I write an almost daily post on Facebook and my first paragraph always starts out with the weather. It’s become something of a tradition to say, Good morning and then tell my readers whether it’s sunny, raining, or oppressively muggy. Some of my friends laugh at my weather reporting and that’s okay too. I just find the weather to be a thing of nature and god and I like the jumping off point that that first segment always gives me.
When searching for a title today for this blog, I couldn’t help but glance out the window and see the overcast skies, once again. So, the dark and stormy skies are my jumping off my point today and it’s totally appropriate for the subject I’m writing about. Since moving to Branson, I have garnered many new friends and I know there’s a chance that some of those friends might see this blog. All they have ever been privy to is my entertainment blog where I write reviews of shows and fun things that I get to do. They’ve never seen the deeper side of Summer, the side that isn’t always so positive and upbeat. My new friends that have met me, see an outgoing, happy person. I smile a lot. I talk a lot. I genuinely engage with people because, well, because it’s simply who I am.
I lead my life with my heart as my compass and while it’s nice when things are going great, it can really be detrimental when things are not so rosy. When things are going well in my life, it’s easy to have enthusiasm and a bright outlook because those feelings which include joy and laughter are the most important things to me. I don’t care about money, I don’t care about social status or needing to be something I’m not. The most valuable assets in my life are the people that love me and the moments we share as friends and fellow humans. I refuse to become jaded to the world just because there’s bad things out there. I refuse to stop believing in love just because it sometimes hurts. There is nothing more important in this old world of ours than the ability to give and receive that most precious of commodities; love.
So, I had the chance to take a really long vacation. It was the first time in more than 21 years that I took that kind of time just for me. Went where I wanted to go, saw the things I wanted to see, lived my life with a type of freedom that I am generally not allowed to have. And, I found a different me. I found the me I want to be. I discovered within myself a person that has literally not existed except for an hour or two at a time, for the past 28 years. You know what? I really like that girl. You wanna know something else? I already miss her so much! She tried to hang in for the first couple of days, but in this house, there’s not a place where that girl is really welcomed. That girl laughs too much, feels things too deeply, wears her heart out on her sleeve.
The girl that lives in this house, has lots of responsibilities and not a lot of joy. The girl that lives here, only dreams of a life without the chains and knows in her heart that she can’t really escape. The girl that lives here has a sense of obligation and a very narrow sense of right and wrong and knows that what will slowly kill her is her misplaced loyalty. The girl that lives here is a realist, not a dreamer and she often fights with that other female, you know, the one that I was for the past three weeks.
They fight about silly little things like writing time vs. cleaning the house time. They fight because one wants to search out a job to pay for the large car repair bill and groceries, but the other one wants to publish a book that will change the world. One girl looks selfishly to her own wants and needs and the other puts on her golden halo and talks about promises and vows. They bicker back and forth in a constant screaming litany about this thing or that thing and what should be done. The responsible girl hates the free girl and the free girl only feels the cold steel from the bars that enclose her. These girls are more than sisters, more than friends, and yet, they don’t seem to be able to find a space to co-exist.
These girls are me.
They’ve been with me all my life, though the realist never allowed me to fully see the dreamer girl. Yes, there were glimpses of the free spirited me, but until three years ago, that part of me was never given a voice and never acted upon. Then came that day in July when things forever changed. The blinders came off and that fun loving, self-serving girl was given free reign for an afternoon. After that day, I knew she existed and it was impossible to go back to my survival mode of thinking. In the beginning, she schemed behind my back and whispered to me in the form of friends who were placed in my life at the best possible moment. That hippie-like girl encouraged me to try things I had never tried before and at my first grown-up play, she laughed and cried and opened my heart like never before. That silly girl had the power to heal the hurts of an abusive childhood. That little nymph had the ability to make me feel things so much deeper than before. She was a magical girl and the sound of her laughter in my ears was like listening to a river of water as it cascades over the rainbow.
That girl encouraged me to start writing again and she could barely contain her enthusiasm when I started my first blog. That sweet, sweet girl helped me to fall in love with life again and it was her bubbly personality that got to eat world-famous Memphis ribs and listen to jazz while sitting on the banks of the Mississippi. That lovely girl was enchanted by Broadway, not so much by sushi. That girl once had a comical meltdown in a Red Robin restaurant because of the art adorning the walls. That same girl then walked outside and shared the beauty of a double rainbow with her closest friend. That insane, funny girl is the same one that cries buckets at sad movies, and loves eating Mickey waffles on lazy Sunday afternoons. One day last year, that crazy girl decided to participate in a workshop that ended six weeks later with a novel of more than 100,000 words being written. Yeah, that was ALL her fault!
The girl that lives here is a practical sort. She makes her bed everyday and makes sure the bathtub gets cleaned. She opens stacks of mail and pays the bills, even when there’s not much left in the savings account. The no-nonsense girl decides what’s for dinner and strives to remain pleasant when the same damn question gets asked twenty times. I’ve noticed that girl taking huge, sighing breaths and I’ve observed the numbers on the blood pressure monitor slowly climbing back into the high category. There’s days that the obligated girl can’t seem to stop the leaking from her eyes and wonders what it’s all about. The serious girl doesn’t see the need for freedom, laughter or happiness. My life is enough for this girl.
So, it’s overcast again today in the Ozarks. Probably going to have torrential rain later this afternoon. The two girls sit in front of my laptop and look out on the day. One sees an endless season of clouds and storms while the other one remembers hot desert nights and the way the air felt on her free skin. One girl accepts that life has it’s ups and downs and accepts that it’s up to her to hold it together, but the other girl? She refuses to settle for what is and starts her scheming once again to find that place where she’s free to be everything she was meant to be.
I know that there will eventually come a point where one has to kill off the other. It always happens in the best of books, and honestly, I don’t think that the two girls will ever be able to be present at the same time. Do we root for hippie girl? Even though she’s very impractical and much too wild for most? Or, do we vote for the steadfast, loyal, heavily bound girl to win the race? There’s days, including today, that it just seems way too much. I’m overwhelmed at their attitudes, as it seems neither one of them is happy with me. But, the day goes on. The conflict goes on. The battle continues. Just once, I would love the battle to be won by either one or the other. Either happiness and a mantle of guilt and regret, or, the knowledge that I did the right thing, even if it was at the expense of my soul.
You’ve seen that meme about how you should be nice to everyone because you never know the battle they are fighting. It’s absolutely true. We all disguise our inner selves and put on a face each day that the world expects to see. I’m no different. Have a thousand or so extra Summer masks in my closet, probably one for every occasion. The good days, the bad days, the days without hope, and the days of bright sunshine. The two girls discuss it between themselves and so the day begins. Overcast, again.