But, I hate it when I have epiphanies. They're so.....revealing. So deep. So "Dummy, why didn't you realize this before?"
Some of my epiphanies have been spiritual, others have been personal.
Like this latest one.
I am awesome!
(Did I actually say that?)
So, why haven't I realized this before?
There could be many reasons.
As I've mentioned before, maybe it's guilt over my parents' divorce. But, I think not.
Maybe it was the constant moving my stepfather forced upon us that kept me from learning to form meaningful relationships as a child and therefore not believe in myself.
Maybe it was his overall negative energy permeating the family.
Maybe it was the years of bullying in school that forced me to push aside who I was in order to be who I felt I should be for the bullying to stop.
Maybe it is some deep down internalized homophobia that I never fully processed when I first came out thirty-some years ago. Perhaps I'm just now uncovering it as I am stepping back into the gay community again, a second-coming out, if you will.
Maybe it could be that I am finally coming into my own sense of self after so many years of surrendering myself in the confines of relationships. And I don't know who I truly am.
Maybe I'm going through a gay mid-life crisis.
Or, maybe it's all of the above in varying degrees.
Many people have told me I'm awesome, so why do I have trouble hanging on to this feeling of awesomeness?
Maybe it's because I'm afraid of finding out who I truly am.
Marianne Williamson said in her book, A Return to Love, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"
Maybe that power, for me, is just being, and believing in, myself and knowing that I will survive (cue Gloria Gaynor) this stage in my life and emerge stronger than before.
That's not easy right now.
It's not easy believing in myself right now because teachers, and public school teachers in particular, are under attack. Almost daily we hear of teachers who are not doing their jobs. Students' test scores are falling. And yet the stakes are rising astronomically. The No Child Left Behind Act requires a certain percentage of students be at least proficient in Language Arts and Math each year. And that percentage grows higher every year until it is 100%. There is no room for error, for the child who was ill on the day of the test, for the child who was up all night because of the gang shooting outside her apartment window, for the family who was left homeless because of a fire in their house, for the child who immigrated to this country one year before and now must take the test in grade-level English. If the school doesn't make it's growth target, the teachers are blamed by the media and the politicians, many of whom never taught a day in their life and yet want to tell us how to do our job. And these attacks on my thirty years of experience by these people who think they know what they're talking about do hurt and have left me questioning my teaching ability and my desire to continue in the profession.
It's not easy believing in myself right now because the economy is a mess. I am a single teacher with a mortgage that takes over sixty percent of my paycheck each month. Add rising fuel prices (my commute is sixty-five miles each day), rising food prices, two aging pets, dwindling savings, a shrinking paycheck due to furlough days and that is why I'm not interested in dating now. I don't feel comfortable not being able to contribute to a date.
Last weekend, I came home from a day at a Pride Festival full of pride, but depressed. I was depressed because of money. There were some things I wanted to do with my money. I wanted to support some causes, I wanted to buy a couple of things, I wanted to go out to dinner with my friends. I have come to accept this is my lesson right now. I need to learn to be more prudent with my money. I am truly grateful I have a job, I am grateful I can pay the mortgage and the bills, and I am very grateful I can take care of my cat and dog. I just wish I could have a little more discretionary income at the end of the month. And while every night has its day, some nights are verrrrrry lonnnnnnnng indeed. But, there are still those stars and the moon to guide us through the night. I know this will eventually pass.
It's also not easy believing in myself right now because I'm also venturing out on the new path of published author. This path is very new, one I had never seriously considered and it came up out of the blue, and I'm not exactly sure where it's leading me as it is bringing up new emotions and things for me to consider. It is exciting, but I'm having difficulty believing it is happening. It's like a dream, one I had never taken seriously before. Do I really want to do it? The Universe has presented me with this great opportunity and I feel I must explore it, and maybe this is part of my awakening to my full awesomeness.
And if I am to spend some time holed up in my house or a Starbucks writing furiously, that will take some time away from socializing. I need to get these characters out of my head and onto paper before I turn into someone with multiple-character disorder and really not know who I truly am. (I have a lesbian character in my head somewhere, and that could really prove interesting!)
If I have all of this going on in my head, heart and life right now, I am not comfortable bringing someone else along for the ride. I want to be more in touch with my awesomeness before I bring someone else into my life.
Yet, the Universe may have other plans for me. The Universe may send a man into my life and he may just be the catalyst to fully awaken me to my awesomeness. After all, I believe things happen for a reason at the time they're supposed to happen.
Maybe, once I put all these pieces of the puzzle that is me together I won't know what to do with myself with all that awesomeness.
Maybe that's the point.
Maybe I need to just BE.