To answer the question – it’s because it marched to a different drumstick!!
And on that same day when it decided not to cross it sat down on the side of the road and decided to stare off into the unknown distance. She just stared and stared and stared and then something happened. A sudden realization came over her. She wondered if the chickens before her who crossed the road really knew what they were doing, or if they did it because that’s what was always done. And she came to know that despite what everyone told her, the grass was not greener on the other side. But she wasn’t happy with the grass where she lay either.
And so she walked along the side of the road, not knowing where it would lead her but trusting that it would be to a better place.
And that chicken, my friend, is me.
Boy do I ever remember sitting on the side of the road, many times just staring off into space or thinking, worrying, suffering from anxiety, sometimes spaced out and not really seeing what I was staring at. And why? Because I didn’t know what to do, what action to take. Many a times I thought to myself “do I do something, or not”, or “do I go or do I stay?” and “do I say something, or do I shut up?” And why? Because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I didn’t want to offend anyone, and most of all, I didn’t want to be rejected, shunned, criticized.
But did it really matter in the end? NO. NOT ONE BIT.
You see my friends, one thing I’ve learned on my recent journey this past year and a bit is that no matter what you do, there will always be people who won’t agree with your decisions or actions. Then there will be people who will take offence to what you do or say no matter how good your intentions are, and then there are people who will criticize your every move. There will be people who you’d least expect to be your biggest cheer leader will appear out of nowhere, and the people who you thought were your biggest supports will suddenly turn on you. People would be kind to me one day, and then the next it would be like they didn’t know who I was. Yes, this has happened to me. And I’ve learned that in the end, even though I tried to make everyone happy, I couldn’t. All I was ever able to accomplish was to compromise myself and make myself unhappy .
And it wasn’t fun.
Let me explain to you what I’m actually talking about. As you may or may not know, I went through quite a bad divorce a few years back. I won’t get into to the details of it because they really aren’t important right now. But during that time I began dating and I met a wonderful, gorgeous and intelligent man. The only one problem that I could see in my dating him was that he lived as far away as possible from me. Literally. He could not have been any further. He lived at the opposite end of this planet in a place called Australia. But we decided to go ahead and get to know each other (that’s another post in itself!) and so our long distance relationship began and he came to visit me every few months.
Our feelings for each other grew and he decided to move here this way we could properly assess our relationship. As we were both recently divorced we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing, and that we were not just infatuated with each other. We believed we could only do this if were living in the same city. So we dated, our feelings grew, and we decided to move in together mid-2013.
Back to the chickens for a moment: While this was taking place, I felt confused. I didn’t know if I should take a risk and travel my own journey (go ahead with the relationship) or play it safe and just do what was always done and cross the road like the other chickens (not go ahead or find someone else). Not one member of my flock of chickens ever experienced what I was going through (divorced, starting over, taking chances, doing things differently etc), but they sure would cluck away at me and tell me what they were thinking.
You see, I come from a somewhat traditional Italian background. People don’t do things that aren’t ‘normal’ let alone date someone like my man. So here I am trying to establish a relationship with this man from the opposite end of the earth. They don’t have a beef (yes, another animal) with the fact that he’s from a different nationality, however their beef is because he’s a-lot-older-than-me. Yes, you read correctly, he is a lot older than me.
Think Elizabeth Gilbert and Eat, Pray, Love. And add a few more years.
My family flipped out. Huge. To the point that I have been shunned, not invited to family events anymore because of him. Actually, let me clarify. My daughter and I were invited, but they specifically said that my partner wasn’t. This includes Christmas and other events. They would expect that he’d stay home alone (remember, we live together) while my daughter and I celebrate with others. I somewhat graciously declined their invitations as I was not going to allow that to happen. And so the invitations stopped coming.
However, I’ve kept our door open for them. I’ve never once said that they aren’t allowed to come over and in fact, I have even invited them. I did promise myself that if any of us were disrespected while they were over, they would be asked to leave.
I get that this relationship is foreign for them, that the young woman that I am decided to partner with an older man is inconceivable for some. It wasn’t a rash decision. It’s not a Daddy thing (EW!). I sat on the side of the road and contemplated which route to take for a very long time. I’ve spent many, many hours (if you add them up it would probably equate to weeks) in therapy because of this and I decided to walk my own journey rather than follow the flock and cross the road. I’ve followed long enough, not because I wanted to, but because it was the way things were always done and without question. And now I question.
I’m sure I’ve made enemies as a result. I don’t really know though because my detractors won’t speak with me. But I can say that I don’t hate them. I think I understand their actions and although I don’t agree with them, it doesn’t stop me from loving or wanting the best for them. I respect their decision, but I don’t condone their behavior. I guess this is why the saying “loving from a distance” exists. That’s what I feel is the grown up thing to do.
It’s been a difficult and hurtful time for me – not being able to share important days and events with them (I do want them to be a part of my life, but like I said, it’s their decision to not be part of mine.) I married three months ago and I had to really think about who from my family to invite, and settled on only a select handful of people. I didn’t want to deal with drama on our special day. Only four people of those who were invited from my family attended, the other sixty were friends.
I know that this is the cost of choosing to live an authentic life. Am I angry? No. Just disappointed that things are the way they are. I can’t do anything to change their minds. I can only choose on how I do things, and I have chosen to be happy. I’m happy, my daughter is happy, and my man is happy. In the end this is was maters to me.
Let me sum up my rant in a few words: Care for others, think about how your actions will impact their lives, but in the end live your life aligned with your higher self and the beliefs of who you are . If you live your life based on how others want you to live yours, you’ll end up resenting them and hating yourself.
Next question: How do you kill a mockingbird?