I have decided to make a summer resolution. In an effort to keep my mind flexible and in the schema of a writer, I am going to create one blog a day from today until Jun 20th. My writing instruction professor taught us that to teach writing, we must practice writing. Blogging may not exactly be what she had in mind, but I think it works for me.
With that said, on to today’s entry.
According to the internet encyclopedia website I would never allow my students to use, a mantra is: a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation”.
There are a few different “groups of words” I have been mentally repeating to myself for the past few months in an effort to transform myself into a person strong enough to withstand the various dramas worming their way into my life. The drama began when people in my life made it abundantly clear that my choice to join my husband was hurtful to them. It made me feel shameful. The implication was that by making choices to make me happy and live a sustainable life (ie: move to Mexico and not spend money traveling back home every year) I was being selfish and punishing those who loved me.
Prior to this conversation, I had entered a place of hopefulness. My student teaching was shaping up to be an excellent experience and I was realizing that I really could do this teaching thing and do it well. About a month earlier, I had been hired at my top choice school, just one day after my husband received a construction contract in the same city. Big things in my life that I thought I could not do or thought that they would never come together were suddenly not only possible, but they were happening.
The shame shattered me. I would lie in bed at night and feel as though a lead blanket were covering me, weighing me down. It was awful, I knew it was awful, and I decided that I would not feel this way anymore.
It is easier said than done. I would have to change the way I saw things and push aside the opinions and feelings of people I loved. I knew that people I loved should never make me feel that bad; they likely never intended for it to hurt me quite so much. It would mean a transformation of myself. But I did it and have continued to do it for some time. I accomplished this by examining my life, coming to a few conclusions, and repeating these conclusions to myself whenever needed. These are my mantras.
My life is good, my life is blessed.
The negative reactions and opinions of others were permeating my view of my own life. When I stopped to question what really was so negative about what lay ahead, I realized that there wasn’t much. Indeed, there is much that is positive and worth celebrating.
- Despite what many view as tragedy (and certainly I have at times), my life is taking me towards opportunities that most individuals will never have.
- Without all of my family by my side, without wads of money in my pocket, without all the comforts I have come to identify with home, I believe that I can live a life of quality—even of beauty.
- For each thing that has gone wrong, so many have gone right. Pieces are falling into place better than they would have if my life plans had gone as envisioned.
I can do without and still be content.
“What will you do without ___________?” I am asked this all the time. I used to worry about how I would adjust from my spoiled life to a life that only meets my basic needs. Then I decided that I do not need more than those basics to be content.
- I do not need to eat out multiple times a week.
- I do not need a big screen tv.
- I do not need a car.
- I do not need a dishwasher.
- I do not need a vacuum.
- I do not need a closet smashed full with clothing.
- I do not need a perfectly decorated house.
My happiness is more important than what others think/I cannot live my life according to the visions others have for me.
I have not been able to live my life according to the visions I had for myself; there is no logic in making myself miserable conforming to the visions others have for me. Additionally, if people wish to see me striving for happiness as selfishness, then that is their choice, but their negativity will only impact them.
- We all have a right to live a happy life.
- If I can choose to be happy about my situation, then so can others. If not, they are responsible for any pain it brings them.
I can do this.
Consciously or unconsciously, the people in my life who give me guilt and/or doubt attack my ability to say to myself, “I can do this.” While I know it will not be easy, I also know that I can, indeed, do this.
- I can leave behind everything that does not fit into my five allowed suitcases.
- I can see my family only once a year or every other year in person and on Skype anytime they please.
- I can handle the workload of a first year teacher and the cleaning and the cooking and the shopping.
- I can handle surviving in a foreign country, in a foreign tongue.
While I know that these people have done this only out of love and fear for me, it damaged me. But I cannot sit sad and broken out of love for them. Suffering is not love and devotion, it is foolishness. I am in a process of discovering myself, taking responsibility for my own state of mind, and making the most out of life. I am transforming into a stronger, more confident, more content person. And, at least for the moment, I am happy.