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 mind. If 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.