David Bowie passed away last night. That’s the first thing I saw this morning when I woke up. He was a part of my childhood. I remember when Labyrinth was released. I was bound and determined to go see it. Took the paper out, got the show times, and plotted my ride on public transportation to get there. As I was only 12 at the time, my mother didn’t seem to think that riding Tri-Met all the way to Jantzen Beach by myself was a good idea, and alas I had to wait until it was released on video.
At any rate, his passing last night has gotten me contemplative this morning. One of the last great rock stars has left us. There will never be another quite like him. He was never afraid to push the envelope, and be exactly who he was. I think we can all learn a lot from that. Which gets me to thinking….why do I find it so hard to be myself?
I have been through a lot the last year and a half – my oldest daughter leaving to go live with her dad and the legal fight that followed, some health issues where the word C was uttered as a possible diagnosis more than once (and thankfully that was not the case), separation from my life partner of 10 years and taking the first frightening steps to go out on my own in the world again. In doing that, more than one person – my grandmother, my oldest daughter, a close friend or two – has remarked how much “more myself” I seem.
Here’s the thing – I really don’t know who myself is anymore. It feels like my entire world has changed, and me along with it. I know what I am passionate about – my girls, photography, and FOOD (cooking it, eating it, reading about it, etc.). I am blessed to have a group of friends to call family – that are always there for me even if I don’t see or talk to them every day. As I took those first few tentative steps to living on my own again, in my cozy little cabin near the Salmon River, I was overwhelmed with gratitude at how so many people came forward to figuratively and literally hold my hand through that. As I was born stubborn, the hardest thing in the world for me to do is ask for help, let alone take it. I have to learn that reaching out to others is not a sign of weakness, but strength, and generally people will be more upset if you don’t ask when you are truly in need.
There were times, more often than not, where I was overwhelmed and just wanted to collapse, but kept putting one foot in front of the other, for the sake of my kids and MYSELF. This shit is hard. I am not going to lie. I’m not just talking about my financial hurdles. At times I am very emotional, mourning my life as it was, wishing nothing more that I could go back to my old life. Though I know that wasn’t truly living. I often feel lost – like there is some hole inside me and I am not sure what I am supposed to fill it with. Maybe that void has always been there, and with all the dramatic changes I am just realizing it. It is all too easy for me to shut myself in my own little world and be afraid to venture out into the bigger one that is out there. I find comfort in being a hermit, not having to face things such as all my insecurities. If I don’t have to see people then I won’t feel so awkward and like I don’t really fit in anywhere anymore.
What is my identity now? I feel like more than just a mom. I am no longer anyone’s lover or wife. I am never happier than when I go out and put my eyes behind a camera lens. Though sometimes I think people see me just as the girl who is a little overly passionate about bacon. What is it that I need to find inside of myself to make me feel complete? What should that hole I feel be filled with?
So, I am going to take some inspiration from Mr. Ziggy Stardust – go out in the world and find who it is I am, with no apologies. I still don’t know who exactly the reborn Cari is but I am looking forward to getting to know her better.