Being Authentic

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings

I came across an article entitled “Living Life in Full Color” which touches on the point that as children we’re “free spirits” not concerned with what others think about us. But, as we age, we’re more concerned with this and slowly conform to what is “acceptable” and by the time we’re adults, “we are barely aware of our lives stuck in gray scale.”

The article further suggested that just like during the Fall, when Mother Nature lets her “Full Color” shine, we too should follow her example and live our lives more boldly before it’s too late. Encouraging us to follow our bliss.

Personally, I don’t feel like my life has ever been stuck in gray scale because of “conforming.”

BUT, I most certainly get what they mean by the concept of being stuck in gray scale. For me it’s more because there have been plenty of times when my life was so busy I felt like I was in robot mode which I surely would consider gray scale. Always on the go, never taking time to just be, let my true colors shine or follow my bliss. Basically living life doing what needs/needed to get done, and ignoring any urge to be playful or creative because in all honesty there is/was no time.

As a creative person, getting stuck in one of those phases most definitely would throw my mojo off and could put me in a bit of a funk. But, I’m always aware of this and when this happens, try hard to do a little something to shake the “gray scale” off.

AND, since unearthing the CHALK Charmer during COVID shutdown, make sure I’m doing something creative every weekend, which refuels my soul for the week. I can go into robot mode, but not feel the “gray scale” because I let my “full color” shine over the weekend and a little of that rainbow lingers throughout the week.

As a matter of fact, because my creative wheels are spinning in the background during the week, plotting my next creation, I may not be living in full color, more like a tint of color or pastel, but it’s still there, even if just for me to know. To say I feel more alive since pursuing this creative outlet is an understatement. I still have days that I feel like I’m just dragging myself through, but I know the weekend will come, and my color will shine once again, which is my saving grace on those type of days.

As I pondered the article and the idea of “living in full color,” my mind meandered to the concept of “living authentically.” Wouldn’t that be the same thing?

OR, is living authentically taking “Living Life in Full Color” to another level?

OR, vise versa?

When I looked up living authentically, one definition was:
“Put simply, authenticity means you’re true to your own personality, values, and spirit, regardless of the pressure that you’re under to act otherwise. You’re honest with yourself and with others, and you take responsibility for your mistakes. Your values, ideals, and actions align.”

Based on this, I would say “Living Life in Full Color” is taking authenticity to the next level. In order to be authentic you need to know who you really are, but “living life in full color” is about exploring a little deeper into what really makes you tick. About stepping out of your safe zone just to see what else might be hiding within.

AND, one of the key factors in doing so means letting go of being concerned with what others may think of you which let’s be honest isn’t that easy. BUT, I have found the older I get, the less I worry about this.

Not that I don’t still have my moments, but in general I try to let “my true full color” shine. To be true to what makes my heart and soul shine. Which in all honesty was kind of the entire point of starting this blog when my Son left for college. To rediscover “myself” when my Son left for college.

After years of single parenting, parts of me definitely started to fade. But as I noted earlier, I was so busy I didn’t have time to give it a second thought. Once the house was empty though, and it was just me and my thoughts, those faded parts began to resurface. And once they did, I started to feel more like “me.” Not that I wasn’t “me” I just wasn’t fully shining.

It wasn’t like there was a flip of the switch and the “full shine” was back though. It definitely took work, exploring in particular the creative side of me that hadn’t been truly tapped into for years. Previously I did enough to get by.

Once I completely tapped into that side, I could feel my “full color” was working it’s way back.

AND, four years later I can honestly say I feel I am doing pretty good at “living life in full color” and loving it. Being true to me, AKA “being authentic”

Do I still have days when I feel a little gray scale? For sure, life can sometimes just plain tap me out. At those times though, I know I need to retreat, regroup and recharge my “colors.”

SO, as I get ready to sign off on my final post for “Waking the Woman” it really does feel like I’ve come full circle.

When I started this blog in 2019, I honestly had no idea where the journey of self re-discovery would take me. I just knew it was a journey I needed to take. Had COVID not hit, and the CHALK Charmer not been unearthed, I may not be where I’m at now, but taking the first step was really the toughest part. Being willing to look inside and be honest with myself about who I am, and what makes me tick was the catalyst that brought me to this point.

BUT, I believe this journey is never fully over though. In order to truly live life authentically in full color, there’s always more layers to peel away and explore as long as you’re willing to. Where I go from here is kind of the beginning of another journey. Especially the closer I get to retirement which will be an entirely different phase from this one, but one I very much long to experience.

So until then, I may have the occasional post, but for now, I am officially signing off from my monthly posts on “Waking the Woman.” Thank you so much to everyone who supported me on this journey, and read not just this blog regularly, but also my “Waking the Walker” blog which preceded this one.

Writing has always been very therapeutic for me, so I won’t completely give it up. I’m just not going to pressure myself to create a new post monthly when my heart and soul want to dedicate my time to my chalk art and where it will lead. I believe there is great prospect here with many avenues to explore.

Thanks again for all your support. It’s been a wonderful journey with you by my side.

Now go let your “full colors” shine too!

 © Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Woman, 2023. All rights reserved.

Goddess Masthead © Pamela Danko-Stout and Waking the Woman, 2023. All rights reserved.

Clip Art – © 123rf

#wakingthewoman
#mommemoir
#beingauthentic
#livinginfullcolor
#selfdiscovery
#soulsearch
#truetooneself

SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE!

And that something is this month’s blog post.

If you read last month’s post “The Business That Has Become My Life” you’re aware that I have acknowledged I need to start lightening up on myself and my TO DO LIST.

https://wakingthewoman.com/…/the-business-that-has…/

AND, although I have a post started for this month, it’s far from complete because between OT at work, dealing with ongoing car issues with my Son’s card, the standard day-to-day, and my chalk art, time got the best of me and I had to surrender, acknowledging that I just can’t pull this one off this month.

In addition, although I thoroughly enjoy writing, since discovering my chalk art, my creative energy has been predominately focused on that avenue, which makes my writing seem more like a chore than a creative outlet, especially when the well is running dry with topics that relate to the theme of the blog.

So, I will not be renewing my domain name and premium WordPress plan when it comes up for renewal the end of January. 2023

This of course does not mean I won’t start another blog down the road one day, it just means with my Son now a college graduate, the concept of rediscovering myself while my Son is away at college is past it’s expiration date and time to let the blog site slowly fade into the sunset.

I truly appreciate everyone who has supported me and my writing since I started blogging in 2014, but I am most certainly at another transition point creatively and in order for me to truly pursue my new passion, chalk art, I have to accept the fact that until I have more free time, I can’t do both, or should I say do both with a proper level of enthusiasm.

With 5 months left on my plan, I will do my best to post every one of those months, but I can’t guarantee that. I can however promise I will have a post in September because I already have the post in the works.

Thanks again for all your support, and I’ll keep you posted on any future writing plans come January with my final Waking the Woman post.

#wakingthewoman#mommemoir#timeflies#transition#acceptance#aging#aginggracefully#somethingsgottagive

The Business That Has Become My Life

EMPTY NEST BLACK HOLE

The reality of the possibility of a very empty nest is quickly sinking in since my Son went back to school for the Spring Semester of his Senior year.

Granted, my Son doesn’t have a job lined up post graduation, or any prospects that I know of, just yet, but considering his major is video game design, I’m well aware that jobs in that field don’t exist in the area we live. So sticking around home post graduation for an extended period of time doesn’t seem like a possibility.

In addition, his girlfriend and he are getting pretty serious and she may be going to law school post graduation, which means he may very well consider employment near wherever she lands.

I’ve been working on adjusting to my Son getting serious about a girl after not really dating through high school and the first three years of college. As a single mom with only one child, to say this takes some getting use to is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled for my Son. It’s wonderful to see how happy he is with her. Plus, she’s not only a sweetheart of a girl, she’s also very ambitious and driven, which has been a positive influence on my Son.

BUT, having both the prospect of my Son really moving away from home, and a serious relationship running parallel is a lot for me digest at once, especially because the relationship itself is still very much new, having just gotten serious in August. The two have been friends since Freshman year, never revealing feelings for each other until the start of this school year, so to say it came out of nowhere is an understatement.

I knew the day would come, but I figured I would have a bit more warning. 

With that said, we are here now, and with each passing day, I find myself bouncing between I’m good, to I’m feeling lonely and maybe I should get a dog. I honestly never thought I’d feel lonely, especially because between working full time, working on establishing my chalk art business, creating new chalk art, writing this blog, and all that goes into owning a home and daily chores, I have plenty to keep me busy and take my mind off the empty house.

BUT, some days it just feels extremely empty.

The irony is I’m actually quite content being by myself, and am basically more of an introvert than extrovert, and although the first semester of my Son’s Freshman year challenged me, as I expected, I actually began to get comfortable with everything. So why I’m going in and out of a funk now is a bit confusing for me.

I’m sure a lot of this ties to the fact that it’s Winter so I’m not out socializing with neighbors like I do during warmer weather. PLUS, because of the pandemic, my Son was home with me taking classes remotely from March of 2020 to August of 2021 when he started his Senior year. AND, during the Fall semester he and his girlfriend visited at least 3 times, and then he was home on Winter break from Thanksgiving till January 23rd, and during that time his girlfriend spent 3 weeks with us, so I had more company than I’m use to and loved it.

Needless to say I got very comfortable with having my Son home and really enjoyed when his girlfriend was there too. It was nice to have company for dinner every night and even hangout and watch TV with them sometimes.

The bottom line, it gave me purpose, I felt needed. The older my Son gets the less he needs me, and with a girlfriend to discuss problems with, I’m certainly not the first one he contacts any more. Which once again is a good thing, but to have it happen sort of all of a sudden, out of nowhere, is harder to adjust to than anticipated. 

Now of course, having a child need you less as they get older is a natural progression, but because of how things have been since COVID my presence in my Son’s life was a bit more prominent for a bit longer, which is most certainly why I’m feeling this transition even more. Had my Son’s college years been “normal” I may not be feeling the emptiness as much. The transition would have been more gradual and I could have worked through these emotions each year leading up to graduation.

BUT, that’s not the case at all. The growth that started was stalled, and put on hold, sort off. Now however, I’m being thrown in the deep end so to speak, and trying keep my head above water.

With Spring and warmer weather not far off, I’m hopeful this will help shake that funky lonely feeling looming in my soul sometimes. Most of the time I’m pretty good, but every once in awhile, the emptiness of the house just really hits me regardless of how busy I keep myself. I know I’ll get past this, but until then I need to honor my emotions for what they are, growing pains.  

Just as my Son is spreading his wings and learning to fly solo, I too need to learn to be more than my Son’s Mom. I need to rediscover me. Rediscover the woman I was before becoming a Mom. Which ironically is why I started to write this blog when he went off to college. And although I have had some growth, I’m now realizing I still have a way to go yet.

Discovering the chalk art has been wonderful for my creative growth, which in turn helps my soul growth, but that’s only part of  “growth beyond parenting.” There’s certainly more growing than I ever considered when I stepped into this adventure I endearingly called “Waking the Woman”

Change is never an easy thing, but it is necessary for any real growth, and I’m guessing based on the loneliness I’m feeling at times I’ve been avoiding some aspects of me that need to change in order to get over this hurdle. What, I’m not sure of though.

As I have noted in past posts, I’m very good at filling my days with tasks. Some fun, some just every day stuff. Basing my personal fulfillment on how much I’ve accomplished. While this certainly helps me cover a lot of ground in a day, which was critical during my heavy-duty single parenting days, I’m now realizing, this behavior is enabling me, allowing me to avoid dealing with what’s going on inside or even keeping me from allowing myself time to “play.”

Not any more though, although the busyness does help most of the time, it doesn’t seem to be working that well any more, if it did I wouldn’t be writing this post. 

SO, is the universe trying to tell me it’s not just about the very empty nest?

Could it also be about getting older and all that goes with aging, especially after the health issues I faced in 2021?

OR, could it be about learning how to lighten my to do list so I have more time to “play?”

OR, could it be I may not want to head into my Senior years alone?

OR, is it all of the above backing me into a corner now that I don’t have the serious distraction of parenting dominating my time?

I’m guessing it’s most definitely all of the above, which makes my journey of rediscovery even more interesting. Not sure I’m ready for that much discovery just yet, but I don’t think I have any say in this journey any more – the universe is in control.

© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Woman, 2022. All rights reserved.

Goddess Masthead © Pamela Danko-Stout and Waking the Woman, 2022. All rights reserved.

Empty Nest artwork courtesy of the CHALK Charmer ©2021

https://www.facebook.com/TheCHALKCharmer/

Moving Out – ©123rf studioworkstock

Busyness – ©123rf prettyvectors

Clip Art Courtesy of 123rf

#wakingthewoman

#mommemoir

#emptynest

#emptynestblackhole

#singleparenting

#singlemom

#selfdiscovery

#selfhelp

Finding Peace in Every Day

With my annual exodus to the beach to recharge my soul now behind me, I’m working hard at carrying the calm that comes from the sea air and surf with me as I face each day in the real world.

As I told a co-worker “I’m trying hard to hang onto my vacation shine.”

This is something I tell myself I’m going to do every year, but a month or two into the real world post vacation I’m working my way back into the “when is my next day off mind-set.”

I don’t mean the weekend; I mean an actual vacation day, a day with no real schedule, a day to play.

Like a day off is the cure all for the every day stresses we all endure. Granted it helps, but there has to be a way to find peace throughout every day, not just on a vacation day. Especially when they’re so few and far between.

Continue reading “Finding Peace in Every Day”