The me I used to be

The me I used to be was the title of a Harlequin NEXT book I read back in 2005.  I don’t really remember the story or the characters much, but I do remember how the title and message resonated within me.  Lately, a lot of my depressive episodes have been moments of unresolved grief over the loss of self, losing and forgetting the me I used to be.

I absolutely loved music, all kinds, but especially music that I could dance to, and for me that was most varieties.  Being a teen in the 80’s and a twenty-something in 90’s, as well as a resident of the Pacific Northwest, butt rock, hair metal, and grunge/pop, along with some of the New Country/Pop crossovers, were much of what I could dance to.  Thanks to my uncle and mother a lot of the classic rock and early southern rock also had a place in my heart.  Epic, pop ballads of the early 80’s had their place as well.  There were a good two and a half decades of my life where listening to the radio, walking around with a boom box or walkman, and “be-bopping” around were not just part of my daily routine, it was an inherent part of my being.  Now I think the last time I listened to the radio or chose music that I wanted to hear was in March or April, when I was driving in a ZipCar, by myself.  I haven’t been out dancing since 2006 and haven’t danced around to music in the privacy of my home for probably a year and a half.

During a recent impromptu visit from my son and his fiancee, we we talking and jumping from one topic to another, and something triggered me.  I don’t know exactly what it was, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with music and/or dancing.  All I know is that I started tearing up in the middle of what I was saying.  I wish I could say this was an unusual occurrence for me, but it isn’t.  It seems that whenever I’m having a “real” conversation with someone, I am going to wind up with tears welling in my eyes and a choked sensation rising in my chest and throat.  It was just unexpected that I would experience that sort of thing while chatting it up with my son and his fiancee.  I tried to downplay it and move on, but he called me on it and basically suggested that it wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t something I needed to pay attention to.  Pretty wise for a 25-yr old, right?  So, without going into much detail, I told him that I knew exactly what it was ~ unresolved grief over losing the pieces of my self that had meant I was living life and not just surviving it.

Since starting this blog, I have somehow gotten caught into the gravitational pull of Le Clown from A Clown On Fire.  If you’ve never met Le Clown, The Ringmistress, The Whispering Petunia, and Lord Evil Poppy Tiny Geek and you have an appreciation for snarky, absurd, satirical, ways of dealing with life and the world at large, give it a read.  At first I wasn’t certain I “fit in” as a follower.  I’d lost much of my ability to be amused by satire and snark, but there was something compelling about it.  Then I began reading through the prolific comments that grew on the tail of many posts and I realized that there were friendships flourishing and growing in this arena.  Interesting, creative, witty, real people with real lives and real problems were relating to each other with compassion, caring, and beautifully crafted insults and self-deprecating humour.  I was especially drawn to the friendship between Le Clown and Dotty Headbanger and how their comments on each others posts showed relational connectedness in the online arena of blogging.  It intrigued me and triggered a kind of longing to belong and somehow find a place within this community.

I found it difficult to figure out how to join in on the fun of responding to the posts with the witty, snarky, and well-intentioned ribbing, teasing, and insults which flowed so easily and readily through the comments.  I found myself lurking and liking and only occasionally dipping my toes into the sea of comments.  I felt dull and cumbersome and incapable of being fun and playful.  It wasn’t until a few days ago when Le Clown’s creator, Eric, introduced himself, that I felt capable of interacting and engaging with any level of coherence and competence.  I had actually been offline for several weeks and one of the first blogs I made it a point to visit was Le Clown’s.  Connecting with the person behind the persona opened up an opportunity where I felt capable of interacting without being clumsy and trying too hard and being completely awkward.  His gracious and good humoured reply gave me the confidence and prompted me to share a revelation about my own sense of longing:

Eric,
Truth be told, I think one of the reasons I enjoy your blog, and almost more importantly the comments, because it reminds me of my community college days and the group of friends I had who were all brilliantly intelligent, creative, witty, irreverent, and exceedingly snarky on the one-upsmanship of witty and caring put-downs. The rapid fire, well intentioned insults, one-liners and multiple entendres were epic. I miss those days, those friends, and those aspects of myself that got buried over the years. Thank you.
Kina

I used to be open, witty, creative, and have relationships with people I genuinely loved and cared about in a manner similar to what I had been witnessing on his blog, and without realizing it until that moment, I had completely abandoned that part of myself with the seeming loss of those relationships.

Not only was I missing the happy, dancing, music lover, I was also missing the open, social, engaging, and creative wordsmith and verbal sparring champion I used to be.  Most importantly, I missed the people and the relationships that made it so natural, simple, and easy to be those things.

I owe Le Clown/Eric and Dotty a debt of gratitude, because their blogs and relationship with each other helped me see the me I used to be and due to that I took a risk and reached out to the two key people from my past who were an inherent part of my past self.  They were the first two real relationships I developed   in my 20’s and I absolutely loved these people and had so many good times, as well as a few challenging times with them and the rest of our group.  However, due to geographic challenges and my inability to maintain connections. ~ primarily from my ever spiraling chaos and fall into relationship addiction, depression, and the instability of not being able to sustain consistent employment and housing due to the depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia, I abandoned these relationships.  They are in town and we made arrangements to meet yesterday.

Being with them was like coming home.  I felt some pieces of myself resurfacing and coming back to me.  There was none of the awkwardness that had been an underlying fear of mine.  I know that I will never be that twenty-something girl again, and frankly, you couldn’t pay me to go back to being her or reliving that time of my life.  However, the essence of who she was and who I was created to be, are being restored along with the restoration of these important relationships. The me I used to be is informing the me I’m coming to be

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36 comments

  1. This brought tears to my eyes. Not only because it’s eloquent and you say nice stuff…but because you are powerfully articulate about your longing, your reintegration, your mourning for a past self. Woman, if we lived closer, we’d be having coffee…

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  2. Supposedly, we can never go home again, and in some cases that’s a good thing. But now that you know the things of your past “home,” you’re on your way, choosing the path. This is a wonderful, raw and touching blog. Thank you.

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  3. Hi, your raw honesty is like a balm to the soul. You put yourself out there and that takes courage. Thank you for the follow, it is most appreciated. Keep in there, I know what its like to have to redefine yourself,after you have to lost yourself. I am sure that you will find your way, remember you are precious and you are loved always.

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  4. Kina,
    You remind me a lot of myself. I often feel like I’m not part of any inner circle, even when I’m with my circle of friends. I am a wallflower in a lot of ways, which is something I have embraced. It’s not positive or negative, it just is. I tend to lurk a lot online, but I love reading what you and all the other bloggers I follow are writing about. It is a new kind of circle, where you don’t need to worry about what you’re wearing or how your hair looks. You just have to blurt out whatever you’re thinking. I’m learning that I don’t have to be perfect in every post or comment. I’m good at the thing I do. The rest is a work in progress.

    You, Kina, are a wonderful member of this new circle I’m finding. I’m still on the fringes (and probably always will be), but I have found a place where other people besides my best friend understand who I am. So thanks for the understanding.

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    1. Mary,
      Thank you and you are welcome. I guess one of the things I miss about that time and the me I was, is that I was very much in the core group and one of the movers and shakers in our little circle. It was essentially the only time in my life where that happened and I felt as 2accepted and integrated in myself and within the little community we had built. If it hadn’t been for the one person initially reaching out to me and including me inside of his circle, I don’t think I ever would have known acceptance without judgment was possible for me.

      Kina

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  5. Your raw honesty is very moving and relatable. It’s a fast pace on COF and I often feel I can’t keep up with the repartee either. Not to mention that I write a food blog that’s a good creative outlet for me but doesn’t have the snarky edge of many of Le Clown’s follower/bloggers…I don’t always feel like I fit in. All this to say…a) you’re not alone and b) don’t feel shy about commenting on COF. Your thoughts are valid and important too. Plus, he’s so awesome and seems genuinely appreciative of every last one of his carnies. And there are lots of us like you, like Angel Fractured up there (based in her comment), like me, struggling to find/regain our confidence.

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  6. I also love reading Le Clown and the snarky comments, but I rarely ever join in. There are several reasons. First of all, I tend to be quite serious, and my blog reflects that. But of course I appreciate irony and sarcasm; I just don’t think I can pull it off. I’m always afraid I’ll say something, thinking it’s clever and witty, only for people to see it and be like, Wtf? Is she serious? Is that a joke? If so, it’s not a good one.

    Anyway, I guess all I’m saying is that I can relate, and you expressed the appeal here quite well.

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  7. Brilliant post. It is a wonderful, dynamic community here on wordpress, & Dotty & Le Clown are such stars. Thanks to Le Clown for the reblog. Hugs & peace & magical wishes for recovering your real self.

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    1. Much gratitude for your kind words and regard. There are so many who have visited today that I’m overwhelmed… much like being discovered and surrounded in welcome by family I never knew I had.
      Blessings to you.

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  8. this was a very touching post.. well written and sincere! I too am a fan of Le Clown and Dotty…this blogging circle rocks 🙂 Keep digging and keep finding yourself–

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  9. Great post. I still feel like an impostor blogger and yet all these smart, funny people give me lots of love. It feels like a very nurturing community, and by “nurturing” I mean lovingly abusive. Haha!
    We all seem to be from the same tribe. We’re all works in progress. I’m certain that you’ll not only find all those forgotten and neglected pieces of yourself, you’ll dance with them : )

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    1. AgrippingLife,
      I think the most compelling thing about this entire thing, at least for me, is the fact that there were only a few, brief years in my 20’s where I truly felt part of a “tribe.”

      I’m being a bit overwhelmed with emotion at all the response and welcoming comments I’ve been getting. I may have to be much more circumspect with my credits and gratitude in the future, or at least much more willing to believe it’s possible for me.

      Thank you,
      Kina

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  10. Kina,
    I’m glad you’re following Le Clown Dotty Headbanger, two of my favorite blogworld inhabitants, and have let us in on your selves, the one you are and the one you’re coming to be. Being under “a bit” of construction myself, I love hearing from folks who are treading the same path and with such sensitivity and intelligence.

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    1. Paralaxvu,
      Dotty is a wonderful blogger, but everyone knows already the way I feel for her. She’s witty, extremely cunning, loving, and brilliant. She has been a great influence on how I blog.
      Le Clown

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  11. This is really great. I can relate, kind of. Until I started my blog I didn’t know that I could be smart, funny, witty, or snarky without being totally blasted. Now I know that I can be just as good when I’m sober.
    It’s always good to see people finding themselves again. Congrats.

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      1. Thank you Le Clown. I have to wonder if you follow anyone that ISN’T good. Every recommendation you have is great. Life would be boring without you and your carnies.

        Dotty is great too. I made it into her collection. A Mormon Design Engineer. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one.

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  12. HiR,
    Oh my goodness… I found your post truly touching, and I had no idea my blog had this impact on you. I’m happy you feel connected tot its content, and Le Clown’s character, and I, the author, am grateful you are reading my blog, and being part of it. You are good people, and you sure know how to write a thoughtful post.
    Eric

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    1. Eric,
      Thank you seems inadequate, yet it’s the purest expression of gratitude I have at the moment. You and Le Clown are awesome, but don’t let Le Clown know I am indebted, I’m wary of what would be required in repayment.

      Kina

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