fall leaves photo
Photo by LABabble

Doesn’t the R. I. P. Challenge make you feel like fall is finally coming? Fall has always been my favorite season, even when I was a girl. Ever since I was girl, it has felt like the real beginning of the year. Perhaps there is something to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah or even Samhain that makes more sense to me than New Years Eve, which is a holiday I have always disliked. Fall really feels like the beginning of the year to me. It could be that I’m a teacher, and I work to the rhythm of the school year. It has always seemed to me that each September brings new opportunities and a clean slate—a chance to start anew.

I don’t think I’m too different from many women in that I spent a great deal of my life worrying about myself, what people think of me, and whether I’m okay. It has taken a long time and a lot of work, as well as questioning a lot of what I was brought up and socialized to think, but I am finally becoming comfortable with myself. I could kick myself over how long it’s taken, or I could just be happy it is happening. I decided to do the latter. After all, I think plenty of people never arrive at that place. I do feel happier and more confident than I have in a long time. Perhaps ever. What a gift.

On the one hand, I wonder if my levothyroxine might have something to do with it. An underactive thyroid can cause depression symptoms (in addition to a whole host of other seemingly unrelated symptoms). I have now been on my medication for a month. I can’t remember the last time I felt so little anxiety. I am not sure I’d be me if I didn’t have some anxiety, but it’s been freeing to worry less.

I was socialized, like a lot of girls, to put others before myself. On some of the occasions when I have not done so, particularly as an adult, the repercussions, particularly from family, have been swift. I have spent a great deal of time—too much time—worrying about what other people think of me. Perhaps it is my approaching 45th birthday, but I just can’t do it anymore. I admit I admire some of these millennial women I see who have such strong ideas of who they are, of what is fair and equal treatment for women, of what they want. Perhaps it’s just a perception, and they feel the same inside as I always felt. It sure seems to me like their demands to be treated with respect are different from what I’ve seen in women of my generation and previous generations. I have come to realize that I really do need to take care of myself and that I need to see my own value. That doesn’t mean I need to be selfish. It means I need to love myself.

It’s hard to say that. That I love myself. It’s a new feeling. I have spent a lot of my life not really sure if I do love myself or if it was appropriate to feel that way about myself. I spent a lot of time doubting and second-guessing and worrying. I just don’t want to do it anymore. And it doesn’t really matter if I do because if I doubt and second-guess and worry, it doesn’t change what other people think about me anyway. So, in the end, there really isn’t much point in all the worrying.

I don’t know how it will change my relationships, or if it will, but I already sense a shift in my marriage. I feel closer to my husband. I’m also sensing a shift at work. Yes, I work hard, and give my job the attention it deserves. But I am trying, and succeeding more all the time, to leave my job at work and be more present at home.

I just feel different. I’m happy. It feels good.


7 thoughts on “Me

  1. A lot of this sounds so familiar to where I am in life right now at almost-42. I’m just starting to feel that need for change, both in the way I treat myself and in the way I let how I feel about me affect how I treat others. Perhaps this is what a midlife crisis is all about? I am still working on getting to that place where I feel happy more often but I’m glad to know that it can be done!
    Kristen M. recently posted…#RIPXI: 1, Ghostly EchoesMy Profile

    1. If it’s a midlife crisis, I’ll take it. It’s not too bad. No pool boys or bars at 2:00 AM! I am no expert, but it does feel pretty different to me lately since I haven’t been putting myself on the back-burner or the sidelines.

  2. Hug! It sounds wonderful to have less anxiety — when I first started my antidepressants, I was astonished at how much energy I had to devote to other things because I wasn’t spending all that brain energy fretting and weeping. Better living through chemistry!

    I think I’m one of the millennial women in question, and, I mean, it was a process. I’m lucky that as I was moving into adulthood, I had access to the ideas and arguments of a lot of different people — I know that has helped me tremendously in all areas of my feminism. And I’m more assertive than I was in college about what I’m worth and taking care of myself and what I won’t tolerate in my life. But I still have lots and lotttts of self doubt. As I’m typing this, there is a large part of my mind that’s saying “shut up, she is not INTerested in that, stop being such a HORRIBLE BOSSY KNOW IT ALL.” But hopefully that’s just, like, residual bad gender messaging. :p
    Jenny @ Reading the End recently posted…A Master Post of Celebrities Who Can’t WinkMy Profile

    1. I totally get it. I sometimes feel cheated by how I was socialized when I compare it with young women today. When I think about some of the things people did and said to me that I was supposed to accept, it makes me angry. Assertiveness is definitely something I’ve had to learn.
      Dana recently posted…MeMy Profile

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