I'm one of those people that needs to get stuff off my chest from time to time. I should mention that this chest of which I speak is (still) gainfully employed -- I'm nursing my almost 3-year old daughter and have two older, but still small children who each weaned near their 4th birthdays. My journey to and through motherhood and otherhood has roused the deep and dark within me, and this was supposed to be the place where I got it all off my chest ... but I've been a blogging failure.
Several years ago, I decided to "let go" of my identity as a musician. I had defined myself as a clarinet player since I was an adolescent; so much of who I became was a direct result of my experiences as a musician. But, in 2006, I realized my job, which is as a member of a band, had become about much more than being a clarinet player, and the combined demands of the "extra duties" (which are really more time-consuming than the clarinet playing) and motherhood had become more than I could realistically handle.
I gave what was to be my last solo recital, and resigned myself to being someone who plays the clarinet, but not a clarinet player.
I let go of the identity, but I didn't let go of the career, which would have been just fine, except for the fact that the extra duties were still more than I could realistically handle in consideration of motherhood and self-care.
Ah, yes. Self-care. That was the magic ingredient that had been lost for so long! Sleep, food, exercise. I'm easy like that. Sure, I'd love a shopping trip, a spa visit, mani-pedis all the time ... but really, all I NEED is sleep, good food, and exercise (and daily vitamin D supplements). When everything fell apart for me health-wise in 2009, I knew it was time to make a major change. I quit my second job, which then resulted in not being able to have an au pair anymore when our contract was finished. So Gabriella got signed up for pre-school and I started the juggling act of not having live-in, full-time childcare.
I drop a lot of balls.
But I'm letting go. I'm letting go of the need to please all of the people all of the time. I'm not perfect, so I'm not going to try to look perfect. I'm letting go of the need to be accepted and praised at work. It's not gonna happen. I don't take this personally; rather, I realize, through very rewarding work I'm doing toward my next career, that I am incredibly valuable, but my workplace has consciously chosen to condemn me to a corner. Frankly, it's their loss, not mine. And I'm letting go of the anger I've been feeling since I realized they stuck me in this corner.
It might appear, to some, that I'm giving up ... but I'm letting go.