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What I Lost Once and How I Found It

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

What I Lost Once and How I Found It

I'm constantly misplacing things and I usually don't care. I know that they will turn up and I'll only drive myself crazy and make a huge mess trying to find them.

Yes, I found my camera, in case you were concerned. Now, I just need to remember where I put my wedding rings....shhhhhh! And yes, again they are misplaced.

But, for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, I chose the prompt: “What did you once lose? Write about your search to find it again.”
Mama's Losin' It

Well, it's cliched, but what I lost...was myself.

I was 24 years-old and trying desperately to hang on to the life that I thought I wanted.

To make myself into the person that  I thought X would still love, even though he fell in love with me as I was, I still felt like maybe I could change and make it all okay.

At a loss for what to do, I went from being a dark brunette to a blonde.

I became a size 0. Not by any effort on my part, though. I ate everything in sight. I think it was just stress.  I didn't stop moving during this time, so nothing stuck to me. I know, I hate the 24 year-old me, too. And regret not having more pics of me during this time.

I got a tattoo. So not like the conservative pain-hating girl I was.

Gone was my conservative wardrobe. I bought leather and sequins and lace. Short, tight, and revealing.

Dancing and drinking and laughing too loud.

I tried to fit the image of the girl I thought he wanted.

And, it still didn't work.

So, after I left, I didn't know what to do. Go back to the old me? Keep going with this new character I'd created?

It made sense to me to keep going on this path I'd started down. To prove some sort of point, though I can't remember now what that was.

I dated like a mad woman. A guy would call and I'd have to ask, "Um, who are you again?" and even then, I still couldn't keep them straight.

I once ditched a guy in the middle of a date for a cuter one that I saw in another part of the bar.

And then ditched that guy for his much cuter roommate, ten minutes later.

I didn't let anyone get close to me. No one was allowed to come to my house, not even to pick me up for a date.

Annoy me and you were gone. Two dates was the longest I tolerated anyone, but even that rarely happened.

But, in that short amount of time, I didn't have to let anyone in. No one could see that I was lost. That I didn't know what I wanted.

I'd move on before anyone could notice.

Move on while their image of me was still the fun, loud, skinny blonde who is up for anything.

Move on so quickly that I didn't even have to stop to see myself any other way, either. Keep myself so busy that I didn't have time to stop and think if this was really me.

And then....it hit me.

Sure, it's fun to play the cute party girl. The attention was nice and helped my ego after my bad break-up.

But, what if I want to dress in comfy clothes, tie my hair up, not wear any make-up, and sit on the beach with a book?

Ah, yes, that feels like me.

What if I didn't want to be all sunshine and roses all the time?

What if I didn't feel like dancing?

What if the jokes I was hearing weren't funny?

What if I didn't actually care if everyone adored me?

I wasn't allowing anyone to see that side of me.

Well, except for one friend I'd made during this time.

Who was my sounding board. Who laughed at the stories of my crazy antics. But, who saw me cry when it all got too hard to keep up with. Who listened to the stories of my past with no judgement. Whom I never once tried to impress...because I certainly wasn't going to date him. So, he heard it all.

Time passed. And I realized that the real me....was the girl that I was when I was with him. When I wasn't trying to impress or worry about what he thought of me.  He saw all of me: the party girl I showed the rest of the world and my quiet side, my ugly side, all of it.

That was me.

So, I guess you could say that I found myself and found my husband at the same time.



Blogger The Mommyologist said...

I NEVER would've guessed that you were a party animal once! Don't worry...I was too. Sounds like it all worked out perfectly for you though! :)

June 3, 2010 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Seriously...I think we led parallel lives...all the way to the tattoo! Sadly enough, when I went to Husband's house for our first "date," I couldn't remember what he looked like and was really really hoping he answered the door! He did...he was cute (that much I remembered)...he dried me off...things were good.

Glad you found yourself...it's so hard being in your 20s, isn't it? Fun though...nonetheless.

June 3, 2010 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I felt the same way when I met my husband...he helped me find myself for the better.

I could definitely see you being a party girl...us blondes like to have fun!

June 3, 2010 at 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the one we can let our hair down with that is the best fit for us!

Glad you found your hubby and have 3 beautiful kids!!

June 3, 2010 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

How sweet. So glad you found your hubby, and were so comfortable with him.

June 3, 2010 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger As Cape Cod Turns said...

Yay for husband bringing out the real you! Sometimes we all get a little lost, but I am glad you found your way! Nicely written!

June 3, 2010 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

You were never lost you were always found; you just didn't know that you always had your beacon in the same spot. It's great when we realize it that our constant is what we desire. Glad to hear that you found out that hubby was the one.
Thanks for sharing.

June 3, 2010 at 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stopping by from Mama Kat's. I so enjoyed your post. I'm glad you found yourself and your constant. Isn't life great when that happens!

June 3, 2010 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

I'm glad you found yourself. And your husband!

I can complete relate to this. Believe it or not, I used to party. I almost went blonde, but went with red, and got a tattoo. But I'm still getting tattoos :)

June 3, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger KLZ said...

It really is the one who sees you at your worst and stays who is the most important. Because they knew who you are even when you lose yourself.

Glad you found yourself so I can too.

June 3, 2010 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Lift Like A Mom said...

Lord, I think I could have written this myself. I was a complete train wreck before I met my husband, and it's a wonder how he stuck with me. I was so depressed (not knowing it then) and was seriously all over the place.

Glad things are in place and you are happy,now :)

June 3, 2010 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger HeartsMakeFamilies said...

I'm so very glad that you found yourself. I think we have all been at this point though. And what a husband you have for sticking it through it all.

June 3, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger moosmamma said...

Isn't it amazing what the ending of a relationship can do to you.. its like finding yourself all over again... glad you did :) and found happiness in the process : )

June 3, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger BNM said...

awwww another happy ending :)

Its very easy to lose yourself and hard to get it back so good for you :)

June 3, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Sugar Bear said...

A path to find ourselves is never easy is it? That's awesome that you traveled along that path with someone else and found a joint path along the way.
Yea to that!!

June 3, 2010 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My hubby was my friend first too. I love that. He is still my best friend. USUALLY

June 3, 2010 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Ooooo... I love this post, Shell. I found myself in my 20s too. So grateful for the painful lessons I learned, but I wouldn't want to repeat those years for anything.;0)

So glad your self-discovery led you to your man! ;0)

June 3, 2010 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Duchess said...

That's a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it with us :0)

June 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Messy Mommy said...

I totally know what you are saying! I was once the party girl too. I also lose weight when I'm stressed out. Guess it's better than gaining. When Otter started having seizures I think people were starting to worry more about me than him because I was such a stick.

And I NEVER take off my wedding ring because I'm 100% sure I would lose it. In the almost 6 years I've been married I've only taken it off to get it cleaned and fixed.

June 3, 2010 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Tylaine said...

Beautiful Post Shell. You really have a way with words. I think most of us have felt a loss of ourselves like that at some time or another. Glad you found yourself. Thanks for sharing. :)

June 3, 2010 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Ginny Marie said...

What a great story! It's true that the love of our life usually is our best friend...who else would put up with us? ;)

June 3, 2010 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger VandyJ said...

Isn't is always the one we least expect that ends up being the one--the one we aren't looking for? Glad you recognized him before he got away. And found yourself too.

June 3, 2010 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

And so it should be- no? Here's hoping my story will work out in a similar fashion. FTR, I know where my wedding rings are...I even have his too...it's the one ring I would still wear that I couldn't find! (I used the same prompt today too:))

Great story, thanks for sharing!

June 3, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

So glad you found someone who saw the real you... and liked it!

I think that's pretty much what we all want.

And if I could curl up with a book in front of a large body of water on a regular basis, I think I'd be a nicer person.

Well, maybe not. But I'd like it.

June 3, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Liz Mays said...

Too many people try to be what they think their partners want and I'm glad you realized that wasn't making you happy. You're in such a great place now!!

June 3, 2010 at 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you found you and met your husband. I went through that party stage after I left my first husband. That wasn't me. Thank God for happy endings.

June 3, 2010 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Ugh. The things we do for boys.... and the things we do in the wake of losing those boys....

I'm glad you got your "happily ever after"

June 3, 2010 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Yay for happy endings! I'm glad you were able to find yourself...and your hubby...at the same time. I understand the party stage and am so glad I grew out of it :)

June 3, 2010 at 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWww.. so sweet. So beautiful. So YOU. I think we all lose ourselves at some point in the effort to FIND ourselves. I know I did. Maybe not as dramatically, but I look back and shake my head at the wasted years I spent trying to be someone I knew I wasn't only to come back around to the person I knew I was. And who I am today. Great post.

June 3, 2010 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Now THAT is a great love story. Awesome.

June 3, 2010 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I swear you and I have lived the same life. I think those kinds of experience build character if you learn from them, but I too am glad they're behind me! It's much calmer on this side.

June 3, 2010 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Wonderfully done there. I love hearing your story.

June 3, 2010 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Stepping On Cheerios said...

That gave me chills Shell. Thank you for sharing.

June 3, 2010 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Nancy C said...

Oh, how I wish I could whisper to my younger self..."you don't need to do all that."

This was beautifully written.

June 3, 2010 at 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why I love you girl. Your writing is fantastic! You always make me think. :)

June 3, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Daisygirl said...

I think going through "the ugly side" is important...one of these days I may share a story...I may...but I went through my "ugly" side 1 year after my marriage.

I love this post, I think as women we tend to lose ourselves whether it be because of boy/man, our children, or just in life in general.

Your story is beautiful and I love how your friend became your forever friend ♥ya!

June 3, 2010 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Jen at Cabin Fever said...

I see girls like you were when you were 24 all the time (I'm 25..) when I am out with my friends and sometimes I envy them. The loud girls with guys swarming around, dancing and appearing to not have a care in the world. Being married and 'responsible' sometimes makes me feel like I am missing out on stuff people my age go through, but from your post I realize that probably isn't the case. Thanks for painting a different side of things that some of us don't see. :)

Cabin Fever in Vermont

June 3, 2010 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I know exactly how you feel. Glad you got your happy ending!

June 3, 2010 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger One Photo said...

Shell this is one of those beautiful, heartfelt pieces you write so well. You know I really do believe, from my own experiences as well, that true love will find you when you least expect it and when you are not trying oh so very hard to find it. So I am glad that is how it turned out for you too.

June 3, 2010 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Katie's Dailies said...

Wow! This was wonderful. Writing is truly therapeutic for you and thank you for giving this glimpse of you!

June 3, 2010 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I totally saw myself in this post! 24-27 were kinda like this for me. I became someone completely different. I amazed myself at the person I'd become (and not always in a good way).

I love the last line too. Funny how that works out, isn't it?

June 3, 2010 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger Michelle @Flying Giggles said...

After the first few sentences, yes, I wondered about your camera. I am glad you found it!

This story sounds all to familiar, except I was 23 and was a size 3. It is so much better being ourselves. Thankfully we found out. Some people live a long time not knowing who they are!

June 3, 2010 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Carries Rambles said...

That is an amazing post. THank you for sharing! I was there too, and I feel bad for those that never find themselves.....

June 3, 2010 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

So you were a party animal? WOW! I never would have thought that.
I'm glad you found you and your hubby. :)
I lost myself once too....not ready to talk about that right now though.

June 3, 2010 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Lourie said...

That is one for a movie!

June 3, 2010 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Beth Zimmerman said...

Aw Shell ... shivers! That was beautiful!

June 3, 2010 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger TheFitHousewife said...

I give my hubby credit for revealing the real me too! After I met him, I calmed down, stopped partying, and worked hard in school. My parents were so thankful I met him!

So glad you found the true you! Sometimes I see those "cougars" out there trying to be something they aren't. I kinda feel sorry for them.

June 3, 2010 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Why does that happen?? I guess it is a teaching lesson to ourselves huh?

June 3, 2010 at 7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um... are we still on for drinks?

If it is any consolation, I would have hated the girl you weren't. I think you are much cuter now :)

June 3, 2010 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Elena Sonnino said...

Shell- this is a great post! I have to admit I giggled when you wrote about moving on to another guy during a date! I am so happy that you found your hubby- and that most importantly you found yourself!

June 3, 2010 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger RN Mama said...

Wow, what a great post! You are always so honest, and I think everyone loves that about you!!

I can relate to this, although I didn't go for sequins and dating...I picked up and moved to another state. Talk about running from yourself.

June 3, 2010 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger A Sassy Glass said...

I love it! every last word

June 3, 2010 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger Mrs4444 said...

This is fantastic--I love it. I'm glad you found yourself (and your true love :)

I fell in love with Mr.4444 when I wasn't looking; cried on his shoulder about my ex. He was such a great friend.

June 3, 2010 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger Lothiriel said...

I've never tried to please anyone...well, maybe just one dude I was soooo in "love" with. But I found myself quickly right after he dumped me.

I've always tried to stay true to myself and that sometimes made me seem like an asshole to others.

June 3, 2010 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Cielo Azul Jewelry said...

The crazy 20's. Did we all suffer such madness? LOL! I liked the 30's WAY better=0)


June 3, 2010 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger KatBouska said...

You're adorable...I'm glad you found yourself. :) That other girl sounds like someone I know...

June 4, 2010 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sometimes, even though I'm 33, I still feel this struggle---to know who I am and where I'm heading....hits very close to home. Bravo!

June 4, 2010 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

Oh, my question is: do you regret that part of your life? Or do you see it as the necessary pain you had to go through to recognize what was in your husband?

June 4, 2010 at 12:40 AM  
Blogger Tina L. Hook said...

Isn't it funny how finding ourselves usually puts the rest of our lives in order? Glad you found yourself again, and your hubby.

June 4, 2010 at 1:15 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

All I can say is thanks.

June 4, 2010 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger livinginbetween said...

Love this story! I was a party girl in college -- trying to be something I'm not. And while I'm not exactly proud of the way I behaved during that time, I know it showed me who I am not and helped me become who I am.

Thanks for sharing this!

June 4, 2010 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Melissa Haak said...

Lovely post sweetie, and you are not alone. Everyone goes through that stage, it just last longer in some! I love how you ended it too, we all deserve to find such a man (and I did too!)

June 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger Lily Dawn said...

love love love!! you are beautiful girl~ My hubby and I have a similar story... i was a total wreck and he really helped me see that I didn't have to be that girl =)

So glad you found yourself!!

June 4, 2010 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this story. Well done. :)

June 4, 2010 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Great story and blog! Thanks for the follow! :)

June 5, 2010 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

I'm so glad you found yourself....looking back, I'm sure it was a very scary time, right?

June 7, 2010 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

I think we would've been friends had we ever known each other IRL. I love how you love talking about how your man loves you! (Get that?) ;-)

June 8, 2010 at 1:16 AM  

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