Something Different

She woke up as a person she no longer recognized, trapped in a life she’d never anticipated. All the shine from the past had dulled, and she figured she was being forced to see how the other half lived.

It wasn’t fun.

“I can’t claim this is a phase anymore,” she confessed to her friend. “This in now my life.”

The reality disturbed her, a grand step up from not caring. Disturbance provoked change. Disturbance rattled the norm. But behind the desire to change lurked the fear that she was unworthy. While she fully believed in her own responsibility for her life, she couldn’t release the sensation that she was being humbled. Humbled, by an unseen force, by an unbelieved in God, by something beyond her power.

As much as she’d like to take credit for the positive changes in her life along the way, she had to admit that the jumps forward had come effortlessly and had surprised her. In the midst, she’d glance over her shoulder as if looking for the puppeteer, only to catch a stranger’s gaze. Flashing an awkward smile, she’d march forward, puzzled by her good fortune.

Those were distant memories. The good fortune she felt these days was simple. Good health. Nice home. Great kid. Things others dream of, but things she had taken for granted as the starting point. She dismissed the awareness of her greed as an old story. Yes, she was blessed, but those blessings did nothing to alleviate her inner sorrow.

When Katrina took New Orleans, and survivors struggled as a community, she felt envious. They had each other. Her aloneness was suffocating her. Moving through her day, she choked back every emotion in order to maintain her strong and polished exterior, a habit she couldn’t shake. And like a wax figurine, she began to look less and less lifelike, further repelling others and adding to her isolation.

Seven years. Seven years since her marriage ended and the current journey began. The seven-year itch in a new context. The clichéd sentiment, “it wasn’t supposed to be like this” ran through her head like an overplayed torch song. She stopped talking to friends for fear of sounding redundant. She imagined moving to a new city where starting fresh was the only option.

But she had her son, and he required stability. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t impose her solution on him. No, she’d signed on as parent, and in her world that required self-sacrifice. As a local solution, she traveled her familiar city looking for spots of unfamiliarity, any opportunity to make a first impression. But her old tricks no longer worked.


All she really wanted was a little encouragement. A wink or a nod saying that, yes, she was headed in the right direction, that all her attempts were not misguided. And maybe someone to watch her back. At least some of the time.


Gigi said...

I'm what's called a lurker I guess...reading blogs and praying for the people and occassionally reaching out with what I hope to be an encouraging word or thought....
It's a journey....all of it.....sometimes we 'think' we're alone but truth is we never are....most of the time though it does feel like it....

Anonymous said...

May she know that she is loved beyond measure and protected by hosts of angels.

Willie Baronet said...

Wow, what incredible writing. If she is real or if she is you, then I am sending out this encouragement. You are not alone, and you are gifted. Blessings.

Emily said...

This is so poignant and honest. May the she of this piece find that someone to watch her back...may the shine return.