I have the unexplainable urge to 'unclutter' my life; that includes getting rid of some possessions, activities, ideas, thoughts and even a few individuals.
I will strive to make some sense of it. I shall start at the beginning and move quickly so this expose doesn’t turn into another novel and you aren't reading this for a week.
I had a wonderful, normal childhood. I was raised in a Christian home by Christian parents who loved me unconditionally. We lived in the country with no close neighbors. My sister was 8 years older than me. Add that to the fact my grandma lived with us and there was very little ‘work’ for me to do, so I was basically an only child with time on my hands. I amused myself by having an imaginary audience; not just a singular imaginary friend, as most children do, but an entire audience of faceless individuals who listened to my dialogues. (Obviously, I was unwittingly practicing to be a speaker.)
I married when I was 16 years old. I had the first four children by the time I was 25 and the fifth child when I was 38. Somewhere in the years between age 16 and age 68, I lost who I was; I lost Gloria.
She became entangled and involved in raising 5 children, teaching Sunday School, working various jobs, including but not limited to: a pie baker, a restaurant manager, a business owner, a seamstress, a wife, a mother, a farmer, a grandparent, a Director of Chidren's Ministries and a caregiver. These were not necessarily unpleasant job titles and I learned an unbelievably immense amount of information, people skills and empathy from each one; it just was not exactly who I was. I enrolled in college when I was 55 and although I was able to be on the Dean’s List, and I was thankful that my brain still worked…I did not realize I was 'in training' to become the Gloria I am now.
Numerous grandchildren have lived with me over the years. I calculated I have said the words, "Get up...it's time for school" for 45 straight years; from the time my first child started kindergarten until the last grandchild moved out.
I took 'care' of my family and livestock and 'life' for the 38 years I was married. Was I an enabler? Absolutely. It seemed even more true after I divorced. I helped take care of my dad after my mother died. I have been responsible for Kalisha for nearly 32 years……..I am done. (Not done loving Kalisha or anyone else; just done being a caregiver.)
I had been without a 'significant other' in my life for 20 years and that was fine with me. I considered myself to be a strong, independent, 'take on anything or anyone' woman. I could swear louder, work harder, laugh longer and kick your ass further than most women I knew and I did not need anyone to help me....until.....I started writing the three romance novels in July of 2015. I cannot explain it logically but I slowly became a person I wasn't sure I recognized. Old hurts and thoughts resurfaced. I had 38 years of baggage I had been carrying with me and wasn't even aware of it.
It was time to unpack and get rid of it. I did, I have, and I am traveling much lighter now that I have given the baggage to Someone who can carry it much better than I can.
I realize this will be hard for any of you who have young children and grandchildren to comprehend, but it is true for me: I have watched countless volleyball, basketball, football, baseball and softball games, track meets, and every kind of dance, gymnastic, acting and singing 'performance' known to man and enjoyed every minute of it. I am not going to abandon my role as mother, grandmother or great-grandmother, BUT, I am going to modify it. I will continue to pray for my children and grandchildren, but with the exception of a few of the younger ones, they are all grown, with busy lives, jobs and significant others. They do not need me and I do not need them...to complete me.
I have done some rather bizarre (even for me and I am not a stranger to bizarre) things in the last 6 months and I have changed big and little things about my life.
My happiness and my sense of accomplishment no longer depend on someone else.
Kalisha will be moving to her own apartment in the next year, so for the first time since I was 16, I will be responsible for no one but me and responsible to no one, but God. One of my friends, upon hearing all of this, smiled at me and said, "So, that means you're finally going to be a big girl?" Yes, I guess I am. God has blessed me with exceptionally good health and I am extremely thankful for that. I am going to continue to write books and speak to groups of people and have coffee with my friends and travel for book signings and go to listen to country music bands. I plan to take horseback riding lessons, possibly get another tattoo, date a few interesting men and volunteer where I am needed, if this is what God has planned for me.
My cousin’s husband sent me a poem. He said it made him think of me and what my life was becoming. The title is ‘My Life Before I Knew It.’ The author is a man and much of the poem does not describe me. However, the fact that he wants to be a writer and his view of that does describe me; especially the last few lines, fragments of which are quoted here:
‘…writers didn’t have to be good at sports…but strangers were moved by what they accomplished and wrote them letters. One day one of those strangers would introduce herself to me, and then the life I’d never been able to foresee would begin and everything before I became myself would appear necessary to the rest of the story.’
Please don't think I am abandoning my faith, my family or my friends. I am not...but all of my enjoyments and activities may be in a different context than they have been in the past.
I believe...I have finally found Gloria.