Finding My Way HomeDec 09, 2019
Touching this dried up, worn out cream cloth with all of its imperfections, I’m reminded of all the pieces of my life up until this point. A life that almost seems unrecognizable to me now.
Who was I? What was I all about? Why did I choose the life I did?
Frequently being pulled into the past, it’s all too familiar to me. Fast paced and full of risks was exactly the way I had liked my world back then.
With music blasting in the background on my outdated speaker, I heard my boys’ laughter resonating from downstairs as they shouted out in glee in anticipation of watching their favourite flick on this cold Saturday night. While I carefully outlined my lips in a rose coloured lip liner, my eyes gazed into the mirror in wonder of what tonight had in store for me.
A ritual had been unintentionally created when many of my nights were spent going out. What had started off as “mom’s night out” quickly transformed into an addiction with no end in sight. In anticipation of such nights, I’d meticulously plan my days well in advance, leaving nothing to chance when it came to the kids. Their meals, evening routine and bed times were all well established. Although hiccups did happen as they inevitably would with little boys around, I’d convince myself that no matter what, I’d still be able to go out, albeit later than I expected.
Once the boys were settled in and their caregiver had been instructed a million times over on expectations, which I later came to realize was a natural reaction to mom guilt, I’d turn the attention onto myself. With the bedroom doors closed, I’d brush past the cats to pull out the outfit I had been scheming all day from my well stocked closet. Next up, a hot steamy shower to sink into the vibrations of the upcoming night – often a mix of excitement and dread.
With a mixer or two of Woody’s pink grapefruit in me, I admired myself in my tight hot outfit and kick ass heels, adorned in sparkles and smelling as heavenly as ever (think Poison by Dior). I couldn’t help but bust out some dance moves there, in front of my bathroom mirror, feeling proud of myself for pulling it together once again. There was one last thing left to do before I made a dash for the front door. I quietly peeked around the bend of the corridor to find my boys snuggled up against each other on the big comfy family sofa while they watched the “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” and thought to myself, “why mess with a good thing?”. So instead of disturbing this peaceful scene, I gave the caregiver a nod of approval and in doing so, I forwent my responsibilities as a mother-at least for a few hours.
I quietly, yet hastily, tip toed my way out my main entrance to find my husband in the running car singing his rendition of Alive by Pearl Jam, still head banging the way he used to in our Uni days. “Let’s get going” I said. “We’re gonna be late and there’s no way I’m waiting in line”. Even all these years later, I still dreaded risking a line up to get into a club despite the royal treatment I’d become accustomed to over the years – a privilege I’d earned by being a regular guest at the Indian Motorcycle Club.
The night flowed as it always did. A bit of flirting, some drinking, and a whole lot of dancing. The vibes ran high but only to be followed by a sudden dip and crash the morning after. I’d be nursing a hangover while my boys climbed over me in my massive King size bed, craving for some mommy attention but, I often had very little or none to give. I ushered over their caregiver while I begged the clock for a bit more sleep.
When I wander back to those days – the days that stole a decade of my life-my stomach churns. It was never how I had envisioned my life to be. But somehow, it ended up that way. I was often called a “party girl” and I wore this label as a badge of honour until I didn’t.
Many years of guilt pursued.
The guilt of depriving my boys a proper childhood and robbing them of the motherhood they deserved at such tender ages. The guilt of not meeting parental, societal and cultural expectations. The guilt of abusing my body the way I did with all my late nights and drinking. The guilt of wasting 10 years of my life to absolute gluttony, of giving into temptations. Most of all, the guilt of not being able to stop myself when I should’ve.
In more recent years, I was at dinner party in a restaurant downtown Toronto and I found myself on the dance floor when the restaurant later turned into a lounge. On the surface, it seemed just like the good ol’ days except this time, I was definitely a woman in control and not the lost girl I used to be. I felt a tap on my shoulder. A youngish (well younger than me fer sure) brown skinned, good looking man was trying to place me. He finally said, “Aren’t you the Indian Motorcycle girl from back in the day?” to which I politely responded, “sorry, but you’ve got the wrong girl”.
Here I was. 10 years later. And clearly, some things stick.
I hadn’t realized until that moment on the dance floor with the young man watching from afar that I had left that much of an impression during my younger years. Not once had I removed myself from the scenes of my “party days” to witness and remark on what had transpired since.
These days, you’ll often find me wrapped up in the cozy four walls of my home. If I’m out, I’m eagerly awaiting the drive home in anticipation of the warmth of my bed and hitting the pillow with immense gratitude for what is. A sense of peace and rootedness washes over me when darkness falls and I’m in the comfort and security of my home, engaging in some nourishing act of self care. I had deprived myself of this gift in my younger years, which was plagued with anxiety and restlessness.
It’s funny how things can change drastically but methodically. Each twist and turn served a purpose. It’s almost intentional. I say this because without the experience of what I had gone through, I wouldn’t have appreciated the beauty in my stillness today. Trekking my way through muddy terrain illuminated an alternative perspective and strengthened the vigilance with which I live my life today.
I also am learning to continuously remind myself to refrain from providing unsolicited advice to others who are walking behind me on this same path. It takes a lot out of me to resist the temptation to teach them what I know. When I try to prevent others from their hurt, I’m robbing them of their experiences and whatever mess they need to grow. Listening is what I’m doing more of these days and it’s such a sacred practice. In the listening, I frequently see myself in the other and it helps deepen our connection. When I think back to my days of partying, it was exactly the thing I needed. I needed someone to witness me but not to judge. I find that listening does just that.
I’ve finally let go of feeling guilty because it’s not serving me or those around me. In fact, it holds me back.
Maybe you’ll find it surprising to hear me say that I wouldn’t change a thing about my past with all of its insanity and whirlwind moments. I love hearing stories of lives riddled with failures because the humans behind these stories are the very same humans I admire, respect and aspire to be like.
My attention shifts back to the roughness of the cream cloth which has now started to soften. My hand’s become more comfortable in its sharp edges, reminding me of all the ways our scars create beauty.