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.

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220 thoughts

  1. Marianne says…
    04/08/2013

    Wandered over here from Brene's FB post...so sad to hear you are having a bad time. I've enjoyed your work and your guidance for years. As Pink would say..."gotta get up and Try Try Try"...hoping things get easier munch sooner than late.

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  2. Erika says…
    04/08/2013

    powerful. meaningful. real. thank you!

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  3. Nevaeh Costa says…
    04/08/2013

    I saw your post from Brene Brown, who re-posted this. To sum up how this blog made me feel is this...connected. Thank you for your bravery and putting into words the feelings that many of us women who have been through the ruins of "losing ourselves" from toxic relationships/relationships that are no longer serving an addition to our happiness. I started to write finally, again, and I know what you feel. Completely.
    It's amazing to know that we are not alone, that there is always someone else who can say, "I know EXACTLY what you mean, and here's how I'm choosing to go against the stream."

    :)

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  4. Barb says…
    04/08/2013

    Wow! These are my thoughts, put into your words. I caught myself having a fun time laughing with other parents at a softball game while the ex was sitting in the stands. I thought"What am I doing?", at first then remembered that is what I used to be like before he pulled me down. It's all coming back, and I will ACCEPT, not just hope. And I will wait and welcome her back, little by little, until I am whole again.
    Thanks for sharing your process so I know I am not the only one feeling lost
    Barb

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  5. Sharona Zee says…
    04/08/2013

    Beautifully and bravely shared. I have said (post marriage) "who did I used to be?", and a friend corrected me, "no it's who are you gonna' be?".
    Yesterday I had coffee with a friend from before I was married, and she told me forgotten stories about myself. I was delighted to remember a little about her, that pre-wife, pre-mother self!
    Wishing you Grace for your journey!

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  6. Peppermint says…
    04/08/2013

    Very inspiring. That lost place, for me, can feel both overwhelming and oddly comfortable all at the same time. Knowing that you have to choose happiness is the easy part - summoning it from an elusive "somewhere" can be a real process. I think what I have struggled with, and continue to struggle with, is the time when he's with his dad and it's just me . I had a lot of years of never really having to be alone with myself and despite all of the years that have passed I still find myself feeling extremely unsettled some days, like I lose my grip on things in the back and forth of it all. Less and less days as time goes on, perhaps, but sometimes I wonder if I'll ever reach a point where I'll realize that I haven't felt that way in a long time. ANYWAY ... I will raise a glass to you tonight and your dedication to living the length and the width!

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  7. Fanny says…
    04/08/2013

    Thank you for sharing your reflections and learning process and also for your authenticity! I loved this post!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Stephanie Wagner says…
    04/08/2013

    Love you Ali. It is so hard to go through change and know who you are again. I think we all struggle with that when you go through life, I know I do. I loved running into you recently and you seemed so light and less weighed down. Keep up the good work and the happy mistakes. We would especially love to see those. :) HUGS!!!! Yes, music is the key to ones soul!

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  9. Honoree Corder says…
    04/08/2013

    Brave and beautiful post. The best is yet to come.

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  10. Lynne T. says…
    04/08/2013

    Dear Ali- this passage you write makes me feel that I am in the same place in my life where after being focused completely on my 13 year old son who was diagnosed with Cancer July,2010 and he has been through 2 different protocols which included chemo and Proton Radiation. I have lost touch with my fun side as well as what others are doing out and about in fun situations. My scrapping,sewing and family have had nothing but making it through one day at a time and no fun. This 13 year old boy and mom have some fun coming their way come this Wednesday as he finishes the ending of a second round of proton radiation. That means something new is heading our way and we will have to go slowly into real life again minus all the doc's and protocol's. You are a very wise person. I feel it when I read you I know that you and your children will grow together as well as my son and myself. I think that we will mourn the years, months, and days that we have not had that fun but will move on and grow and laugh and smile and have great fun as we move further.

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  11. Casey says…
    04/08/2013

    Ali, I have admired your honesty, strength and the class with which you have shared as you have found your way through this journey. Your post today really resonated with me as I have been on my own journey to rediscover myself and celebrate the fun and happiness in my life that I seemed to have lost somewhere along the way. Some days feel more carefree than others but scheduling and creating fun moments seem to help carry me through times when I forget to let go an enjoy. Thank you for all the times that you have shared your journey with us.

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  12. Laura@Ms Smartie Pants says…
    04/08/2013

    I could have written these very words myself. I lost my husband after a very short battle with cancer a few months ago. I don't know who I am anymore but all the while I want to enjoy life. My whole life I've been what everyone needs me to be. I had what I thought were plans for my future, a vision of what it was going to look like and now it doesn't, all the more reason to grab hold and go for a great ride! I pray you continue to find your way.

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  13. Nina says…
    04/08/2013

    Struck such a chord with me, I'm going to follow your lead! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful and hopeful...and honest story.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Tae says…
    04/08/2013

    Boy can I ever empathize with this! It's a constant struggle to stay present with yourself and not get bogged down in the crazy of this or that.

    I wish you all the best in your journey to rediscover the things that make you the best version of yourself.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Pamela says…
    04/08/2013

    ali,
    while i haven't been through the same situation, i've been through my fair share of struggles. i think that each of us can relate regardless the past/story we share. thank you for sharing your raw feelings. its encouraging and empowering. can't wait to see each page turn...

    music is my voice when i feel i've lost the words to say... its a great outlet of emotions when you want to say something but haven't a clue how to actually say it, yah, that's music for me...

    thanks for sharing ali...
    ~pamela

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  16. Mauri CITA says…
    04/08/2013

    So brave Ali... letting go, enjoying life, creating and sharing - Thanks for sharing ;-)

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  17. leslierahye says…
    04/08/2013

    Thank you for sharing this today Ali and reminding us that we are enough and that we should live the length and the width! I needed this today!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Justin says…
    04/08/2013

    Ali- situations and people will affect you, but you can't let
    Them define you!! I lost my mom to brain cancer three months ago,
    Reading this opened my heart so thank you!! Live for the moment!!

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  19. Ann English says…
    04/08/2013

    Ah, sweet girl...my world has split wide open multiple times...I'm a lot older than you, but on one of those occasions you were there ( fall 2005, Colorful Creations, Hyannis, MA) you listened and cared and were kind...
    Profoundly disabled child, divorce, loss of father, son (2005), mother, children struggling mightly...it all takes time. The gift of healing and joy rediscovered in a creative place. You are enough and MORE than enough! Know that you are an inspiration to so many!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Janet White says…
    04/08/2013

    It seems so easy to lose parts of ourselves. I swear at times our souls let out a wild howl to sail on the winds and call our lost parts back.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Good stuff. Hard, but still good.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Sharon says…
    04/08/2013

    YES YES YES! AMEN...Brava sister, brava!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Rachel R says…
    04/08/2013

    thank you for sharing Ali. the older I get the more I think that our holes are places where the light can come in. praying that for you and your little family.

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  23. Tonia Sherrill says…
    04/08/2013

    Thank you for being honest. For sharing your thoughts. Lost my husband in an accident one year ago. Feel as thought the "fun" me died along with him. You are a blessing and a great inspiration.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Leanne in CA says…
    04/08/2013

    Love this! Thanks for sharing, and your pages are fabulous!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Suzi Banks Baum says…
    04/08/2013

    Ali, I just stumbled on to your site and I am so glad I did. Congratulations on exercising your fun muscles. Your face is so happy you've discovered your joy again. I'd love to hear the podcast about creativity with Brene. I write about motherhood and creativity and would enjoy your conversation. Will you post about it here? xo Suzi

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