Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

April 8, 2013

On Being Lost & Found

I was struck by something last week as I was standing near my sewing machine, smiling to myself as I “cooked” some embossing ink with my heat gun.

Actually it’s been a theme for me since getting divorced last year: reclaiming/reconnecting with the “fun” me.

In conversations with friends recently I say things like, “I used to be fun.”

To some of them I say, “Do you remember when I was fun?” and to others I say, “You haven’t even known me when I was fun.

To some I’ve said, “I feel like I’m coming home to myself. To that place where the old me and the me of today are meeting up and finally getting on the same page.”

I laugh more. I feel lighter (physically and emotionally). I’m working on not taking things so darn seriously all the time (this is an ongoing battle). I smile easier. I’m much quicker to say yes to impromptu adventures.

I want to be living the length and the width.

This also translates to my creative life. I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve felt the actual heart-pounding delight – almost like a high – that comes from creative play. From making messes and experimenting and what if this goes with this instead of this. I felt that way today while I was working on Project Life. It was a letting go of perfection, of holding on too tight. I was also simply taking the time to allow for fun within the realm of the creative things I do already.

I think it’s also a reason I haven’t scrapbooked as much or shared as much of my story in this space. I’m finding my voice again bit by bit (Who was I before? Who am I now?). And I think reclaiming the “fun” me is definitely a part of it.

I still feel lost at times. Scared. Unsure. Sad. Just this past week I had “one of those days” that essentially boiled down to me needing to be reminded that I need to find happiness within myself first and foremost. That I have to own, all the way through my bones, that I really am enough.

Music has been a great catalyst of fun for me. I have a physical reaction to music. We play it loud in the office. I play it loud in the car. I’ve been attending and making plans to see live music. I’ve been making time for old and new friends and we laugh and drink and eat and make merry and listen to music and I remember the lighter parts of myself that existed before the layers of years and responsibility and stress and loss and experience - that whole crazy combination life that includes all the awesome stuff as well as the things that are really hard.

I’ve learned that I have to allow and create opportunities for myself to have fun, personally as well as on my scrapbook pages.

And I have to let go.

And I have to be open.

So here I go, trying to fearlessly live the length and the width, inviting in the fun.

Comments

  • 1.
    JenR said…

    Made me cry Ali. I so totally know what you mean and thank you for putting it into words so beautifully.

  • 2.
    Jo-Anne from ZA said…

    Wow Ali, I am speechless!!

    That is exactly how i feel these days. Bogged done by responsibility, stress, loss etc and i always seem to be a ‘fun killer’ lately because i am always the responsible one and take life to seriously.

    I share this journey with you:-)

  • 3.
    Michelle Kelly said…

    A beautiful post. You are living your OLW! And there are so many of us that can relate to your words. Thank you for sharing.

  • 4.
    Jenni Hufford said…

    love this so much ali, and i love your openness.xo

  • 5.
    Michelle H. said…

    Thank you.

  • 6.
    Joy N said…

    Ali, this is a bold statement, love that you are becoming aware of so many things…

    I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Dr. Brene Brown but her book Daring Greatly runs along these lines.

    Wish you continue healing along your journey

    • ….
      Beth said…

      Ali is friends with Brene. Check out the back of The Gifts of Imperfection- Ali is one of the reviewers.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Joy – yes, actually after I finished this post last night I picked up Daring Greatly again as I’m going to be participating in a podcast discussion about how it relates to creativity/scrapbooking, etc. I’ve known Brene personally for about 6 years now – she’s a huge inspiration and a wonderful friend.

  • 7.
    alida said…

    Thank you Ali, I am defnitely taking your words to heart and will be looking out for more fun in my own life. Must say, you’ve always been amazing on your blog, even in the times that you think you weren’t fun.

  • 8.
    Marie said…

    Thank you, this is beautiful. And I think that lot of us can identify themselves in your post.

  • 9.
    Nicky from Okotoks said…

    Your doing all the right things Ali – finding yourself foremost will be your greatest gift!!

  • 10.
    Ingvild said…

    Beautiful words Ali – feel the same. But also feeling things are getting better now. Winter is almost over, spring is here and the sun and the light – it makes me appreciata everthing so much more. Thanks for sharing.

  • 11.
    Debora Prass said…

    I totally get that… I sometimes think that I used to be fun too. What would my teenage daughter think if she knew me when I was fun, you know? That kind of thing. And the happiness and amazing things that comes with starting a family bring burdens and stress too… I’m sooo in that place right now, trying to take life less serious and more lightly. You put into words in such a beautiful way. Here’s to being open and fun!

  • 12.
    Lindsey said…

    Ali,
    I love this. For me the tension is between reclaiming someone I used to be and figuring out when I am no longer that person. You know?

  • 13.
    Sue said…

    Bravo Ali, Bravo. You are so brave to bring us all along on your “ride”. It’s amazing that if you are öpen” you give yourself the opportunity to heal, grow, improve and become the person that you are meant to be. Wishing you more fun, love and peace.

  • 14.

    Great & inspiring words :) TFS :)

  • 15.
    kelsey said…

    Go, Ali, Go!

  • 16.
    Robyn said…

    beautiful post. Loved it.

  • 17.
    lauren said…

    a wonderful post that i [and i'm sure many others] can relate to. seeking out awesome adventures and smiling/laughing more makes for wonderful days. :) cheers to your new chapter! *

  • 18.
    heidig said…

    I know exactly how you feel. The first time I said something funny after leaving my ex-husband, I stopped dead in my tracks and thought “there’s the old me”! I’m funny! It’s an “ah ha” moment for sure.

  • 19.
    Nadine B. said…

    To the woman IN the arena:
    Hold on on living your life wholehearted and daring greatly. Thanks so much for sharing your vulnerability and the struggles, that comes along at the same time. It’s so appreciated and encourages me and others to do the same!
    YOU ARE ENOUGH, Ali.

  • 20.
    Ann said…

    I resonate with every word! Going through a divorce made me have to find my balance between three places in my life: where I had been a long time ago, where I was now, and where I wanted to go. Blessings on your journey. It’s worth the trip.

  • 21.
    Jenny A said…

    Beautiful post Ali – you always keep it real. It is such an inspiration to hear your voice.

  • 22.
    Paula said…

    To all of us in this arena, we have so many things that can weigh us down, yet we each try in our own way to turn the tables on those things … whether some days it’s the clear victory of fun, laughter and unforgettable good times or whether some days it’s breathing deep and surviving the day’s events. Yesterday was one of those days for me. About to turn 50. Hitting almost 1 year of physical ailments that won’t go away despite many tests, specialists and meds – realizing I may have to come to terms with the fact that my stomach muscle is paralyzed and what I eat won’t budge, so I may have to be open to a 90% soft food/liquid diet. Realizing that I have to stop pushing my 15 year old with Aspergers to try to join new things – she has tried unsuccessfully so many times in the past year that it now seems more damaging to keep trying and failing than to just take a break and let her know we believe she is enough whether she has a big social life or not. Facing up to with the responsibilities we have with a live in parent who has cancer that what we envisioned for this time of our lives is just not going to be quite that way. Realizing that all of this is ok and somehow, someway we can navigate this. My OLW is understand, and I am striving for this understanding that can be very clear one minute and very alluding the next.
    I apologize for rambling – it’s been a rough weekend. This post is what I needed, a strong reminder that fun is still there, waiting to be had, and today I am reaching out to it and praying for the strength within me to create it. Thanks for sharing Ali.

    • ….
      Sue said…

      Oh bless you on your journey. We are all sisters and share and support each other. Life is life and we need to meet it head on -you inspire me!

    • ….
      Karen S. said…

      Hi Paula, You have enough on your plate for any three people. Understanding? You are an incredible person, strong in your ability to cope and still asking more of yourself. Ramble on woman, you have that right. You are on my mind and in my heart.

    • ….
      Paula said…

      Awww…thank you both. There is always much to be thankful for, and we are all learning to dance in the rain in our own way.

    • ….
      Lucy said…

      Great insights we can all benefit from. Hang in there and thanks for sharing with us.

    • ….
      laura g. said…

      I agree with Karen S! you are going to be all right!! hang in there!

  • 23.
    Sarah said…

    thank you for sharing this… I can so relate to some of the feelings. I have not been burden with your challenges, but I too, cry more than I laugh. Years of living away from family and old friends and just not ever really exhaling has taken a toll on me and my husband. He says, “we used to have so much fun”. I want to get back to having all this fun, but I honestly don’t have the slightest idea how. When we go out, I worry about our three little boys, I worry about the money we are spending, I worry about things that are so trivial. But can’t seems to let it go. But I’m willing to try. Thanks for sharing.

    • ….
      Carin said…

      I can so relate to every part of your comment. Both my husbands and I are expats and it’s tough sometimes. Hugs to you.

    • ….
      Carin said…

      husband lol!

  • 24.
    Jonnelle said…

    Thank you for sharing!
    I love “I want to live the length and width”, such a great goal.
    You’re amazing and strong, I know the Fun Ali will prevail!

  • 25.
    Jenny S said…

    Like so many here, I totally relate. Thank you for putting into words some of the feelings I’ve been having lately. Such an eye opening thought: “I’ve learned that I have to allow and create opportunities for myself to have fun.”

    YES.

  • 26.
    Desiree Scheel said…

    Your message is open, honest and very moving. I’ve felt that way before and totally relate to loss in a marriage, loss in a job and loss in family deaths. You will bounce back…it just takes time and reflection.

  • 27.
    Dianne Jordan said…

    Simply beautiful, Ali.

  • 28.
    alexandra said…

    That last part (the paragraph starting with “music”) got me… sitting here with my kleenex now. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I relate to this… and how confusing it is for me to feel so sad and so empowered at the same time… an interesting combination of emotions. Thanks, Ali… you are truly inspiring to me.
    xo

  • 29.
    Jill said…

    I think you are awesome! You are truly an inspiration to me.

  • 30.
    Jennifer M said…

    I needed to read this so much today.

    Change, of any kind, is so hard. Right now my only child is preparing to apply to colleges and leave our home. I know this is what she should do, go out, discover herself and find her place in this world, but it is so hard to let her go. I constantly have to remind myself that this is a good change, for both of us, but it’s so hard in the meantime.

    Thank you for your words.

  • 31.
    rhonda said…

    I so know how you feel. after i went through my divorce i had to find myself again in so many ways. i was in a verbally abusive marriage. i let what he said go deep in my mind and mold me as i grew older each year. we were married 16 years before i had finally had it. i let the panic attacks i had keep me in a marriage of unhappiness, fear, loneliness….. it was so bad at one point that i even thought of ending it, my life that is.

    then i met this incredible guy. this guy whom i had known for 13 years but met him in a way i never had before. he had faith in me. he let me grow. he let me get up each day and fight past the pain while holding me and telling me how beautiful i was. a year later we had a son. my life is complete. i still fight a lot of the fears inside of me. 16 years of letting of deep emotions is no easy.

    i had learned in all of this that we have to follow our hearts no matter what. we have to listen to ourselves no matter who we might think we will upset. life goes by too fast to let others tell us who and what we should be. i feel confident that i will teach my son all i have learned so he will have a balanced, fun loved life.

    thank you for inspiring us all in many ways. i don’t know why i felt like writing this but i feel someone needs to hear it.

    much love to you!

    • ….
      Paula said…

      Beautiful and inspiring, wishing you and your family a wonderful life!

  • 32.
    Giorgi said…

    I’ve always admired you because you are so real. Having gone through a lot of your experiences I felt I was reading nodding my head after every sentence.

    I can so relate to everything you say, when People told me I was strong, I felt like I was a mess in a heap, obviously I wasn’t because here I am today, I had a 2 year old and a newborn when I divorced, and the real me seemed to have disappeared.

    I remember a particular post of yours when you had been playing with melting wax on Hambly Screen Print Paper and I particularly love, posts where you include your little projects, like your red felt mini book one valentines day and numerous travel journals, looking forward to seeing more of the real you Ali. Thanks for sharing makes me not so alone in this world. x

  • 33.
    Elena VanDover said…

    You really described the process I went through. I feel like I got a second chance at life. The first life was good too… but the second life is more “me.” :)

  • 34.
    Kathy said…

    beautifully put.
    your message resonates to the core of many of us.

  • 35.
    Jocelyn said…

    Ali,
    Thank you so much for sharing. …for sharing so much of your life with us. I have been through (for me) a devastating divorce. It has now been 4 years since the divorce (5 and a half since he actually left) and I am still trying to find my voice and myself. Some days it is there loud and clear and other days it is so quiet and meek. I couldn’t scrapbook or ‘create’ anything for several years. I sort of shut down at first. I have been so inspired by your strength and your ability to still create and tell your story so very tactfully. It truly is refreshing to me. I can still remember when I realized you were going through a divorce and I was struck hard. I didn’t like my own divorce and I don’t like other people to have to go through it either. I have prayed for you and I continue to pray for you and your children. You are fun! You are worth it! There is life after divorce! Hang in there girl!

  • 36.
    Julie C said…

    well said and sits so true with me as well. I’ve been struggling with the life on the shoulders responsibilities, not adding to them, and trying to find the person who lived before them in me as well. I want my kids to know the fun mom as well as the strict mom and that there is a balance…..somewhere….so I keep looking as well.

  • 37.
    Jo-Ann said…

    Ali: I first met you at the Airport in new York for our adventure to Italy and I must say for everything you were going through you held yourself well. It wasn’t till I got back that I understood more and I was so impressed with how brave you were, how though I am sure your heart was not smiling you yourself were. Sometimes we loose ourselves in our partners, in our children in our lives. It just happens and the path you are travelling now is the one you should be on. I don’t believe in mistakes just learning opportunities. You have taught me with your one little word that instead of fighting the things you can’t control to embrace it. You helped me embrace the death of my father I truly believe I would have lost my way and instead find myself at peace with it all.I can’t wait to see you in November be prepared for such a wonderful hug, I am so proud of you.

    • ….
      Debbi Smith said…

      Wonderful words Jo-Ann! She really is an inspiration. I will never forget how Miss Ali touched my heart, as well, in Italy…hugs!

  • 38.
    Dolly said…

    Words of wisdom Ali…you are embracing Brenes teachings and applying them in such a good way. Thank you again for introducing her, she has made a huge difference in my life too!

  • 39.

    Beautiful words and a great reminder to remember to be fun and to live life fully everyday no matter where you are at in life…..just enjoy every little slice there is!

  • 40.
    Becca said…

    I face this every single day.
    I feel like, in my former non-mama life, I was happy & spontaneous & FUN–and I hate that my kids probably aren’t seeing that. I’m so exhausted most of the time and when I’m tired, I’m not my best self. I beat myself up daily, wondering if they’ll remember their childhood as a happy one or if they’ll recall their mama being a crabby person all the time. :-(

    I too recognize that my lack of creative life in the past almost three years has played a huge part in all of this. I need to make time to craft, to scrapbook, to sew–for my own sanity & to be a better, happier, more FUN mama to my most precious people. I love how you said “I want to live the length and the width!” What a great way to think about life! I believe I’ll adopt that same concept–I just know I’m sick of being lost too. :-(

    Sending huge hugs, dear friend.

  • 41.
    JosieK said…

    Thank you for sharing this with us today Ali! As women and especially Mothers, so much is expected of us..we quickly lose our sense of adventure and “fun.” We have to hold everyone together..whether they want us to or not..we do it..
    But it’s not so quick to reclaim our “fun”…it takes time..and the sheer fact that you’re aware of where your heart is and where it wants to go is only positive and progressive for your soul. We women are always trying to progress even if we don’t know it..it’s getting silent in mind and heart so we can hear the directions. You’re one cool chick!! xo

  • 42.
    Karen said…

    beautiful post, Ali. This is why I find you to be such an inspiration.

  • 43.
    celia smith said…

    How do you always have the perfect words of wisdom and inspiration that I need to hear in my life. Sorry to know you have suffered. I hope you know you are a beautiful and fun person. Thank you for sharing.

  • 44.
    Jasmine Ford said…

    Wow…of all your posts lately, this is the one I can relate to the most. I’m in the middle of the “lost” part. I feel like most of the time I’m living some other life, one that I didn’t expect to, caught up in stress every day life with 2 little kids and an unemployed husband. They cause sleepless nights and anxiety attacks. There’s no fun in my life right now. I used to be fun, I say that to my husband all the time. I’m hoping that I can come around soon, so I can have moments like what you’re talking about, so that my kids can see that I am a fun person, that I’m not serious and sad all the time. Thanks for the insight Ali, it’s nice to know we’re not all alone in this world like we think we are when we’re at our worst….living the length and the width…I like that.

  • 45.
    Lisa W. said…

    Well…I think I am gonna have to print this one…I am afraid I am going to be at the beginning stages of this journey you have been on. I can “see” this is NOT going to be easy. But having this post will help get me through! Thanks Ali for sharing your inner thoughts and all! I really do pray I can be as strong as you have been!!!

  • 46.
    Peggy said…

    Envision me raising a glass…to you, to open, to creative highs and fun Ali! Cheers!

  • 47.
    nancy said…

    Been divorced 2 years after a 13 year relationship. I loved reading this and I went through this as well. I loved the process of remembering who I was before I was married. For me, the first year was pretty sad and scary and then the second year was like, “Oh, this is who I was before! I remember now!” Merging the two people- the 22 year old me and the 38 year old me has been a great experience and I can honestly say I feel better than ever.

  • 48.
    Deirdre said…

    Your words so resonated with me. My husband and I seemed to have hung up our “fun” and spontaneous hats when we had kids—we still have fun but fun geared at what the kids will enjoy, what their passions are. And that is a good thing, to an extent. But not to the extent that we forget our own passions.

    A couple years ago I wrote a bucket list, but not the traditional “places I want to visit” list. I had a lot of adventures before I had kids, and would like to have more, but I know those aren’t what define my life. I was influenced by Anne Dillard’s line: “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” and this great post by (the now departed) Leroy Siever’s:http://www.npr.org/blogs/mycancer/2007/06/everyone_has_their_own_list.html

    My comment has turned into a blog post of its own! Sorry. All I really wanted to say is that writing that bucket list of what I want my days to look like included LIVE MUSIC, something I completely let go of after becoming a mom.

    I still miss Oregon’s Britt Festival, but last year two of my oldest friends met me to see Ingrid Michaelson & Brandi Carlile at Red Rocks in Colorado, and this year my boys and I are going to see Michael Franti there. It’s the kind of thing I normally would have said “someday, when we can afford it” but I’m making it a priority now, because I want, need, live music in my life.

  • 49.

    Thank you Ali! You are amazing!

  • 50.
    orange gearle said…

    Ali — I am so glad that you are using music! Music therapy exists for a reason! In 2004, a relationship in my life ended. I ended it, but it was still quite difficult to say goodbye to a wonderful man that I love, AND we are just not right for each other! I started DOING again. Part of the doing for me was music. I’ve always been a musician, and I found that part of me again. I grew into my grown up self and began to enjoy life. Then I found my soul mate. And I am lucky to share a child with this wonderful man that I was meant to be with. And the older child that I share with a different, wonderful man, is better for it because she watched me grow into myself and learn how to love me for me…I love your post. Your children will love seeing you learn about yourself in this way. You are teaching them a valuable lesson, while at the same time bettering yourself. What a beautiful thing to share with us, and more importantly, with your children.

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