I'm no heroine
at least, not last time I checked
I'm too easy to roll over
I'm too easy to wreck
I just write about
what I should have done
I just sing
what I wish I could say
and hope somewhere
some woman hears my music
and it helps her through her day
The words above are not my own. They are Ani Difranco's lyrics to I'm No Heroine (click to listen to a live version of the song for yourself). I've been listening to her for over a decade now and I'm still not tired of her, which is a feat for me, let me tell you. I don't listen to a lot of music, but I'll listen to Ani Difranco any day of the week, in any mood, in any place, at any time.
She says what I don't think to, which again, is saying something, given my long-winded self.
It has come to my attention that somewhere along the unusually winding road of the last few years, I started waiting around for a hero. Someone to swoop in and rescue me. Someone to see me and recognize that I needed some help. I needed some rescuing.
It has come to my attention that that hero is not coming. Which is a potential problem, because I'm no heroine. Yet it looks like I'm going to have to save myself.
After I wrote Victor Vito, a lot of people sent me messages commenting on how "strong a woman" I must be. It was sweet, but not necessarily true. It is so much easier to talk the talk of the strong woman, hell, sometimes I strut the strut, but the reality is that sometimes I felt like that strength existed only on the surface, for the good of those around me.
My outward strength, in response to the hurricane and the consequent and subsequent misfortunes, had trapped my pain further down. Any time it tried to show itself, that strong woman that was flaunting her fierce smile on the outside would bitch-slap the hidden vulnerable woman in need of help any time she would even clear her throat. I had trapped myself into the role of heroine.
And I'm no heroine. At least not last time I checked. I'm too easy to roll over. I'm too easy to wreck.
So at some point, I started silently praying for a hero. I began hoping that someone would notice that I needed help but probably wasn't going to ask for it. That I needed to talk. That I needed to be weak for a while. That I was a damsel in distress, lashed to the railroad ties in my frilly white dress. That I needed an escape. That I needed an excuse. That I needed a diversion while I snuck out from the shadow of strength I had created so I could take a deep breath and bellow, "What the f*ck just happened? What the hell am I supposed to do now? Why?! Why?! Why?! Damn it to hell! I need some f*cking help here!"
But we are mothers, grown daughters, wives. We do the helping. We are the rocks.
when you look at me
you see my purpose,
see my pride
you think I just saddle up my anger
and ride and ride and ride
you think I stand so firm
you think I sit so high on my trusty steed
let me tell you
I'm usually face down on the ground
when there's a stampede
It took two years of my head being bashed against those rocks for me to decide to stop waiting for that trusty white steed to show up and start wrangling one for myself.
So it began with me. As is the only way.
The last few weeks, I've been focusing on me. I've been taking time for myself and generally not doing any work that I didn't feel like doing. Instead of blogging, for instance, I've been sleeping. Not in a depressed "all I want to do is sleep" sort of way, but rather I would use the time I used to use for blogging (when my boys were down for naps or in bed at night) to actually get some regular good old-fashioned, keep-you-sane 8-hours-a-night kind of sleep.
Because I'll be damned if I let this blog turn into a chore. I love it, and I love the community of blogs I have become a part of, am looking forward to catching up on reading what you have all been writing about, but there is a time and place, and recently the time has been for me to step back. I still have loads of fun stuff to share with you about the birthday party, Pants's first days of preschool, etc., but I wanted to share this first.
Most importantly, I've been honestly facing what I want out of my life. No, this is not the life I signed up for, but it's the life I'm meant to live. No one is going to save me from it and deliver me back to my old one. There is a reason for everything and it's high time I started embracing this reality. It's time I started proving that I'm up for the challenge.
It was time for me to step out of my head and step into living a more tangible life.
And you know what? It's working. Not just working to put a smile on my face, but also to put smiles on the faces of my family. Knowing that making yourself come first has to be a priority and actually doing it are two different things. It takes commitment and determination, not to mention a little bit of organization and firmly planted feet.
Based on the comments to Strength to Take, I know you hear me. But I'm writing this to reiterate that making yourself a priority is not a one-post kind of thing. It's ongoing. It's every day. It's conscious effort. It's a shuffling of priorities and an ongoing one.
It's not just a good idea. It's a proactive necessity.
This is a lifestyle change you are witnessing. You are bearing witness to the murder of the stay-at-home martyr.
Please pardon the blood. I'll clean it up later. For now, I've got a life to attend to and I look forward to sharing it with you. No, I'm no heroine, but I'm a woman on a mission and God help anyone that gets in my way.