by Christine LaRocque

When I was a younger I was a much more confident woman. My youth afforded me a certain innocence that empowered me to be bold about my beliefs, to be forthright and to speak openly and from the heart. If I felt strongly about an issue, I was never afraid to stand behind the strength of my convictions. I was a newshound, a political junky. I was conscious of the world around me. I could argue endlessly with people, sometimes based on knowledge, but mostly just because I believed in something.

In retrospect, I remember it being a powerful feeling. I was never afraid to just speak. I never worried about what others thought because I was so sure of myself. I was brave. Somewhere along the line I lost that.

The thing is, until recently, I wasn’t even aware that I had lost this core part of myself. It was so lost, I didn’t even miss it. Returning to work after a second maternity leave, blogging, social media, and being more connected than ever has reminded me what it is to have passion, to feel fulfilled by knowledge. I’ve read countless personal accounts from those who feel strongly about an issue, felt their conviction and been moved by it. I’ve been in awe of the confidence of others, how bravely they stand behind what is important to them. Slowly, I’ve been reminded that I too was once like that. So strange, it has been like a light bulb inside of me, burning dully but growing brighter each day, an awakening that inspires me to find that part of myself once again.

I can speculate as to why I’ve been enveloped in a cocoon. Certainly pregnancy and the birth of my two sons have played a significant part. Babies, motherhood, I believe can render us numb to the outside world. They need us so completely that it can be difficult to separate ourselves, to step beyond meeting their basic needs and being available completely, emotionally and physically. Often I’ve felt there was nothing left of me to give beyond mothering my children. There is simply so little time left to be passionate for anything else.

As women and mothers our lives are often defined by the things we do for others. We put the needs of others first and our own are often last. We say yes to caring for our children, nurturing relationships with our partners or our friends, our careers, managing a house, writing our blogs, helping a neighbour or a family member, volunteering, social responsibilities, yes to endless responsibilities. I say yes to all of these things. I must.

And yet, I never feel like I’ve done enough and constantly feel overwhelmed. All of these roles, most that are about who we are to others, define us, shape us, and make us whole. Without them, I daresay, we would lose ourselves. How odd is that? To feel overwhelmed and beholden while at the same time fulfilled. Where is the middle ground?

I think I’ve moved to a safe place. I’ve become more hesitant about exposing my passion for fear of ridicule, of being wrong, of not being liked. It’s absurd really, and yet it’s true. While I should have become more confident as I’ve grown older, in fact, quite the opposite is true. I am afraid to put myself out there. I worry that what I have to say is of little value. I’m weak for fear of criticism.

Not long ago, a wise woman said to me: You need to learn to live more from your heart and less from your mindIf you can do that you will find your centre and feel stronger in your life.

How profound, complex and significant. Yes, that is the woman I want to be!

There is much I must do and learn on my quest to find myself in my 30’s. I believe though, that the most fundamental missing part is a piece I once possessed and somehow lost along the way.

My confidence. My sense of self. An understanding of who I am as a woman, as an individual.

I’m moving forward with a goal of re-familiarizing myself with the things that once fuelled my passion. I want to live in a world that I know. I want to feel passionate about things once again. Motherhood is important to me. But I’m important to me too.

How do you fuel your passion? Do you step out of your shell and stand firm in the strength of your convictions? Are you afraid to speak what you believe for fear that you will be judged or do you say who cares what others think? Do you feel you’ve lost yourself in the journey that is motherhood? Do you know who you are? Or are you still looking?

 

Christine LaRocque is a full-time communications professional and mother to two boys under five. She blogs at www.coffeesandcommutes.com where she discusses the roles she plays in her life while trying to find a better sense of self. There is no specific formula to what she writes. Sometimes it’s about self-discovery and inspiration and other times she shares thoughts and observations on surviving motherhood.

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

4 Comments

  1. Very well said…this is the very reason I try and do something FABULOUS for myself everyday..no matter how small it may be…Just to remind myself of..well..ME! ME turns to WE when children come into the picture..and quite frankly..I F&%#ING LOVE ME!! That is the ME I have become from being just a little bit Fabulous…And because of it all I am a better ME in every other part of my life…so my family benefits from the Fabulous’ness…

    Cheers to you!!!
    Dee

  2. This is so hard, Christine! It has taken me a long time to find a passion and go for it. I love my writing but that is sometimes work, too. My running, on the other hand, has turned into something special for me. So has my work in education.

    You will find what you are looking for!!

  3. Great reflection as usual Christine. I think motherhood found me carving a space for myself that is just for me. Before this, I could do anything and everything, and I did, but I also squandered away time a lot. Now every moment spent by myself or with the baby or as a family or with my partner is precious so I’m more cognizant with the energy I spend on each and am also more grateful. My blogging is one such space that I recently found, and I seek refuge in its quarters on days when many things feel like they’re in an upheaval, but I remember to pry myself away on other days when my family needs me. It’s a constant struggle of balance – Me first? Or family? And the neverending guilt of course.

    While motherhood has meant putting my own travel dreams and career ambitions on the back burner a little while, those are sacrifices I consciously and happily make because I realize just how short this time is that I have to savor and celebrate my daughter’s first new steps into this world. I’m not relinquishing my needs by any means, just taking a different (and longer) route towards them. (At least that’s what I tell myself to help me sleep at night 🙂

  4. When I read this today, I felt like someone had stolen my thoughts. 🙂 I can relate so completely to these feelings. Especially this:

    “I think I’ve moved to a safe place. I’ve become more hesitant about exposing my passion for fear of ridicule, of being wrong, of not being liked.”

    I remember the struggle I had as an adolescent to get past feelings of inferiority to my peers. I overcame those feelings, turned their teasing around and learned to laugh at myself. I’m not sure why the age and stage I am in life has put me back in that place, though part of it stems from the uncertainty inherent in moving to a new country. Canada and the US are, on the surface, not that different to look at. But when you dig deeper, they are poles apart in many ways. (Not “bad” different – just different.)

    I’ve known for a long time that I’ve been holding back, reserving a part of myself that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing. But I’m not the same person anymore. So, how do I recapture that passion in a way that’s (eventually) comfortable? Life has changed me, but I think the passion I had when I was younger is very (very) slowly being reincarnated into something that fits the me of today – as long as I keep working at it.

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