Monday, August 11, 2008

Giving Up the Dream?


Disclaimer** It is my prerogative to feel one way on Saturday and COMPLETELY different on MONDAY. Got it? Good.


This morning I woke up and didn't want to get out of bed. I wanted to pull the covers over my head and so I did (only a few summer days left to be able to do this). My sheets are the color of a September sky and I let them rest on my face, forming a blue silhouette of my body, still as a corpse that's just been covered in a hospital. I could picture the nurse in her glowing white uniform, the sun shining behind her head as she walks up and covers me, saying "Yep, this one didn't make it."

For some reason I woke up wishing to be a "simple" Mormon girl again. By simple, I don't mean simple minded, I mean simply beautiful and believing and full of faith and hope (like Jenn's beautiful comment described yesterday!). Now, I still have all those qualities, but whereas before they were each beautifully laid out on the kitchen table of my life, it seems I have taken them, put them in a blender, pressed the liquify button, and now don't know how to tell one from the other. I'm not quite sure what kind of girl I am anymore, or what I really want to ask from life.

Two years ago my life was a lot more simple. I knew I wanted to marry an LDS man, in the LDS temple, and raise children who believed in all of these things and were strong and immovable in the faith and we would have beautiful time singing Primary hymns about Jesus. We would skip to various places in slow motion. My hair would always be perfectly combed. The sun would always shine. My husband's teeth would sparkle when he smiled. We would say family prayers, kneeling next to one another as I had grown up doing with my family. We would go to church each Sunday, in matching outfits (just kidding, I never wanted this, but I have seen it a lot). My daughters would get the Young Womanhood Recognition awards and my boys would be Eagle Scouts. I would serve in the Relief Society with a smile, and I would know how to grind wheat, and I would know how to bake homemade bread because it is healthier and better and cheaper. I would stay at home and teach my children to read before they went to Kindergarten. Goodness, maybe I would even home school and have children who were on a 9th grade reading level at only 10 years of age! All these things I could see clearly, and I really did want them.

I don't anymore. Not exactly these things.

My dreams are different now...a little more hazy, a little more self-aware. But the two things that have been constants are the dreams of wife and mother.

And I woke up this morning truly wondering if there comes a point in life where you just give up the dream. Does there come a point in a woman's life where she should just let it go? I mean, really! Should I just stop dating, stop trying? Stop putting myself out there again and again? I always told myself it would be when I turned 34. I don't know if I can hold on that long anymore.

It's hard to pose this question to my readers because most of you are married and you do have children and you can't picture your lives without either of those two factoring into the equation.

But, I am feeling old. I am not that old, I know. But today I feel old. And I feel tired. I am tired of carrying around this dream.


So, I've been thinking all morning "Wow, D'Arce, when are you just going to let it go? When are you going to realize this might not be YOUR path. When are you going to get the ball rolling on other things? Isn't it finally time to give up the dream of husband and family and realize it just might not be in the cards for you? Huh? Are you listening to me D'Arcy? When is enough finally going to be ENOUGH? You've been at it for OVER a decade!!!!!!!!!! When you just gonna give it up?"


So, does there come a time to give up one dream, replace it with another, and move on? Is it HUMANLY possible to ever give up that idea of finding the right person? How did it get SO ingrained in our genetic make-up?




P.S. It does not help that I have a bridal photo shoots scheduled for the next four weeks. Not at all.

27 comments:

Sugar said...

I felt so much older when I was thirty than I do now that I am thirty-eight. I think I look a lot better, too. I smile more. I dance more. I sing (out of tune sometimes) more. It's like I'm 23 sans hangovers. Life Is Good!

There are lots of reasons for this rejuvination of heart, mind, and soul. Mostly, I stopped setting myself up to these way high personal expectations that only I was holding myself to. I had the same picture of an idilic marriage that you described. I think most little girls might have felt that way, at some point. Makes me giggle now. Especially in my current situation. Oh, irony... so wicked yet so funny.

I am going to be the first to say that nobody should ever give up on a dream. Our hearts are called to a life that will happen. It's our job to do the little things in life as we patiently wait for those gifts to arrive. But remember to open them when they show up... don't leave this world with unwrapped gifts!

You said you always wanted to be married at 34. This is sort of similar... I always thought I would own a home by 32. Funny thing... while I wasn't looking, I was 32 and buying a house. Do you think you put that number in your own head or do you think it might have been a whisper from your soul? And if you aren't walking down an aisle at 34, what else might be happening?

Live your dreams, D'Arcy... ALL of them. Life is what happens in the in-between times. Love will happen when you least expect it.

Rowena said...

I think your life can still be simple and good. Perhaps it won't be EASY, though. It is much easier to follow a path that so many people have already trod. It is not so easy to forge your own path.

And I don't think you should give up on your dream of partnership and family and children. But maybe you should "let it go."

That doesn't mean to never want it, it means to release the hold on what it should look like and how much you want it and how you are feeling old and just be OPEN. Easier said than done. I had to work hard on being open to a man. But I had spent so many years alone and independent that I was willing to let go of all the things that were holding me back.

Is it perfect? No. Is it easy? No. Are there problems along the way? Hell yeah. But it's good. And the truth of the matter is that relationship I was looking for started within myself. It wasn't about the guy at all. Is that weird? And when things get tough in my relationship, I remember to be whole within myself so that I can come to the relationship as an equal, not an appendage.

Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

D'Arce, what are you thinking? That stupid picture you painted is nobody's reality. And anyone who puts forth such an appearance is breaking their back (and their sanity) to do it.

Look. Life is short. Don't fill the few days you have on this earth with regret. Married or unmarried you are not going to be happy unless you CHOOSE to be happy. Happy single people become happy married people. Unhappy single people become unhappy married people.

To answer your question. Yes, throw out that stupid, unattainable dream. There aren't enough hours in the day to achieve that sort of Martha Stewart looking-glass kind of life.

I have a friend who owns a sign that says, "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life!" Hallelulia! Live your dreams now! Write! Read! Teach! Attend the theater! Be happy!

If by chance some guy comes along, he will not be perfect (because God didn't make 'em that way). Life will not be a pretty fantasy, whether you are married or single. So you take what you get and enjoy the good stuff and ignore the rest.

D'Arce, for crying out loud, you are only 30! And I hate to say this, but if you were scheduled to get married tomorrow, you would not be living the fantasy you always longed for. You would find a new life full of compromise, sacrifice and trials. But it would be a good life...depending on whether or not you chose to be happy no matter what.

Ack! I cannot stop pouring out my soul on this crazy blog! Stop doing this to me! It's making me exhausted!!!

Sugar said...

Rowena: Let it go is the best advice anyone can give. Totally agree.

Jenn: Damn, Girl! Get ye a column, already! Ann Landers' got nothin' on you! Choose to be happy... YES!

Got Bombshell? said...

I was just telling one of my friends last night that I have lost a lot of my confidence BECAUSE I am 30. I can barely even say it out loud, 30. Ick. I hate it. And I feel like I have hit some sort of expiration date of being attractive, desirable, etc...
I don't actually believe it, but I know that I project my unnatural lower level of confidence (I am usually almost too confident in myself, and think I am way prettier and have more to offer than I probably even do) in my young single adult ward, and I am pretty sure that that makes me less attractive, and so no one wants to talk to me or get to know me, and then I feel worse, and it's a viscious cycle that makes me think that my life is basically already over. It is crazy. Even typing it I can tell it seems totally crazy...
But, the way you feel is the way you feel. Some days are better than others. We will both feel better tomorrow.
Plus, look at that pic of you on the next post: you are totally gorgeous and talented and fabulous, and I barely know you!!! So, you will have plenty more men to love and reject and have kids with if one of them is ever good enough to settle for(which seems to be my problem...)
I had to go to two wedding receptions this weekend, and hear a sacrament meeting about getting married. That's about as bad a beat-down as a girl can handle, especially when she is about to be the magical age of 31, and get kicked out of the singles ward. This is a blog I am planning on writing soon, so sorry for the spoiler... but it's like the Church is like, "we have done all we can for you, and now you are ON YOUR OWN. You are clearly unmarriable, so go live like a pariah in a family ward, sit on the back row, and accept invites to families' houses on Sunday afternoons for pity casserole." Yep. Can you imagine?

Hayley and Gregory Bean said...

Geez Jenn, why don't you go over to her house and beat her too! There is nothing wrong with having that fairy tale dream. Most girls do. There is nothing wrong with D'arcy wanting that. I also think that she should keep wanting that. I agree that she should not linger and be sad, but I also don't think she should think it will never happen for her. Heavenly Father wants to give us our righteous desires, and getting married falls into that category. If she wants that, Heavenly Father will bless her. My point: People shouldn't let their days be saddened by not being married, but by being happy in the moment, and have faith that when it is their time, they will get married.
Now D'arcy, my sister has had it pretty easy when it comes to the dreams you have wanted (marriage and babies). For goodness sakes, she got pregnant with Laura right after getting married! She never had to wait long for anything. She never had to think that she might not be able to have kids.
I always wanted to have the same life as Jenn. I wanted to go to BYU and marry someone exactly like Steve. Then, I wanted to have babies right away, just like Jenn. Well, I started to follow her path. I got married at the same age as she did but did not get pregnant for two years! Plus I had a miscarriage. Why was I not as fertile as Jenn or my mom?
I started to wonder if it was in the cards for me. I wondered if my anorexia had srewed up my women parts. I got sad after my period would start because it meant no baby. I wondered, "Why me? Why did I have to go though all the crap while Jenn lived a perfect life?"
Jenn would always tell me that you have to be happy in the moment, whatever your life may be. She told me that if I think, "Once I have a baby I will finally be happy," then I will never be happy, because then I will think, "Now if I could just buy a house I will finally be happy." Do you see what I mean? You will never be happy in life till you can be happy with whatever is going on in your life at that moment.
I had to learn that not having a baby right away was okay; I had to learn to be happy in my moment. Then, once my baby came, I didn't regret those years of waiting for the baby, but instead I look back on great experiences that I could not of had if I had a baby.
So, enjoy being single. You get to have so many experiences. But, keep your dream of wanting marriage alive. It's a good dream. It will happen for you, maybe not on your time schedule, but on the Lord's. You'll see. Before you know it you'll have been married ten years, and you'll look back at your single years and be so glad you got to experience the best of both worlds!

*I am the only one allowed to make this comment to Jenn. She is my sister, and I am the only one aloud to be mean to her. So, no one else comment meanly back to her, or you'll get an ear full from me!

D'Arcy said...

wow.

I opened a BIG Can o' Worms.

Women of the World UNITE!

Jenn...once in a while, a nice virtual hug would do. :) But I think Sugar is right...you need a column.


I know everything you ladies are saying. I am not sitting at home crying in my cornflakes.

I have traveled, been educated, lived in different countries, pursued all of my dreams, I really have an amazingly full life.

I know this.

I am grateful for it.

Each day I improve myself just a bit.

I don't want or expect a fantasy life and marriage.

I'm not that girl.

I don't waste time thinking about this that much. Or stressing or worrying. I live life to the fullest.


But we all have days like this, right? And like Bombshell said, we just have to feel the feelings out. So I am.

skippylongjacket said...

As another thirty year old single woman in the LDS church, oh yeah, I know all of those feelings. I was crying my heart out to Prez T about my latest heartache a few weeks ago. He accused me of not truly accepting God's will and told me I needed to reconcile myself to the fact that I might never get married. Know what? I think I could accept that. If I never get married, okay. I have faith that God can take care of my needs until then and after He will make it right. There are so many options and possibilities in this world, how nice to be able to hang up the dream and pursue those instead. And yay to never having to date and put myself through this hell again. Except life is not that easy. What I soon recognized was that what I really needed to reconcile myself to was the possibility that I might never get married AND I might have to keep going through heartache after heartache as I continued to put myself out there and try to find someone and be let down again and again. Ouch. I realized I have not had enough faith that God's plan for me might include just that. That He must be shaping me in some way, preparing me, allowing things to happen. But that He also must know I can take this and will provide comfort and hope along the way. Though it's still hard, it's been better since I figured that much out.

I know you are searching out your relationship with God right now, too. But I also know you understand the place from which I am coming.

I have more thoughts. But it will have to wait!

mccabe said...

this is such a beautifully honest, real post.
brave you.
:)

i can only share my own experiences. i did not meet my man till i was 31-it has been 3 years and i too am 34. we are not married, and i too thought i would be by now.

but i am okay with it. i am finding that the dream is valid, and much of it came true, however-I HAVE CHANGED and it does not look exactly how i thought it would.

and yet i would not want it any other way.

so, in my humble opinion, no-one should never give up the dream. but maybe the dream does not look exactly like you thought.

if it did, where would the magic be?

hope this helps.

i send you so much love,
mccabe x

Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

Hey, isn't the hug implied! I'll have you know I don't get all impassioned unless I really, really care a lot.

But just in case...

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Kimbie said...

D'Arcy-
Boy oh boy do i know how you feel. I think its natural for us to wax and wane in our emotions as we try to deal with the possiblities of life without love simply because its something that can't control. Being artists, I think we seek/need this more so in our lives because we are passionate people.
I wish I knew the magic dose which helps to ease the burden of such feelings but the truth is , I think those doubts/ yearning are there so we can remember what we really want. This way we don't forget- and we can keep our eyes out for it.
For many years, I never wanted to marry because I thought all men are addicted to pornography and will hurt me or leave me. But then I realized that love is worth the risk and so in the last few months, I have started to put myself out there. To send positive energy out through smiles , eye contact and other feminine wiles so that i can let men know I am looking. I think that my negative attitude for so many years rubbed off and so i was only approached by , well , the custodians at my school who make sexual passes. hahahahahaits kinda funny i will have to tell you one day.

I hope that you can get that dream. Your dream is poetic and totally obtainable- its not like it will be all white teeth forever but there will be those sunny days and when you have them you will recognize them and appreciate all of its beauty. I met a man in Miami who sang me love songs and he said something that really struck a cord with me. We were sitting on a little bench that lead to South Beach and talked about life, love and music. He talked about how it was fate that lead us to meet for this brief moment- both giving the other what we needed that day. he said look at all of those people, who have come by and look at me wierd when I don't play but you, you smiled and asked me. So many times people walk by beauty b/c they are focused on the horizon.

When he said that I had my movie moment. Where the world seemed to stopped nad I realized how often I keep my eye on the horizon or goal or whatever I am working towards that I walk right by absolute beauty b/c I dont look at where i am at the moment.

So D'Arcy, look at the horizon, go towards it but enjoy the beauty that you are in right now. For once we reach the horizon we can not get back the beauty we passed by b/c its already gone.

I love you and I need to visit you.

Good luck in honoring your emotions:)

Love,

Kimberly

jomama said...

ok, i haven't read all the comments all the way through, so i might be repeating, but here's what i think, for what it's worth.
i know this is just a way for you to vent your feelings, d'arce, and i know that you're an extremely smart, well-educated, sensitive and mature person. in other words, i know that you know all this.
at one point in my life i was in therapy, and i remember telling terra (she was great) that i felt like i had all these dreams and plans that just had never happened and that i was really hanging on to some of them and i was upset that i hadn't accomplished them.
she told me that my life was different now than when i began to dream some of those dreams, and that some of them just weren't going to be accomplished now that my life had changed. she said i needed to make small steps to accomplish the goals that were attainable, and the ones that i gave up i needed to mourn for, as if they had died. i liked that idea of mourning for the dreams that i was giving up, and it really helped me.
i definitely am not saying you should mourn for your dream of marriage and a family, i guess i'm saying that you can work on the dreams that are within your power to reach, and the other ones...i don't know, you can shelve them for a while. or not.
i'm just sorry that you're not having a wonderful time right now, but i know things are going to work out for you, as trite and silly as that sounds.
i love you!

Rowena said...

Hey D'arcy, you're blue. That's all. There's nothing wrong with you, even if the world around you says there is and you start to believe it.

In a few days or weeks, or maybe even longer, you will start to feel happy again. It will make sense. You are having growing pains. It's okay to think about all this stuff. To worry and feel defeated. It won't last forever, and I promise you, you will find happiness.

I know these things. Trust me.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
I think Rowena has it nailed. And if I may go a bit further I see nothing wrong with feeling blue or melancholy from time to time, not depressed but melancholy. I think it makes us appreciate what we really have. You have such a solid foundation from your upbringing, and now you are looking outwards more, it is a challenge, one I think you are more than up to. Van has a perfect song for these moments, called Melancholia, off Days Like This. Listen.
Arohanui,
Robb

Kimbie said...

p.s.
being a wedding photographer as a single person can suck...well alot of the time...its like love is being rubbed in your face....lol
but at the same time its amazing b/c you are constantly reminded that people can find the happiness that we all seek. so now i love it..well sometime:)

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

You're melancholy, sweetheart. Robb hit it on the head. Normal stuff. (Plus, you just went through a breakup, which is ALWAYS icky and makes you feel like a piece of raw meat.... all exposed and vulnerable.)

Focus on today.... not all the "what if's" in the future... (THAT is guaranteed to drive you nuts.)

Why don't you call me tomorrow - you have my number, right? I'm in my office all day long.

I'll make you laugh - I promise! :-)
Plus we'll have a good talk.

Chin up, girl.... "this too shall pass".

Love you!

HWHL

D'Arcy said...

Bombshell...you've got a great style (writing, shoes, and otherwise!!) I LOVE it when you comment!

I have a feeling the age of 31 just might be magical...casseroles and all!!

D'Arcy said...

Hayley, thank you so much for commenting. I love what you had to say and I can hear the wisdom in your advice, I had no idea you struggled for so long for your darling daughter. (I thought all Talbots were very fertile!) I am so glad that good things have come your way and I am sure that many more will.

D'Arcy said...

Skippy---I get where you are coming from, I really do. That's been a tough week for you, and in the midst of that you call me on Saturday and ask how I AM doing!! Your a good soul. I am so glad you've been in my life this past year.

What do you say we just pick up and take another raod trip to Denver?

D'Arcy said...

mccabe, that's great advice, keeping dreams malleable instead of rigid seems to be the way to keep dreams alive.

D'Arcy said...

Kimbie!!

Wow, your story has blown me away. What a MOMENT!!

"So many times people walk by beauty because they are focused on the horizon. "

I love it! I want to remember that!

Thank you dear! Way to be brave and open yourself up!!

D'Arcy said...

jomama--good advice. thanks for your email too. let's chat again soon? like tomorrow?

D'Arcy said...

Rowena, I trust you.

D'Arcy said...

Robb. I am listening now. Thank you friend!!

D'Arcy said...

HWHL--tomorrow then! It's on. I want some jokes, got it!!

skippylongjacket said...

Hey, I'm up for Denver whenever! Or anywhere! I'm so glad you've been in my life, too. You mean a lot to me. Don't let anyone get you down for feeling the way you do. Yeah, I'm all about having a positive attitude, finding the good, counting your blessings, yada yada. I do believe life is what you make of it and we are responsible for our own happiness. And yet. And yet. Sometimes you just get to be sad. Sometimes you can look at your life and know it is good, but still need a good cry. Deservedly so. Doesn't mean it needs to be forever, just means you get to feel that way too, without feeling guilty for feeling that way. All emotions are part of life and each should get the time it deserves on your stage. Sometimes you need to mourn loss, to truly experience the emotion, in order to work through it and past it. As they say, have to know the bad to know the good. I do love life. And I really just love you! Hang in D!

Boquinha said...

What a great post and great comments!

Here's my mini-contribution. I think it's possible to keep 2 things in mind concurrently:

1. "All suffering is caused by attachment--let it go."

2. Dream big and follow your heart. You CAN have it all.

:)