Have you ever completed one of those "I Am" poems?

I know I did, some time way back for a poetry prompt.    But I am not going to revisit that poem.
I wonder whether it would still be relevant.
If I would still define myself in the same manner?

I think not.
But I haven't changed - not really.   Not more than any normal person might experience growth and change as they traverse this world.   Our journey is not meant to be stagnant.

No, my answers would only be different because I have made a fatal step in that journey.

I let others define me.
Or rather, I succumbed to their definition of me.  Twisted and knotted myself into something vaguely representative of the original piece; but in the process losing much of what made it shine.

And that is the story of how I (almost) lost my way.


 “Give up defining yourself - to yourself or to others. You won't die. You will come to life. And don't be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it's their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don't be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”

A recent Facebook status of mine:

Person: honestly, what are you doing on that thing? Can't you put your phone down?

Me: actually, I'm listening to a really great interview about dealing with anxiety and your fears and how allowing other people to define you by those things is really disruptive to your creative process. because you shouldn't find your value in other people's definition of you. That's them limiting you to a narrow view, and really that's their loss. and it's so disruptive to your creative process, when that is the very mode through which you can explore and channel those very fears... and while I may seem very disconnected right now - to you; I am very connected to this person who has taken the time to share, and really I am just relieved to find someone else in this world whose brain seems to work like mine. and I don't feel so frickin stupid and lost for being that way. What are your thoughts on this?

Person: Oh, I don't know about all that mumbo jumbo!

Me: oh, well maybe you should take some time and do a little self discovery... instead of busying yourself with chastising people on their phones?

She had enough, so she said "when."
This was the second time in almost as many days, that someone had said something to me because they saw me using my iPhone.    They could not see exactly what I was doing, but the assumption was that I was "playing."   In fact, in the first occasion, the person actually slapped my wrist and told me to "stop playing on that thing."

They.Slapped.My.Wrist.
I am 44 years old.

Do let that process.

WhatTheActualFuck?

I had to explain to this person that I was simply answering a text from my husband.
My husband who was home with our 3 children,  because I had left my home to come help someone else at their home.   On my husband's weekend off.   Away from MY family.   To help yours.

The text had been there for awhile.... why you ask?    Why because I had been busy helping this person carry boxes, and sort, and carry more heavy boxes, and lift this heavy thing, and carry this heavy thing, and what do you think I should do with this thing answered 765 times.

But, in that particular moment, all they could see was that I was not available to THEM.
I was supposed to be there helping them -- which I had just been doing for 2 straight hours - but all they could see was that single moment of my attention distracted.   By THAT THING.

Is it a good time to mention now that they had been on their own iPad, and that is why I took the 5 minutes to answer a question text from my husband?
Yeah that.

To say I was angry, hurt, and more than a little confused as to why I - a grown ass adult - should ever have to justify the use of my time, is an understatement.   But that's when it hit me.

This person DOES want me to justify my time!?   The hell? 
Why would I owe them that?!!

And then it occurred to me, because their definition of me, as a stay at home mom, is one of which a woman who busies herself with worthwhile activities.   Things of value.   Things of import.   Like, raising children, taking care of the home, making healthy meals, being patient and kind and tolerant, and always available to help another.

Awwww, that does sound nice doesn't it?   And my god have I strived toward that.  To the exclusion of all the things I might actually enjoy in life;  and most particularly the things that make me uniquely:  ME.
Deny myself, so that they might prosper.

Wait.... who am I again?   Shit. 

iPhones and computers are not worthy pursuits.   They are time wasters.   Fun.  Games.
Because, of course you know exactly what I am doing on those things, at all times, right?

To clarify: there are no games on my computer.   I don't really play them.   It's not interesting to me.
There are exercising videos though.
Because you are not supposed to be a Fat and Ugly housewife either.   The nerve - letting yourself go like that.  But um.... do you have to Exercise right now?  Today?  Can't you skip a day, because I really need you right now?

There are books.   No, not of the 50 Shade variety. 
(but if that is your cup of tea, have at it)
My current read is the Tolle book mentioned above.   Because I am struggling with trying to be the person I feel I am -- when all around is the push and pull to be what others expect me to be.   And I need to know that there are others out there who feel the same.    I get in my intellect that being ME is perfectly fine and really all I have to be.

But expectations..... they suck.
And what they suck often is your Spirit right the hell out through your heart.
And for goodness sakes, didn't I already deal with this?   In high school?


But really....why?  Why this harsh judgement and rebuke from others?  Others who have no qualms about picking up their own devices and doing as they please.  And more to the point: No One Challenges Them.

I think I figured it out.
I don't make any money.

Therefore, my entire existence must be proved worthy.    My time must be accounted for accordingly, because Time Is Money, you know!   And thus all activities must be those that are deemed worthy of justifying my place as a non wage earning member of society. 

Because Motherhood, like that's hard.  *eyeroll*

Left Brain works.  He earns money.   He pretty much doesn't have to do anything else in this world, and he already has Respect.   Thus, if he answers his phone, he is busy and important man!   Not time waster.   He worked hard all day, he can relax in front of the TV or the Xbox.
Even though he is also 40 something: no one will question it.
I will fold laundry while I watch TV.       A show of hands moms?

I don't work.
Ggggrrrrrrr.
and also, fuck you.

There I said it.   Unfollow if it made you uncomfortable.
But rest assured: that is my very point today:  to make you uncomfortable.

If you are guilty of treating people like this, please check your manners. 
Because seriously - who the hell are you?   Perfection personified?  I think not.

If you are judging people based on how you think they should act or talk or write or do....anything, according to your limiting vision of them?  Please stop, take your head out of your ass, and consider:  they were not created to please, impress, or be like You.    They were created for their own purpose, and it is not dependent on your approval - nor your understanding.

I am sorry, truly I am, that it has come to this harshness.
But I am tired of walking away from my journal, or computer when a writing idea occurs to me, because some one else thinks my words have no value.   That I ought to be concerned with more important things. 
I am tired of putting down my phone in the midst of reading something interesting, because a person places their own immediate need of me, above my own need of me.   Or they simply disapprove of my reading material. 
I am tired of choosing to not take my camera with me on an outing, because if I am not selling any pictures, then what they hell is the point anyway?  It's just a waste of time.

You do know what you are saying, when all those judgements are forced upon the things I enjoy?    When the creative outlet I enjoy.. and need.. is stifled because of your disapproval.   Your inability to find any worth in such pursuits, unless I make dollars.....

......you are telling me I am a Waste.

The price of admission I have to pay for my right to exist in this world, does not depend on your definition of me.    I can promise you the one duty I will not add to my ever expanding list of Things That Must Be Done: is justifying anything about my life to you.   I do not owe you that.

I owe me that.
And I owe it to the real me, to take the time for self discovery.   To create.  To find a way to fit my passions into the busy life of wife and motherhood and daughter and friend.

And because people, with their expectations and judgements, tend to exhaust me after awhile.   I mean I love people, I love being with people, but I have a limit.   Until I reach the point of my energy being sapped out, I am a damn delight and you should appreciate that about me.

But sometimes, I need to retreat.   And be still. 

When you lose touch with inner stillness, 
you lose touch with yourself. 
When you lose touch with yourself, 
you lose yourself in the world.”
 — Eckhart Tolle

So, please do not be offended if my attention is briefly diverted.   Trust I do know: manners matter.   Perhaps if you resisted making the moment all about You, you would discover that I am more than eager to share with you what it is I am learning and discovering.   I would love to have dialogue with you about your own journey.    What I am not interested in is Judgement Without Dialogue.

I seek stillness and alone time to better understand myself, so that I might better connect with others.   I know, it seems contradictory, but think about it.

I do not have Candy Crush tips.

I get that my life has both an Inner Purpose and Outer Purpose.   I get that most of you only will see the Outer.   But I need you to trust me when I say;  a lack of harmony between the two will not result in a content life.    And isn't that what we all are seeking?

So you are going to have to give me the benefit of the doubt, that I am concerned with bringing the two into harmony.   That in the pursuit of that, sometimes I will be Present.  Other times, may look distraction to you; and maybe it is:  because don't we all need those times as well?

I remind you: I am 44 years old.
I think the time passed along ago that I needed to explain my free time to anyone.  Yes? 

My Outer Purpose will change and evolve over time.   Maybe one day it might earn money once more!   One never knows.
But my Inner Purpose will always be the same:  And I am Awoke to that.   Finally.

It is my business, but it is also concerned with all Humanity - for we are all connected.   And perhaps in further posts, as I become better at articulating these thoughts, I will discuss that in greater depth.

But I guess for now, I do owe all of you Ms Judgy Pants, a kind of bittersweet gratitude. 
For forcing me to get lost...

.... so that I could be found.
And I am sorry that it took so long to get here.   My brain is such a noisy place and it took some time to filter out all the noise and Ego from the real thought.  The True Content of what was Me.

Perhaps if I had been allowed some time to actually be still and think; I might have got there quicker.
But I am here now.
And I won't be lost again.