I've had an epiphany this morning. I have been fighting against SC ever since I moved back here. I have hated the pace. I've been annoyed with the inconveniences. I've judged the lifestyle. I've railed against the low wages. In general, I've had a very bad attitude about coming home.
In the past week, though, I have begun journaling and making an effort to record my daily gratitude. I have come to realize that I am exactly where I need to be at this point in time. While I am far from settled in my heart or life, this period has allowed me time to truly be selfish and have some fun. I married at 18, and had my children at 20 and 24. After my first divorce, I went to college and worked three jobs while raising my kids. The past 20 years of my life have been devoted to the needs of others.
At 43 years old, my kids are grown (I can't believe my son just got married!) and my last major relationship finally died. It was pure intuition that lead me to a return to home to Charleston. The thing was, even though I felt called here, it felt like a step back. I had been running a business. I had been living a wonderful lifestyle. I had amazing friends in FL. I was not ready to give all of that up. Every challenge that I faced in SC was like further confirmation of my poor choice to move here. When I left SC all of those years ago, I had no intention of returning.
Now, though, I feel my heart shifting, ever so slightly. I realize that I have been pushing SC away. With every challenge and disappointment, I have used it to justify my dissatisfaction. Of course, I am not making much money here - the pay sucks! Of course, there is pettiness and small-mindedness - I'm in the South! Of course, I am facing sexist attitudes - that's just the way "they" are! I am from here, though. As much as I hate it, I am of this place. I have internalized many of these attitudes, even as I have railed against them. I am coming to realize that my struggle with the return here is that I finally have to make peace with myself, instead of running from this.
I also realize that I have an opportunity in this time, to remake my life in whatever fashion I choose. Since April, I have lost 72 lbs, and continue losing weight. I am healthier than I have been since I was in high school. I feel as though I am shedding years of pent up anger, pain, and craziness. This time is allowing me the chance to do the internal work that I never had time to do when I was raising my kids.
I am trying to discover what I want my life to be for the next 40 or so years of my life. Do I want another husband? Do I want to move back to FL? Do I want to remain a "gypsy," as my friends so lovingly call me? I do know the number one thing I want to gain in this time, is an appreciation for being alone, and peace of mind. At times, the pain and restlessness when I am alone in intolerable. It is not a desire for (or loss of) a lover that is painful, but rather the relentless thoughts that intrude in my brain. For years, wine and wild nights were able to silence that. Now that I am not drinking, I am forced to face and harness this energy. I have been working to tame that. I can no longer run from it, but must allow it to flow through and be released. I am finally ready to work through my demons.