When I started this blog almost five years ago, I chose the moniker Bossy Betty, not because my name is Betty (it isn’t) and not because I am Bossy (well, not all the time anyway).
I chose it because my intention was to write in the voice and tone of someone else. I wanted a persona who had a bit of an edge, a snappy gal who proudly wore a defensive cape of sarcasm. Above all, I wanted the protective shell playing a character can provide.
It was with surprise then, that I discovered the more blog posts I wrote and the more involved I got with my readers, the less able I was to keep up the mask.
I think that is the nature of writing, or at least, the nature of writing for me.
I look back at those early blog posts and I find I am a bit envious of the richness of my life at the time. Or perhaps it is the innocence and obliviousness of these posts that I long for.
(Irony Alert! My very first blog post was titled “Why I Got (And Stay) Married.)
I loved writing about my life as a wife and a mother. I knew readers would connect with the themes and details of those posts.
Now, a year after my children have left home and a year after a messy, tough year of divorce proceedings, I find I am at a loss as to what to write about.
It seems, dear readers, that I am having a bit of an Identity Crisis.
The past few months have been ones of introspection. I look back on my life and I see that I have never really, truly forged a path for myself. From a young age, I let others define me. As I got older, I eagerly and without questioning, took the paint-by-numbers path of life. Education, career, marriage and mothering--I followed the patterns set down by my family and by society and was grateful for them. It was a safe route and I had good examples to follow.
However, the artistry of my life was not exactly original and certainly not extremely vivid nor varied. I was not at all bold with my choices. At times I painted within those lines against the advice of my inner voice. My own desires were suppressed, diminished, and at times, drowned. Still, it was the life I chose. My boundaries and limitations were set. I knew what to do and there was a comfort, albeit a dangerous comfort, in those routines.
I am divorced. (Still hard for me to say.)
I am single. (Still hard for me to believe.)
The clear-cut patterns are gone.
When you are on the receiving end of the divorce petition, you have no choice but to make major changes just to survive and you have to make them fast.
Once the dust settles, you look up, exhausted, breathless. All around you, there is a sense of expectancy. What now? What next? The word “opportunity” springs from the lips of friends and seems to be written in bold letters in every recovery book.
Opportunity, eh? OK. Yeah. OK. I’ll get there, but that’s one big, honking goose of a word and right now it’s annoying the hell out of me.
I do know I must fight against my own propensity to reach for the paint-by-numbers set again. I stand in front of the blank canvas of the future and note the dizzying array of colors that this new life offers.
It’s going to take courage to listen to myself, trust the voice within, and not limit myself.
Chances are, I am going to make some big mistakes.
It could get messy.
It could be beautiful.
If I’m lucky, it will be both.