A few day ago I was out for my run/walk. As I approached the street that I have lived on in Nanaimo for the last 7.5 years, I took a moment to reflect on some feelings I had many years ago about this “street”.
When Kelly and I first separated, he knew how important it was for me to stay in the area. We sold our larger home and purchased two smaller homes.
I was fortunate to remain in the area. Jenna could still walk to school. The minute I saw this home I thought, “It is perfect for me.”. There was a warmth and comfort I felt within.
However, often I felt embarrassed or not proud of where I was living. It was all so different from what I had known. I would go out for a run /walk and as soon as I approached the corner and I would quickly run up the hill. I didn’t want anyone to see me and think, “Oh she lives up there?”
The other day I was chatting with Kelly, my ex. In our conversation he said, “I am actually really good right now with everything in my life. Even my house.” I said to him, “Wow interesting you would say this. I want to share something with you regarding my next blog.” When I shared with him my feelings from years ago, he opened up and told me that he too felt this way, about his house.
Prior to “us” moving to Nanaimo, Kelly lived in a home in Cadboro Bay, a beautiful area in Victoria. Pre that he owned a custom built home – that he and his wife designed – in Ottawa. In my early 20’s, I moved from Ottawa to Whistler, at 26 I bought a condo in Kitsilano, Vancouver, lived in Asia for 4 years and I have owned many beautiful homes.
So why, at that time, was I letting a house or my street make me feel this way and or define who I was ?
I now recognize that this had nothing to do with the house, the street or Nanaimo.. It all had to do with me, internally. I was worried about the perception from other people. It was important to me what other people thought about me. In so many different situations.
When I moved to the Island, I found myself never wanting to admit that I lived in Nanaimo. I would tell people I lived on Vancouver Island. It sounded more prestigious or adventurous.
I am in sales, and my territory is Vancouver Island. Often, when I would first meet a customer, I felt it was important for me to mention that I had an 18 year background with Fairmont hotels. Often I would drive out to a small beautiful little town called Lake Cowichan. I always enjoyed the people, my job but I still wanted to make sure they all knew that I was not just a small town Island girl. Why the hell did I care about this ? I was also looking for validation in all the wrong places.
There were many stages in my life when I struggled with feeling secure. One stage is being single. Oh I have come such a long way in this stage 🙂
At the age of 43, in the first few years of being single (keeping in mind I was with my husband Colin at the age of 23) prior to walking into a mall or an event, I would take my mother’s wedding ring and place it on my wedding finger. Wearing this ring actually made me feel more secure. And if I didn’t have it on, I would feel uncomfortable in my own skin.
Recently , I was having a conversation about this with a friend. She is single and she explained how she has often felt the same. One time, she was not comfortable sitting alone in a restaurant so she fabricated an entire story to the waitress that her “partner was out of town”.
Throughout my 20’s and 30’s, my husband Colin and I lived a very “upscale” lifestyle. Living in Asia where everyone had drivers, we would fly from Taipei to Hong Hong for weekends, stay in 5 star hotels, eat the best food and drink the best wines.
Colin is 6’4, and has a powerful presence. I always felt proud walking into a room with him. At a very young age he was managing hotels, always in a suit and exuded confidence.
At the age of 34, I was back in Canada and my marriage ended. Within 3 weeks I got together with Kelly. A man who grew up next door to me in Ottawa. There was a wonderful familiar connection I had with him. It was comforting.
Kelly is 5″8, looks Italian, tatooes all over his arms, climbs phone poles (yes he does more that than that) and is always in jeans. You would never find him in a suit, conducting a boardroom meeting.
They are both so good looking and very different styles. I often felt embarrassed when introducing Kelly. I felt that his image did not really fit with me or my lifestyle.
This is difficult for me to write because it sounds so shallow. “Superficially implying a concern only with surface aspects or obvious features”. I recognize all this now.
These feelings I felt about Kelly are simply relating back to me being worried about “other people’s perception”. I now think, “I can’t believe I cared so much about that shit.”
We all have mental models. A concept of how we think something in this world should work. They are your thinking tools in life. I believe that when you develop a broad sense of these models, one can start to think more clearly.
We have all adopted believes based on our upbringing, social surroundings and media. However what I have learned is that it is truly important to develop your own mental models in order to thrive in this world.
In the last few years, I am working on mine.
- I don’t worry as much anymore about trying to please everyone.
- I often allow myself to think about dying, knowing that it is the direction that I am going in. I try not to fear it.
- Life is about having fun, being light and laughing lots.
- I try to not take myself so seriously.
- I don’t worry anymore about what others think of me.
- I try to meditate each morning for ten minutes. Not letting my monkey mind start off my day. I try to capture stillness and peace. By doing this I am setting my tone for the day.
- Being in the moment.
I am so very grateful for all the relationships / friendships I have in my life. I learn so much from every human. I also appreciate all the stories that people share with me about being real.
There really is no wrong or right way to live in this world, but there is your way. Feel it and own it.
I love you sis,
I thought I would add a few pis below of my home and my beautiful surroundings.