment I stumbled upon myself again. After more than three years of this happy, exhausting new life, everything changed with an invitation to a birthday party. For once, it wasn’t a child’s party, it was adults only and would involve proper attire, alcohol, dancing and a late night... by choice.
I experienced a mix of excitement, nerves and anticipation. When the night finally arrived, I found a dress in my closet, styled my hair, applied makeup and made sure my husband had bottles ready for the baby. When I stepped into my friend’s car with speakers that were bumping dance music, a wave washed over me. Just like that, I felt like a teenager again. In that moment, I wasn’t responsible for anyone’s happiness but my own, and it was exactly the wakeup call I needed.
I was introduced to partygoers not as a wife and a mother but as an individual. They saw me, knew me and liked me for me, and the feeling was overwhelming. Somewhere on that dance floor, between the old school music of my youth, the vodka bottle service, the dancing and the laughter, I found that girl once again, and there was no going back - she was here to stay.
That night started a personal renaissance. I focused again on my wants and needs, and sought out my individual happiness. I spent time outdoors, exercised, wrote, was interviewed on the radio, and connected with friends on a level that didn’t revolve around children.
In retrospect, I regained a sense of who I was fairly quickly into my parenthood journey. Some women take decades, and others never do. I know and am true to myself, and realized that it was paramount that I resurfaced once again.
The me that I found was happy, youthful, carefree, fun and expressive. Discovering her shaped how I wanted to live the rest of my life and how I wanted to influence my children. I chose to set an example of self love and being true to oneself. I can only wish that they’ll follow in my footsteps, because it sure is good to feel like myself again.