I am a sensitive person, perhaps oversensitive. I get upset for my family members when they are mistreated. I take it personally. It burns me up, consuming my mind, as I try to understand the logic or rationale behind someone else’s actions.
The other night, as I was angrily nursing Abraham to sleep (angry at a situation, not my precious nursling), I had a possibly life changing realization. Something I have known but finally sunk in.
It isn’t about me.
Do you ever watch a movie or read a book and feel like you are the main character? This happens to me a lot, I feel like I take on the emotional life of the main character. (Side note: I once took an empathy test, an online test to see if you have Asperger’s syndrome (I don’t) and I scored way above normal on empathy.) I think this is happening to me in real life too. I’m taking on someone else’s anger. I’m letting myself be hurt by actions that were not meant for me.
I have become the supporting actor in my own movie. My life isn’t about me.
That sounds strange to say, maybe even depressing, but after a moment, I found it to be freeing. My job here, in the movie now, is to support, is to let someone else’s story shine.
I had my chance (David said, when I had accomplished my career goal of acting professionally and burned out at 28, that I hit my mid-life crisis.) – I have had my dream job, I have travelled to amazing places and had great adventures, I have pursued my passions, I am experiencing true love.
As a mother to an infant, it is
hard impossible to keep the starring role. A friend told me, after I quit my job (one of them…) after I realized I couldn’t keep up with it and a baby, that “Women could have it all, just not at the same time.” Maybe that isn’t true for everyone, but it is for me. I thought I could do all things, be all things, all at the same time. But I can’t. And it is ok. It is even really good for me to learn that lesson. Abraham needs me now in a way he never will again. I want to enjoy it, not rush through it.
As a step-mother, I definitely don’t have the starring role. Step-parenting is a supporting position. Again, it is ok. The kids need supportive adults in their lives. I am not their mom, but I am one of their parents, and I try to be present for them without being pushy. I’m waiting stage left in case they need me.
As a stay-at-home wife, I’m a supporting actor too. I’m obviously contributing to the family, taking care of keeping the house clean, full of food (sometimes even cooked food!), comfortable, and alive. Not literally, but you know…functioning for all of us. David comes home from work and talks to me about interesting physics he figured out (and that I don’t really understand), and I tell him how much dog hair I vacuumed up and the cute thing Abraham did that day. Not exactly world changing stuff from me, but if I weren’t doing it, our family’s world would be very different.
I’ve been reflecting on my personality lately, and I don’t even know if I am main character material. I am shy. I don’t like talking to people I don’t know. I don’t really like talking on the phone to anyone (except my family). I have passion, but not ambition. I am a quiet leader, preferring to lead by example than to rally the masses. This is not necessarily the make up of a main character.
I keep telling myself that in 5 years, Abraham will go to school and I can be a person again. I can begin to take my time rather than stealing it. I can really practice yoga again, make theatre, engage in my community. Until then, I’ll be here when you need me.