This is an excerpt of my Memoir Manuscript
Through the Woods to the Sea: Stepping into Myself, Stepping into My Life
By Cathy Teoste
Falling to Pieces
My life is falling apart. Not that it has been an exciting great life but it has been the life I have been living. I have been watching the life that I have created fall away piece by piece. I have even helped pack it up and send it on its way. My daughters, Nikki, Sam and Monica are going off to begin their own lives as young adults.
What about me? What do I do? This has been my life despite the fact that I haven’t fully lived it. I have been making the best of it for years sometimes barley hanging on so why as it is falling apart am I in a panic. Fear and panic swarm me externally and internally. The only thing that has mattered in the life, my daughters, are now leaving me. My life line that held the little pieces of me left together and the reason for me holding on to living is abandoning me.
I find myself in a place I am very familiar with where I have lost my sense of identity, questioning the structure and the rules of the world and my faith in God. I am standing in a time of uncertainty with negative thoughts, fears, and judgements escalating all the voices in my head.
The expectation from those around me is that now I can get back into real life. I dread real life. Feeling pressured I explore job opportunities, every resume I send out and every response to my quires makes me nauseous. As I get closer and closer to landing that position that would take me back into the ‘real world’ I get so sick to my stomach that I am throwing up.
I don’t want to live in this world or live the way I am expected to live it. I have never felt comfortable in that world. I know that if I take one step in that direction I will once again fill my life from a place of doing what I am expected to do, doing what I think I should be doing, trying to please other people, social expectations, demands, influences and circumstances.
Most of my life I have built around a false sense of self or no self. It was built from outside circumstances, events, expectations and demands. If I stay here and rebuild my life from this empty shell I will just reconstruct another false self and false life. I know exactly where this road will take me. I know that I will live with a void of emptiness inside. This thought scares the hell out of me.
I don’t want to continue living this way. I have been trying to play the part I have created for myself and the part others expected of me. My whole life has become a play in which I have been pretending day after day. I have been a character in the play but have felt like I have been in the audience watching my life rather than being a part of it. I fear that I am being sucked into the direction of expectations and the responsible path. If I do that I will step into a world I don’t like and don’t want to be in anymore.
I know that this person I have been-have become-is a cover, a hard shell around my heart that I created. I fashioned myself from a core that was broken, pushed down and controlled when I was young. From that point on I hid who I really was. I hid in shame of who I was. I have lived my life with a deep rooted belief that I am not good enough. Who I am inside is not acceptable in the outside world. I believed I had to become who I was expected to be. I never felt comfortable in that shell.
My soul has been crying out for years and I have done what I could to pacify it. The thought of continuing to live with this emptiness inside is unbearable to my soul. I don’t want to do that anymore. It has become too painful. The truth of the matter is that I have wanted to run away from my life for years. I have wanted to get out – get away but responsibilities and obligations have kept me trapped. Fear has kept me from action. If I stay here I will drown in the sacrifice of myself. I’ve already given myself away but sacrificing myself knowing full well what will happen to my soul is suicide.
Yet the pull to get sucked into living a façade is strong. I am at my weakest moment. I have always tried to fit in, to make myself into someone who would be liked and accepted. Yet I have never felt accepted. Even the false creations of myself who were fashioned to be the person others wanted me to be was not accepted. I have felt rejected and abandoned then and now. This is the theme of my life, trying to please everyone and pleasing no one in the process. It runs through every choice, every decision I have ever made. Because of these deep rooted feelings I have isolated myself from life, others and myself. Everything within me is telling me this is the moment to break free but can I? The conflict of following the ‘right path’ and following my soul is paralyzing me. All I can feel is fear and panic.
My inner life and being has been screaming at me to pay attention to it. It seems scary to turn inside when it was in turning inside that forced me to live outside myself. How could doing the very thing that sent me into this empty chasm of a person be the solution and answer into becoming my true self? As confusing as this seems I am being drawn into this idea that this is also the way out.
The outlook is shadowy and indistinct, feeling empty and full of nothingness. Nothing makes any sense and answers are lost in the distant fog. I have been wandering aimlessly for years unable to regain any focus. This confusion is unsettling. Inadequacy and doubt like vertigo distorts my balance. I fearfully wander in a vast and empty, yet deeply emotional wilderness. As I wrestle with the darkness, a rush of panic rips a hole in my heart. I struggle to catch my breath as I drown in the depths of emotions that are rising and falling like storm waves of a violent hurricane crashing a rocky shoreline. An immobilizing lack of confidence and fear has forced me into a junction of significant change.
This is an excerpt of my Memoir Through the Woods to the Sea: Stepping into Myself, Stepping into my Life By Cathy Teoste
This manuscript is still a work in progress. I will continue to share excerpts from the manuscript as I continue through this rewrite/edit.