My ME went “missing” over time. I know that I started feeling unsettled when I was about to graduate with my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Linguistics. I had some very panicky moments when I allowed myself to think that I may not be pursuing the right career for me. I felt I was in too deep – I had already invested 5 years in post-secondary education, I had already been working for almost as long with children with special needs and my application to the communicative disorders program in Ontario had just been accepted; I was moving in the fall. To change courses at that point was scary beyond belief when everyone around me seemed so sure of where they were headed. (Now I know this to be utter garbage!! It is NEVER too late to change courses – especially when you are considering changes that allow YOU to shine and experience that special kind of happiness!)
I was also pretty good at my work with these children; most of the time I followed my own intuition to engage with them and picked up necessary skills by observing more advanced therapists. In those moments that I allowed myself to even think that there might be other options out there for me, I felt lost. And I didn’t want to feel lost. I wanted to know exactly what my plan was and how I was going to achieve it. There was a certain expectation placed on me – externally and internally – that by a particular stage in life I should have some kind of conventional and secure career in place. If I veered from my plan at the age of 23 then I was going to completely miss the mark. Even as I type this I am cringing! Here I am, exactly 10 years later, finally allowing myself to look at my other options! But it is what it is and I don’t regret the journey I chose at that point and I will share why in a future post.
As I continued to follow what was not my career of passion, I lost a little more ME along the way. When I got married at 25 I felt I didn’t need much of a ME because now there was “us.” Though I married my best friend, I now know that without ME the relationship is not as completely satisfying or as healthy as it can be. Then when I became a MOM…well, I just didn’t think moms had MEs! I certainly did not see my mom as having a ME – she was just Mom and she lived her short life in service of others, particularly her children. Looking back now, I see her interests in singing and dancing as clear as day. But those were such miniscule parts of her life that they were easy for me to miss. So in 2007 when I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, my ME officially went “missing.” And within the next year I would be sucked into a downward spiral that would force me to reach deep into my reserves to find my way out.