(Repost) A Papier-Mache Life

This is the last of the first, three posts that started my blog. Each represented a bit of what it was that pushed me to finally start sharing my writing with others. For 48 years I lived in fear that I, nor anything I had to say, would ever be taken seriously or be good enough. I finally realized without a voice I was no one. And since I’m the kind of person that does everything in a BIG way, I plugged my nose, squeezed my eyes shut tight, and jumped in with both feet without bothering to test the waters. I was determined to face my greatest fear–being myself–with hands raised and gloves on. I’ve been keeping it real and letting shit fly since. I gotta admit…it feels pretty damn good not to pretend anymore. 

So I’m going to leave you with this post and then try and spend my weekend with my family. I’m not sure if I’ll be posting anything next week or not. I’m still housebreaking my new kids, have started reading the books I ordered, and am trying to apply the ‘feel good’ techniques included in them in my life. Any of the small amount of time I’m spending on the computer I’m using to hit this bloggers post here, and that bloggers post there. Hopefully I’ll get to everyone’s blog at least once. I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend, and don’t forget to keep it real and make it all about YOU. 😉

Repost from January 4th,  2011

A Papier-Mache Life

Where do you go to begin the difficult task of healing what’s broken in you and your life? Back, I suppose. Every problem has an origin, and for most of them the only way to obtain a resolution is to first find out what the cause was. Up to date my life has resembled nothing more than a collage. Fragments of memories like tissue paper delicately pasted on a fragile background, that over the years the elements of time have withered edges, they’ve fallen into this empty box called my life, and have become misshapen and undistinguishable. My job is to try and remember what the real picture once was—separating fact from fiction—piece it all together, and create a durable mural of it based at last on the truth. Every one of us was once a young child, who before the pain of criticism and hardship made our hearts weak or callous, believed in fairytale endings, and I was no different. In the beginning I was whole, healthy, and happy. Something changed that…changed me. I need to seek out the child within myself, find out who and what it was that emotionally damaged and crippled her, and tell her that it’s okay to once again believe.

Funny, how it’s so easy for some of us to believe in others, often times even perfect strangers, but so difficult for us to believe in ourselves. It seems almost impossible to separate fact from fiction, especially when surrounded by naysayers.  You find yourself questioning and trying to distinguish what it is that you know about yourself, versus what others have been telling you. This has been hard for me. I grew up feeling like I had to become someone else in order to fit in—something that was impossible to do—and the result was that I failed at being not only who I really was, but also the person that I sought to be. The person I created fell somewhere in between the two, and of course was no where near the individual that I wanted to present to my family, friends, or the world. This personality being miserably disfigured like the view I already had of myself. Unfortunately, when you live this lie for so long you begin to think, act, and feel like the person you’ve invented. The fine line between the truth and the lie begins to get blurred and it’s hard to remember the real you.

Who am I? This simple question begins the quest. Who was I before others told me who they thought I should be? What did I enjoying doing, what music did I enjoy listening to, what literature did I enjoy reading, and what kind of people did I find intellectually stimulating before someone else forced me to alter my perceptions with their opinions about what was appropriate, what was trendy, or what they themselves would do? I find for me some of the answers are easy to recognize. Away from prying eyes and judgment I played house with my real self. I would indulge in my passion for cooking and baking, listen to the old music that I enjoyed, wear the feminine, floral dresses I kept hanging hidden in the back of my closet, and surrounded myself with country décor and antiques I loved so much. Is it any wonder why I never allowed most people to come to my home, but rather always said that my home was where I lived, and the outside world was where entertaining should be? I found it hard to explain how this woman who cussed like a trucker, wore Harley attire, bore tattoos, listened to southern rock, shot pool, and drank straight whiskey at the bar could have a completely different side, one that included writing poetry. And when one of my close friends would enlighten others to this side of me when someone would mistakenly refer to me as a hard-core bitch, I found it difficult to defend myself, or even acknowledge that a softer side did indeed exist. Most times it didn’t matter for they were sure my friend was just “blowing smoke up their asses”, as they would put it. Yes, they made jokes that it was highly unlikely I could ever win a Betty Homemaker award. Little did they know that was probably far closer to the truth than anything I allowed them to see. These people, their opinions, I’m ashamed now that I even needed their acceptance to validate me.

I admit I’m complex. Today it’s a lot easier for me to accept this, rather than defend it. I see it as a positive trait; one that makes me more interesting. One thing I’ve never been accused of is having predictable behavior, and that’s okay, because I wouldn’t want to be considered the ‘norm’, or be like anyone else. Before I picked up the labels that have defined who I was: Wife, mother, friend, someone’s employee, etc…I was just me. And from what I can remember of that little girl, I really liked her. Lately I’ve glimpsed her in the mirror. Although her blue eyes aren’t as wide and innocent as they once were, they’re starting to get the light back into them as they peer back at me through parted, blonde bangs; the pale, freckled skin not as taut, but still resembling my younger self. I’m excited now as to what she and I together are going to discover about our self.  And I suppose this is where the real story begins.

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17 Comments on “(Repost) A Papier-Mache Life”

  1. I am FINALLY getting around to catching up with my comments. So sorry.
    God your life sounds interesting compared to my dull one. I have been hardly anywhere and seen hardly anything compared to you. ((sigh)) And I had such dreams of ‘becoming’ someone when I was young.
    You could always try and look the place up on google earth if you have an address. I love google earth. I like to ‘vacation’ vicariously through others. Ha..ha..

  2. “I grew up feeling like I had to become someone else in order to fit in—something that was impossible to do—and the result was that I failed at being not only who I really was, but also the person that I sought to be.” You’re not alone. A beautiful post – beautifully written and beautifully honest.

    • I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to your comment, but I wanted to make sure I replied.
      Well, I don’t know if your upbringing was like mine or not, but I just want to assure you that probably everything you were ever told about yourself growing up was a lie, if you’ve ever felt bad about yourself or confused who you are. Those who were raised in healthy atmosphere’s don’t question their worth or who they are. They just know. I guess the nice thing about being dysfunctional, is none of us are ever alone, are we?

  3. PS: Love the new look to your blog as well.

    • There was just one random day recently that started snowing like crazy. It was gone as quickly as it came, but I was fortunate enough to have my camera ready and went out into it to take some pics. It was just beautiful. The weatherman later reported that the flakes were as big as silver dollars. I kinda wanted to keep the theme of my home, thus the ‘litterbox’, but I thought the winter scene was more than appropriate for this time of year. And thanks for noticing, Babe! 🙂

  4. Doesn’t it feel good to leave the pretence behind and show us the real you. Who we love.
    Have a great weekend.

    • It’s getting so much easier and I’m getting so much better at being the person I really am. Since I started blogging I’ve been able to loose myself from the grip of others ideals of who I should be. I guess I finally found that there are people out there who appreciate me for who I am, and that validated for me that there’s never been anything so wrong with me that I wasn’t entitled to be loved. All of you did that for me. Now all these ‘others’ and their expectations don’t seem very important anymore. Okay, maybe I don’t have a great social life like some, but for some reason what all of you have given me just by being here to talk to far outweighs any kind of support I’ve had in the ‘real’ world…..well, except for my Beth, and that crazy, woman named, Pandora Patty, that is an absolute gem and loves me unconditionally. I guess the things and people I thought I once needed…not so much anymore. Ya, know?

  5. These three posts have revealled a remarkable woman, Lou. You’re resilient, observant, and a great writer, too. You know who you are even if you haven’t always been able to show that side to the world. You seem to be on the right track now, peeling back the layers to show the heart that is the real you. Blessings to you on your continuing journey! (Have you considered writing this life story into a book?)

    • Actually, that’s what I’ve been doing is working on my memoirs in what free time I have. My friends and family have told me for a while now that I should concentrate on finishing the manuscripts of other stories I started (but never had the courage to complete, because then I knew I would have no excuse but to send them in), but I almost feel like I have to purge myself of my own story before I can move forward. I think I have a lot of inner demons that haunt me.
      Anyway, it means a lot that you see me as a good writer. I mean that. Especially coming from you because I think your writing is awesome. I’ve never felt that I ever had much to offer in the way of talents, but possibly this one, so knowing that what I have to say, and the way I say it is appreciated, means the world to me. Thank you!

  6. Renee Mason says:

    Damn woman, you can write your tail off!!

    • I’m not quite sure what that means, but I’ll take it as a compliment coming from you. 🙂 Hmm…I wonder if that means I jabber when I’m writing. Ha..ha..
      I ordered that movie “Under The Tuscan Sun”, it arrived in the mail, and then kicked the bucket three/fourths of the way through. I was pissed. Such a good movie. Anyway, I reordered another from Netflix, so as soon as I get done watching it I’m going to quiz you as to what parts resemble your life. I am soooo curious now!

      • Renee Mason says:

        I can’t believe the movie quit on you before the end; I would have thrown a hissy fit, for all the good that would have done. I love, love, love that movie, hope you enjoy it to. And yes, “write your tail off”
        IS a compliment; I must remember to keep my Texasisms under tighter control! Just shows you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of her mouth. Nothing but compliments intended, I promise.

        • I got the new copy of the movie yesterday and watched the WHOLE thing last night. OMG! I just wanted to bawl. Such a wonderful movie. So great in fact I’m going to purchase it. And…And…I just fell in love with the tawny color of Diane Lane’s hair in the flick, and think I’m going to do it. I’m going to go red! What the hell, huh? You only live once. Ha..ha..
          Okay, so you promised to tell me why the movie reminded you of your life. Include it here–however long–or drop me a personal email. I am terribly intrigued, and also incredibly jealous…whatever the similarities may be. I WANT TO MOVE TO TUSCANY NOW!

          • Spectra says:

            I saw that film in the theater when it came out, with a friend. I liked that she was learning to build a new life, leave behind prior expectations, and enjoy herself. It really felt complete in the end, though way past the fairytales of youth. She became Independent!

            Enjoy your time with the new ‘kids’ and maybe a new haircolor. I miss when you take breaks, because reading your blog is a bit addictive. But I more than understand, and think your choice is a very good one, to be more ‘present’ in your present. I hope the new books provide plenty of powerful inspiration.

            • I’m getting around to ‘old’ comments. Sorry it’s taken me so long.
              I actually have been enjoying the time that I’ve had to take away from blogging, although I wish I had enough time to do it and everything else. I’m just trying to keep my priorities in check, and this doesn’t seem to be among the top ten right now.
              I love the books I got too. I can’t say that it’s taught me anything I didn’t already know, but moreso reminded me to think differently again. Food for thought.

          • Renee Mason says:

            I loved that movie so much I also had to own it; ironically, I planned to watch both it and Mama Mia later today, when my ‘have to’s’ are complete.

            The Tuscan connection is that on a day of shooting for a bride’s magazine in Italy, we stopped to photgraph in a beautiful old olive grove, overlooking a valley. During a lunch break, I stumbled upon a house for sale that was so much like her’s in the movie. There were critters living in there and everything was wrong with it, except that it was absolutely perfect. I vowed that if I went back to modeling in NYC and tanked there, I would return to Milan and buy this house and fix it up. Happily, NY worked out just fine, but I always wondered what happened to that wonderful house outside of
            Florence.

            Keep those puppy pix coming; they are adorable!