I could say that what I am about to talk about is a guilty pleasure, but here’s the thing. I have stopped feeling guilty about it. Why should we feel badly about doing something we enjoy? Why should we have to feel good about doing something we can’t stand? I am done feeling guilty.
Here it is: I need space. Not just a little, but a lot. I need me time. I need an hour or two (or more) to just sit and think, or to move and think, or to just sit and not think. Maybe it’s because I am an only child, maybe it’s just who I am, but I have come to realize that without taking time for myself as an individual, I get sorta cranky. Okay, not sorta, I get a lot cranky.
I love driving with the music BLASTING so loud I can’t hear my own thoughts, or to have everything around me so silent and so quiet that I can hear the hush of my breath as it meets the rhythm of my blood pulsing through my body. I am going to say it, and I am ready for some gasps from the audience…. I need time away from my family.
Separation gives me time to prove to myself that I can be brave, that I don’t need anyone to make a decision for me and I don’t have to make any for them. If I make a bad choice or a wrong turn, I only have myself to blame. One way of doing this is to purposely get lost in a town that I don’t know. Just when panic starts to set in and I begin to hear the gremlins talking nasty in my mind, I more often then not will look up to find the street sign or the landmark I had been searching for. I will be at the exact intersection I had been hunting for and a parking space will magically be waiting for me. There is a huge sense of empowerment there.
Since becoming a mom, have you found that you have shrunk back a bit into a hole? Have you lost a little of who you are? I know I have, and did. But you know what? I am clawing my way back out of myself and learning who I am again. I am doing this not just for me and my sanity, but for my kids. I want them to see it’s okay to be who you really want to be. Even if it doesn’t fit into a mold or a cubicle. One of the best ways I have found for myself to do this is to head over the summit, cross the bridge and exit into the city. I love wandering the streets and hills of San Francisco. Yes, sometimes I bring along my husband. But other times, I make a it a solo trip. Doing so helps me to recharge and regain my self confidence. I love figuring out why I am afraid to go into certain parts of the city or why I hesitate to bring more then one camera with me as I photo-walk. On occasion I will meet up with fellow female photographers. Surrounding myself with women who get why I have four cameras in my backpack is pretty awesome.
When I return from trips like this, I am ready to put on my “juice box hero” mask again and take on the pile of dishes, the mud pies in the bathroom sink and the creative use of mashed potatoes as hair product. Do I feel guilty for leaving my family behind for a weekend? Nope. But I do find huge amounts of pleasure in making space for me, and then coming back to my sweet faces when all is said and done.