Sweet, bitter, sugary and salty stories. Welcome to my world, past and present.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I think most of us at some point experience feeling lost or invisible, drifting without direction.
Looking back at that time in my life, I remember the discomfort of not knowing who I was any more, because my old life of marriage, corporate career, and family, shifted off its foundation officially when I moved from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles.
I became a missing person.
I had followed the scripts of the American dream for women of my generation: married my college sweetheart, a successful attorney; raised two children; lived the good life on a house on five acres along with indistinguishable years of beach and ski vacations.
Somewhere along the way, I vanished.
Divorce extricated me from a stifling marriage only to find myself wedded to the corporation that took over my life instead. Bottom lines, deadlines, meetings and management consumed my life along with single motherhood.
And then after my children moved away and another marriage ended, I walked away from it all, quit my stressful job, sold my home of 20 years and moved to LA to be near my children and start over.
I was at a loss without the trappings, structure and patterns that glued my life together before.
I was beginning my life again in my 50's and not sure where I was headed, but I had to discover if the girl who once dreamed of doing something creative still existed. I'd come so far to find me again.
Once the familiar props were gone, I was adrift. I wondered if it was possible to rediscover myself and pursue my dream to write and teach, to be free, true to myself, and be of service.
I decided to pursue my passion without giving in to the fears and insecurities that sabotaged my dreams in the past. I had to know.
I looked for my new identity with other singles, at churches, in classes and retreats.
I had no idea where the search would take me. Dipping into myself for affirmation, I found doubts and misgivings.
Surely, the idealistic, creative young woman I was once was still alive. How could I find her? I refused to believe she was gone forever. I searched on long walks on the beach, in mediatation, reflection and time with loved ones.
Slowly, signs of her began to appear: laughter, joy in writing and teaching, delight in small things. I caught glimpses of her from time to time.
Major life changes required shedding my former life's skin for a new one. Renewal felt unsettling and scary, but I knew there was no going back.
I learned it would take time to reconnect with my former self, return to my internal roots, and get my life back.
I didn't want to be afraid to go it alone, if need be. This part of the journey required being solo to be open to life's possibilities without the distractions of someone else's needs.
It was part of my reunion with myself and all that had gone missing for a long time.
Erana Leiken, principal of Tiger Marketing, is a marketing and PR consultant and freelance writer. She also teaches communication courses at the University of Phoenix and Web marketing and interactive content for the Art Institute of Phoenix.
Formerly an NBC reporter, magazine editor, and Web business writer, she is writing creative nonfiction and doing Web consulting. See www.tigermarketing.com.