Every superhero has a costume. And, generally that costume defines them. It aides them in performing the duties set before them. Seeing that we have already established that I sometimes, well quite often, deem myself Wonder Woman, it seems fitting that today we discuss my superhero costume. And no, I definitely do NOT wear the Wonder Woman costume. We’ve also already discussed the battle with post baby weight!
And, before we continue, I would like to also explain that we will be discussing the word “costume” metaphorically here. I don’t really mean the clothes I wear on a day to day basis.
Clothes reflect who we are. They declare our destination for the day, our morning routines etc. They are a means by which we define our morals, thoughts, and they also help us get to where we need to be in life. It is quite obvious that putting on a snowsuit will in no way help you attempt to swim in the ocean. Therefore, when I discuss with you my various costumes throughout the last month and a half, it is with the understanding that I am baring my soul. It is with complete honesty that I share with you my transition between various costumes.
Before J’s death, my costume was routine, predictable, and rarely called for anything outside the box. It fit my life. Officer’s wife, mother, teacher, friend, wife etc. This costume was my comfort zone. If I had to describe it, I’d probably say yoga pants and a t-shirt, and of course the all important flip flops. My costume represented my comfort level in my life. I liked where I was, and I was confident enough not to have to be all flashy and over the top with my duties. I liked my roles. Some people may view it as settling, and there was a point in my life that I too contemplated that as well; however, I decided that I loved being able to bring comfort and happiness to the people who meant the most to me. So what if that meant I had settled into a routine, wore the same shades of make up, completed the same duties day in and day out. My routine, my functionality, and my strength brought success in the lives of the people dearest to me, and by doing that I in turn measured my success. “Going places” with my life didn’t seem as important to me anymore as my child going places. (As a side note, this is not political in nature at all. I am in no way condemning those who live their lives differently by not focusing the majority of their lives on their husband and child. To each his/her own, and I have no desire to weigh out the pros and cons. ) I chose my path, and I took pleasure in the comfort of routine.
Now, in saying all of this, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have dreams and aspirations. It doesn’t mean I didn’t take time for myself. And above all it does not mean I LOST my identity to my husband and child. I view it as incorporating them in to my identity. I by no means think that I sacrificed my own happiness in order to please others (in this instance. I do have a habit of doing this though.) I decided to measure my happiness differently, and I put on a costume daily that reflected this.
When J died, my costume was ripped from me. I felt that I stood naked before the world. My deepest fears, and my most brittle emotions were there for all the world to see. And, because it was a line of duty death, they were bared even more so. I quickly threw on a costume – my old favorite, the “I’m fine. I’ll live, I’ll survive. It’s part of life. Don’t worry about me” costume. And, I’ll be honest, that costume worked for awhile. It did its job – it fooled the public. They told me I was strong, an inspiration, full of grace etc. It even fooled me for a while. I will call this costume my survival mode attire.
Then, pieces of my costume begin to need mending. Tears and jagged edges begin to appear, small holes begin to become larger, and suddenly, it seemed this costume no longer worked. I began to realize that my survival mode costume has seen better days, and maybe that might be a clue to me that I should begin to START to try to figure out pieces of my life. (Don’t gripe at me. I KNOW I can’t figure it all out yet and that I’m not always wearing a Wonder Woman costume. If you have no idea what I’m discussing, please view my last post.) Maybe it’s time for pieces of the survival costume to be retired, and more “fashionable” and durable pieces should be added.
Now, the selection of this attire, poses a whole new set of questions. What does one clothe herself in when attempting to gain her life back? You see, if I had a specific destination, it would be simple. If I were going to go back to being a teacher, I would pull on my trusty cardigan, dress pants, and teacher like mentality. If I were going to be a stay at home mommy, I would pull out my trusty yoga pants. (Okay, this blog is making me realize I might have a slight obsession with yoga pants.) However, I’m not going to be playing either of these two roles.
Here is what I know thus far “I’m going places. I just don’t know where or when yet.” And now you see the problem with creating a new costume. I’m not quite sure what to wear to this new life of mine. Basically, I’m reinventing myself. Learning a new me. And, with that being said do I want to be “fashionable,” ” shabby chic,” “bohemian,” “comfortable,” “casual?” Ladies, you know my possibilities are endless. My future is uncertain, but I’m starting to see that as a good thing. No, I didn’t want to lose my husband, and no I don’t like having to change costumes. But, it happened, and unless I do something, my survival costume might only consist of a few threads. And, that’s really a problem!
So, here’s the plan. I’m not Jennifer Lopez. I don’t do well with “quick wardrobe changes.” I’m simply going to slowly replace a few key essentials to my costume. One day, or one month, or one year at a time. And, for a while, I’ll just have a mismatched costume. And maybe I will be mismatched forever! I won’t have a destined future, destination, plan, and I definitely won’t match. You’ll just have to excuse that. We will all have to be okay with my purple shirt, yellow polka dotted shorts, cowboy boots, and a frumpy hat. And, you know what I probably will change aspects of my costume quite frequently. That’s okay too.
God likes my purple shirt and cowboy boots. I’m “clothed in [His] dignity and strength and I laugh without fear of the future.” Well, okay sometimes I laugh without fear. God and I are still working on that. I’m certain He can handle it. So, in reality, I’m broken, unsure, fearful, and at the same time hopeful, and idealistic. Yep, I’m a walking paradox. And honestly, that’s okay right now. And, it will be for quite sometime. I’m still wearing a considerable amount of survival gear, but I will shed it as the days and months go by, and in the end, I will still be “beautifully and wonderfully made.” No matter what I’m wearing at the end of this. (Although, there really is no end to this.)
Here’s to hoping this helped a few people realize that fears are natural, and that even if we don’t feel like we have the strength and the courage, we have help. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” Faith is about walking into the unknown with the comfort of knowing you have so many people behind you. And, thankfully in my own life each of those people all have God at the center of their lives. So, what if I’m mismatched- in essence if we are honest with ourselves, aren’t we all?