Monday, March 27, 2017

Much More or Less Myself (At Any Given Moment)

"You used to be much more…'muchier.' You’ve lost your muchness."

[The Mad Hatter
 Alice in Wonderland, 2010
director: Tim Burton;
writers:Linda Woolverton; Lewis Carroll]
Today, I have a bit of sad nostalgia. Nine years ago I left a failed marriage. I'd lost my "muchness." I'm not sure I've fully rediscovered it, or if I will. When I was younger, the world seemed so much more conquerable. No dream was too big to be attained.  Nothing was beyond the scope of imagination, and determined hard work. I didn't realize every choice I made (or didn't make) was a door sealing shut on a potential path in my life, not until much later, when it became too late to retrace my steps, because opportunities had passed, along with their companion, time.

This morning, I drove to work, thinking how I never would have imagined I would make my home here in Casper, that I would prefer "city-life" (in loose Wyoming terms) to being in my mountains. I would have never ventured a guess that I'd be pursuing a degree in accounting, or wondering if I should re-take the Pre-Calculus class I'm having such a hard time with over the Summer semester. I never thought I would be divorced and re-married, or that I would be so "settled" into my ways as my teenagers began exhibiting their "muchness." I never thought my education or life would be jokingly temporarily suspended for other pursuits, as time marched persistently on, and the joke lost it's humor, and took on a more serious inertia. Doors closed as choices, and refusal to make choices directed me towards an ever narrowing path. And the only person, ultimately responsible, was myself.

Now the path is widening again. Imagination is returning, although tempered with reality, and an older wiser person in the back of my mind telling me that there is some nonsense worth indulging in, and some that is better left to itself. I'm regaining some of my muchness, although it seems a good portion was laid to waste with time while I was choosing and refusing to choose.

It strikes me this evening that nine years ago, I was pondering similar things. But I was so much more hopeless and despondent. Dreams crumbled in my hands and threatened to disappear altogether. I threatened to disappear into a veil of domestic obsolescence, forgotten, and absorbed into the identity of other, bolder, stronger people. My muchness struggled for air, and threatened to give up entirely. It threatened to leave me stranded, a Stepford shell of my former self, draped in fabric and a masked smile to hide the decay. I wondered if I was destined to live the rest of my life in the prison I'd built for myself out of choosing, and not choosing, from fear and insecurity, unable to see a better way out. There are many reasons I left nine years ago. some of them good, some of them right, some of them regrettable and painful. In the end, it became less a question of how to live with the person I was married to, and more a question of how I would continue to live with myself, as I allowed my muchness die to an ember, and threaten to extinguish all together. In all it was the right choice, for everyone, I believe. I sometimes mourn what was lost, what could have been. There are so many things I wish could have gone so much differently. But it didn't, and I am where I am today. In some ways, I have worked and succeeded at rebuilding, in others, rebuilding is still in progress.

But I will always pursue being much more who I am, and to keep that spark fanned into a small flame, hoping to inspire my children to be the raging infernos at life I'd once thought I could be. Maybe I'm too old to climb mountains anymore, but I can still manage a hike up a good hill or two. The view is still worth it, even if not quite as breath-taking.

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