June 26, 2012

What Am I Doing with My Life and Other Annoying Questions

Today's guest blogger wrote such a honest, soul-searching post, and I'm honored that she is letting me post it here. Taylor blogs at both Our Military Home and Dear Olympia, and I hope you'll check out both of her spaces. I can identify with so much of what she says (minus all the accomplishments, like law school!). I know you will, too.

I often wonder how my perception of life changes so quickly.  One day, I feel like queen of the world.  Opportunities are coming my way, our marriage is doing pretty well, and I'm excited about my future.  In what seems like an instant, it all changes and I don't know why.  I start to imagine the stares and reproaches of others who say, "what are you doing with your life?" or "your work at home career is just a joke, you're better than that" or "look at your marriage, you two barely connect and everyone can see that."  I know I'm making up most of these criticisms based on my own insecurity and I become angry with myself for doing it.

I never thought of myself as being insecure, but I've always had something tangible to work toward that made me feel good about myself like getting a scholarship, finishing college, finishing law school, the wedding, getting married, and moving here. Then one day, shortly after graduation, it all came to a complete halt as I saw myself sitting at home, alone, in a place I didn't like with a husband I couldn't talk to.  

I went through a period of extreme sadness and insecurity.  My plan for my life was shaken violently off of its hinges as I realized that I could not have the career I thought I'd have due of my husband's military career.  The hardest part?  There was absolutely nothing I could do about it.  I've had a similar experience with my marriage.  Without going into too many details, my husband is extremely introverted, to the point that he apparently became reclusive while he was in C school before we got married.  After two years of long distance dating and an engagement, we married and moved in together and I saw first hand how reclusive and introverted he had become.  Even having a simple conversation over dinner was like pulling teeth. 

The situation is different for every person, but I think we all have experienced that crystal clear realization that something important to us just won't happen the way we want it to happen.  We mentally fight it, saying to ourselves, but I can do x, y, and z!  I can make it happen!  I can push myself!  Then reality sets in and, sharp as a knife, the truth cuts into us.  In terms of my career, I came face to face with the ugliness of my pride.  How could I be "just a housewife"?  I was embarrassed of myself and worried that others were embarrassed of me. Then I had that moment of clarity when I realized that it is out of my control.  I'm along for the ride and I must try to enjoy it and adapt.  It was the same thing with my marriage. I tried to fight our problems by reading every book, trying every tactic, doing anything I could to combat our communication problems.  I cried, got angry, became hopeless, cried some more, ignored it, then repeated everything.  Then I had that crystal clear moment and realized that I can't really do anything else right now except love him unconditionally.  

Most days I'm content.  Not overly happy, not jumping for joy at the way things have gone, but content.  Then one day, I'll be going about my business, unsuspecting, and it happens.  The doubts start to come back and so does the fear and pride.  I start to compare myself to others and, worse, to an imaginary image of myself that I've created, an image to which I'll never measure up.  I wish I could tell you some magic formula to make these thoughts and this attitude go away, but I don't.  I have learned that if I keep it bottled up and press on, the thoughts tend to turn into more physical problems like insomnia or despair.  I'm slowly learning how to identify them and when I do, I write them out like I am now.  Even if it's just to myself, getting it out into the open seems to help.  Erika recently wrote a post called "Secret Keepers and the Truth" and noted that for all of our attempts to bare our souls, bloggers keep secrets.  I do.  

I'm not sure why I wrote this post and it certainly doesn't have a clear cut point.  I suppose I just hope that if someone out there is struggling with something they will feel that they aren't alone. 

Our Military HomePhotobucket

8 kind comments from you:

____j said...

This is raw honesty I can relate to. Thank you!

Erica @ Mi Todo said...

Great post! I just graduated law school too. I'm currently studying for the bar but my hubby is a career Marine so I will be "just a housewife" for a while too. I'm actually really looking forward to it, though, and I won't let anyone make me feel inferior for it. But I know what you mean about behind-the-blog life. Theres definitely stuff I wish I could write about.

greaterexp said...

Thanks for putting so well into words what I think virtually every woman (and man, too, I'd bet) feels at times throughout their lives. I guess life is the roller coaster we can't eject from, but must learn to accept and enjoy as much as possible. You're obviously doing that beautifully, even when it's rough.

Jane said...

Wonderful post! I love being a housewife, it's what I always wanted to do, and even though it's what I had planned for my life I still get embarrassed by it sometimes. When people ask what I do, I tell them what I use to do. I use to be a behavioral therapist. That sounds impressive. Housewife makes people think I should be doing more. It's hard to stay positive with that stigma. BUT, I think you are doing such a lovely job of doing what is right for your family right now, and going with the flow is the best you can do.

Michelle said...

Oh man, this is awesome! Career/life wise I relate 200%. I battle these thoughts and insecurities every single day. I feel embarrassed when people ask me what I do for a living. It's always good to know we're not alone!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I'm a 27 year old male I have a job that pays the bills and a girlfriend who really cares about me. I feel the same as you do, and lately, much more often. Knowing others feel as I do makes me feel slightly less alone.

charla beth said...

i love her honesty. life never goes the way we plan and we're never quite the people we hope to be, but we're all just trying the best we can. there's so much freedom in knowing that.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy I read this. I almost teared up, because I feel so similarly. I also followed my fiance to a place I don't love where there are little opportunities for me. Most days, I feel like having love is the greatest accomplishment, especially because my parents divorced when I was 3. My relationship is wonderful, but my relationship with myself and my status in life isn't great. I can't believe I studied so long and did so much only to feel like I have halted. I believe we all have to find peace with where we are and I'm so glad there are other people who struggle with this same exact type of situation

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