Invisibility Cloak

It’s been really hard trying to adjust to life in Oregon.

People have been telling me that it’ll take time.  Like, 2 or 3 years.  You know, to find friends and get used to the rain.

Well, it’s been 3.75 years and I’m still waiting.  Waiting to feel…adjusted.

I’ve moved before and it hasn’t felt like this.  So I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out what is different about this time and this place.

Many things are different: this move is permanent, with no end date in sight.  I didn’t move here for a reason of my own, meaning that we moved here because of my husband’s job and not because of work or school for me.  We don’t have any family close, not anywhere in state.  I moved here 8 weeks pregnant and have been largely housebound raising kids ever since.  The weather suuuuuucks.

But all this I’d been over in my mind, again and again, and nothing felt heavy enough to be such a roadblock.  Perhaps all of them put together is what is blocking my road?

Of course, there’s more.  My life is pretty unrecognizable from what it was 4 years ago.  I was working full time, not yet married, not yet a mom (of two).  I had friends and family.  Hobbies.  A brain.  A life.

Now I feel like I am getting somewhere – that along with grieving the loss of my homeland (via the move), I am grieving the loss of my identity.  Before, I was a therapist.  A partner.  Active, creative, thoughtful.  Productive.  Energetic.  Mobile.  Free.

I look at the clothes hanging in my closet, and I don’t recognize the woman who wore those clothes.  She’s not me, but I kind of remember her, the way one remembers a grandmother who died when you were a child.  I deeply miss her.

I feel like becoming a capitol M-O-M has wiped out any identity I had that doesn’t pertain to my relationship with my kids.  People no longer ask about me, they ask about the kids.  Or they ask about how I am in relation to the kids, as a mom, and not as a person.  (Because moms aren’t people, you guys.)

Edit: To be fair, my momfriends very much DO genuinely ask how I am doing.  It’s just that most often, I’m unable to answer honestly or with much gory detail because of the circumstances (read: kids running around trying to kill themselves).

Make no mistake, I’ve definitely been making an effort to integrate myself into my new life.  This introvert and homebody has forced herself to join a moms club, get to library story times, and go to various playgroups.  I’ve made friends and enjoyed some of what Oregon has to offer.

What finally hit me was something my good friend said to me recently.  I was bitching about how being a mom gets in the way of making good quality friendships because even when my momfriends and I can get together we’re still always chasing after our kids and can’t have a decent conversation.  I can’t remember how the conversation went, but I think I said that my momfriends and I mostly talk about our kids because that’s what we have in common, but we don’t share who we are as people.  And she pointed out that none of the people I am meeting and trying to forge relationships with in Oregon knew me before I had kids.  I just read back what I typed, and I can see how that may not sound so earth-shattering, but it definitely felt that way to me.  Besides my husband and this particular friend, zero people in Oregon knew who I was before children.  There’s been essentially no carryover from my old life to the new one, in every way possible.  Ugh.

As I take this thought and play the tape through in my mind, I’m seeing another layer of difficulty in trying to make new friends: not only do we lack the logistical opportunities as moms, but I am working blind.  I don’t even know who this new me is yet, and no one here knew the old me, and in that sense I feel completely invisible – swallowed up by my children (and then pooped out for me to clean up).

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Bridezillas are made, not born

I am exhausted, you guys.

Seriously, people keep asking me if I am excited about my upcoming wedding, and…I’m not.

I mean, I want to get married and I feel like I have been waiting for this for forever, but the planning, ooh the planning, has just sucked the life out of me and I have no energy left.

What energy I do muster up is spent on my clients, and after that, I have nothing left.

It doesn’t help that my dress was 5 weeks late and I just got to see it yesterday for the first time since ordering it in January.  And now I have to bend over backwards to get this thing altered in time.  And it’s great that the bridal shop is compensating me with reduced fees, but you know what I really want?  I want them to erase the anxiety I went through.  The anxiety I still have and can’t seem to shake.

Which brings me to another subject….

I’ve been reading Quiet by Susan Cain, and even though I am not finished yet (I have much less time for reading these days), it’s been soooo validating.  While I always knew that I was on the introverted side of the spectrum, I never knew that all these things about my personality tied into all those introvert personality traits.  Since introverted traits are often pathologized, (“She just needs to come out of her shell,” and “Why are you so quiet?  Are you mad at me?”) it was awesome to read a different spin – that I groove better with a lesser level of stimulation, is all.

I plan to blog more about my introversion later, but this brings me back to the wedding stuff.  In theory, I like being the center of attention, but in reality I often shy away.  And at weddings, the bride is the center of attention.  Let’s face it, I’m going to look smashing in my fluffy white dress, so can you blame people?  There’s also a shitload of stimulation going on at a wedding, especially at your own.  I’ll be going around talking to everyone, which don’t get me wrong – it’s going to be awesome – but it’s also going to be taxing.

I suppose I just wonder how I am going to handle it.  I guess that’s what my groom is for, to help me get through this…I mean, he’s an introvert, too.  Maybe we need to have a safety word or something for when it’s time to go hide in the bathroom.  It’s ok, because people will just assume we’re going in there to bang.

Speaking of hiding in the bathroom, I totally understand how bridezillas are made.  That’s right, they aren’t born, they’re made.  The evil wedding factory takes in perfectly rational, in-love (oxymoron?) engaged females, throws them into the fires of Mt. Doom and cranks out bridezillas like evil furby dolls, except less hairy and with more lace.  Their fiances won’t recognize them anymore.  The bridezillas will burst into tears because they stepped in cat vomit that morning and their poor gentlemen will be at a loss as to how to console them.  And then the bridezillas set fire to the house.

So, this is where I am right now.  Maybe a tad bit of an exaggeration, but you get it.  And I am going to a wedding this weekend…mixed feelings about that.  On one hand, it’s a break from planning, a break from stress, a break from my life.  I’ll get to watch people in love (!) and I’ll get to eat and drink and dance.  But it’s also time away from planning, which let’s face it, may make me even more stressed.  And, I mean, it’s a wedding, so it’ll kinda remind me of my own and how it just needs to GET HERE.