Sunday, July 3, 2011

Country Girl, City Girl

I've been hearing fireworks going off the last two nights while I was working on my paper (or chatting on facebook when I was supposed to be working on my paper!). List night I was otherwise entertained, but tonight I finished my paper and had turned on the light in the pool so I decided to go have myself a little float and hope I could see some fireworks.

While I did enjoy floating on the glowing pool and it was quite relaxing I was very disappointed that I couldn't see any fireworks. I could completely relax in the peace and quiet and dark. I am not one of those people that is scared of the dark (if I have a flashlight or cell phone handy), in fact one of the bedrooms in my house has blankets over the windows so I can sleep in total darkness (and some of you have questioned if I use the whole house :)). Though I was disappointed with the lack of fireworks I did enjoy floating. I did notice a few things about my backyard while floating.

Two things that are important to note before I get too far into this story.

First of all, this may come as a shock to many of you, but I grew up in the country. And I mean seriously in the country. We lived thirty miles away from "town" on 120 acres. I grew up running through the pastures all by myself (with no cell phone). There were certainly more four legged creatures in my neighborhood that the two legged variety. This was how I spent the first eighteen years of my life.

Second, from August 2010 through May 2011 I did not stop. I was working full time, going to school full time, volunteering with church and Junior League, a lot, plus trying to have a social life. Naturally I am very introverted (this may come as a shock to many of you as well because I hide it pretty well) and having to be "on" for ten months completely wore me out. I remember when I started my first "big girl" job I would get home and be totally exhausted and that lasted for a few months until I got used to it.

Okay back to the backyard and floating on the glowing pool. Though I have lived in Norman for the last twelve years and quite love it, there are still moments that I have to realize that some things are not okay within city limits. One of these came last year when there was a GIANT snake in my front yard and I wanted to shoot it. Apparently shooting snakes in town is not okay. I mean I guess I understand why, but the only good snake is a dead snake and even that is still questionable to me. I was also surprised to learn that there was a limit on the number of dogs you can have and they all have to be registered. Really? Not to mention you can't have a horse in your backyard! (Unless that horse is disguised as a dog, like Zoe in my backyard!) Obviously you also cannot set off fireworks within the city limits. I really do understand that one because I am terrified of fire and hooligans generally are not all that careful and I don't want my house going up in flames. (Though I wish a deviant or two would have set some big ones off in my neighborhood tonight.)

Tonight's discovery of country versus city is the fact that the sky just doesn't look the same. It was cloudy tonight so that probably had something to do with it, but the sky just isn't as dark and there is always a glow. The stars are farther away. They aren't as bright. Nighttime just isn't the same.

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no desire to move anywhere resembling "the country" ever again. I like being five minutes from Walmart, within walking distance of a gas station, having 911 service, the ability to have dinner delivered, and garbage service, but there are some things that you miss out on if you didn't grow up in the country or spend a generous amount of time there.

You might be wondering how I just came to all these conclusions tonight. Like I said in point two I have been really busy the last year. To be honest I haven't spent all that much time outside, unless it involved working on the pool, getting a tan, or tending to the horse.

I am tired. Emotionally trying to be "on" for ten months solid with very little down time has completely drained me. It's not that I don't want to be around my friends, but I just need a break. When the weekend comes around I don't want to entertain, I want to relax, and relaxing to me is being by myself. I like to float on a raft and work on my tan with no noise, without having to carry on a conversation. I like to sit in the whirlpool and read without worrying about someone accidentally letting my dogs out. I am not one that genuinely enjoys entertaining; in fact I quite hate it. I can never relax when people are at my house. I love my friends, but right now, I really love just being by myself.

I just finished reading a very good book called Soft Spots by Clint Van Winkle. It was for my post traumatic stress class, but I really enjoyed reading it (and luckily it was a quick read because I had five days to read it before the paper was due!). One of the things the author mentioned was about their unit's preparation for Iraq. The commanding officer kept them very busy. The author said "He must've known that boredom brings problems, allows too much time to think. So, besides preparing us for war, was he also protecting our minds? Keeping us sharp and focused by not allowing us to think too much about what was going to happen once we made it into Iraq?"

That concept really hit me (probably because someone once asked me my motives for being so busy and alluded to this very idea). I got to wondering if I really was keeping myself to keep myself from worrying about other things, namely the fact that I am nowhere near I thought I would be at this age. There are more times than I care to admit that it is really hard being involved in the things I am involved with because I am not where I thought I would be and where a lot of people think I should be. I can relate to these people, however a lot of times frankly I don't want to. It feels that if I was doing all these things and keeping myself so busy then I could justify the fact that I am not married and don't have children. Where I live I am about eight years behind. In the good ol' Bible Belt it seems as though everyone (or at least an overwhelming majority) gets married the moment they walk across the stage from their college graduation, if not earlier. There were so many negative feelings around me that it made me feel like my life was meaningless because I'm not married and don't have children.

Yeah, I just went there. I know my friends love me, of that I have no doubt. I know my life is meaningful and I am doing amazing things and will continue to do amazing things, but there is a stigma around here that you can't possibly understand anything if you aren't a wife and mom. To be honest I'm sick of that.

I am almost thirty and I'm not married and I don't have kids. And you know what? That's okay. I love my life and where I'm at. I love who I am and who I'm becoming. I love where I've come from. I have finally accepted that I am not going to be able to make everyone happy. I cannot please everyone. People are going to judge me for what I do whether I go out or I stay in. People are not going to like the decisions I make with my life.

All that matters though is that I like what I'm doing. And I do. I like where my life is going. I have the utmost faith that all the things that I want out of my life will happen, at the time they are supposed to. Until then all I can do is live my life the way that I see best fits me. For now that is taking some much needed "me" time and floating in my pool, all by myself, on the weekends.

There will come a time when I want to open up, both the pool and my heart, and I'm willing to allow that to happen, but I'm not pushing it. I don't need to go out searching for something that I know will come to me at the exact correct moment and not a minute sooner. All I am asking for, from the people in my life, is for you to accept me for who I am. Please don't try to change me. Please allow me to make my own mistakes. I'm going to make some mistakes, we all do, but I firmly believe each of those mistakes holds a lesson, no matter how small.

I am really excited for what is coming up in my life because I know it is going to be big. That is part of why I am taking a little breather to regroup. I am going to need a lot of energy for the next phase because it is going to be amazing.

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