Stripping Back The Layers

ID-100147124.domdeenNow that I have moved on to moving on, I realise that it is “me” who has moved on; that is, the ‘thinking me’ inside ‘me’. However, some of my other layers are dragging their feet. Whilst I had always been aware of my main layers (me, partner, family, work, home, community) these past months of reflection has made me become more aware of the many layers upon layers, and layers within layers that make up ‘me’ and my life.

Me is my health, body, mind, soul, spirit, self-esteem, confidence, thoughts, feelings, memories, identity, personality, character, values, beliefs, attitudes, authenticity, choices, freedom, responsibilities, needs, desires, hopes and dreams. Whew! I did not realise before that I was so complex!

Partner is nonexistent at the moment (unless you count messy stuff that needs to be done disentangling the partnership that was).

Family is my children, grand-children, extended family, extended extended family, my roots, branches, wings, friends, work colleagues, supporters, allies, professional advisors, neighbours, and generally people who are there for me.

Home is my house, security, stability, safety, routine, peace, calm, sanctuary, comfort and my sense of ‘normality’.

Work is what I do, what I learn, research, create, read, write, lead; it is my education, skills, talents, experience; and that which provides me with purpose, meaning and accomplishment.

Community is my place in society which currently is also my work because I dropped everything else in a fit of ‘I can only handle so much’ exasperation some time ago.

Over-arching all of that is the ‘inner me’ compass, the Captain of my ship driving all the rest onwards.

I had an epiphany last April when I realised that where I was heading (which was in fact back to my old life with bits missing) was not right for me. I decided then that I wanted to move on to something new, something for me, something with meaning for me. I decided that I wanted to start anew somewhere else. In making that decision, I did not understand how painful it would all be.

With my ‘partner’ layer gone; and my ‘family’ layer seriously fractured; my decision to ‘move on’ will (over time) strip the remaining three layers of my work, my community and my home from my life; and with it my financial security, my stability and my sense of normality.

That is what I meant in the first paragraph. Although the ‘me’ inside of me (my will to succeed) has moved on to the future, which is now becoming my present, the rest of my layers will be left behind; my stability and financial security, my home, my work, my community. Moreover, whilst my creative mind and lust for freedom are striding ahead, some layers within the layer of ‘me’ are also trailing behind with some memories and feelings still back in ‘pain’; and my self esteem and confidence still in ‘repair’;  That is part of what I described in my recent post on the unwanted passengers on my ship. I cannot wait until they are fixed, I have to take them with me as they are.

In moving on, I will be left with the bare shell of the inner ‘me’ as a nearly sixty year old woman, alone and starting over, dragging the bruised remnants of my former self with me; without guaranteed financial security or a sense of stability; without a sense of place in the world. Yet I have decided to move forward anyway. That is because the real me inside wants to go there. The decision to move on is because it feels that it will become right for me. As for the other layers of me and my life; I will need to rebuild them in my future, layer by layer.

I have spent the last eighteen months working on strengthening the most important inner layer of me. One of those strengths I have been building on is courage.

With not much else remaining, I am clinging to courage and will certainly be putting it to the test   …….

“It’s not what you lose, but what you have left, and what you do with it.”
F D Roosevelt.


Image courtesy:[domdeen]

33 thoughts on “Stripping Back The Layers

  1. Hi, Elizabeth,
    There’s a phrase that comes to mind after reading your post… “Fake it ’til you make it.” It’s what I do and have done throughout my entire life. I think moving forward is an excellent choice. The rest will follow. I promise.
    Funny you should pinpoint the word COURAGE to wrap up your thoughts. Just yesterday, I wrote on a piece of paper a word that shows itself to me every once in a while and needs to be my mantra… BRAVE. Usually, it is someone else reminding me that I am, in fact, BRAVE, though I sometimes have difficulty believing it myself. In my heart, I know it’s true. Trials and tribulations can make us question, but if we are still standing after an ordeal, we are WISER and WE ARE BRAVE!!

    • Thanks. You do always comfort me. I have re-read some of your posts recently and I was unaware of the totality of the things that have happened in your life. You are indeed brave and an inspiration to me.

      • Thank you, Elizabeth. I do believe we’re here to, at the very least, comfort each other. I can’t really speak to all I’ve been through as it involves other people’s lives, but I can only say that we seem to be our strongest even when think we are at our weakest. Some things are simply not easy to get through and though we may trip and fall and nearly go down with the ship, if we just manage somehow to get through, it is a testament to our strength. I see that strength in you; that’s how I know you’ll be okay.


      • Thanks again, and I know what you say is correct. that sometimes just getting through to standing up again does in itself mean that we are indeed strong.

  2. Just remember, Elizabeth, as Christopher Robin reminded Pooh, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 🙂

  3. One quote that I keep hanging on to is:
    “If God told you exactly what it was you were to do, you would be happy doing it no matter what it was. What you’re doing is what God wants you to do. Be happy.”
    It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s helping me on a daily basis.

    • That word ‘energy’ does have a ring to it. There is a lot of energy required in coping with a crisis (of any kind) and it is amazing how my motivation has gone up as I have been gradually ridding myself of this emotional baggage which is so draining. Focussing on the way forward is helping me a lot and energizing me. Thanks for your encouragement. 🙂

  4. A very inspirational local man has died today of stomach cancer. He asked “Why me?” and then turned it around: “I have this condition for a reason!” In the 2 years since his diagnosis, he made it his business to inspire people. Just google Steve Evans. You are made of the same stuff, Elizabeth!

  5. Elizabeth,

    I was thinking about those passengers representing the more painful part of divorce and how I’m giving them permission to stay on my ship, too. Bad Internet access got in the way of my responding to your last post, and my daughter and I left the library to get some Chinese food. I found this in my fortune cookie, and since this post also refers to those passengers, I’m still on topic! Although I don’t take “God” literally as a male deity, I thought this perfectly summed up how we need all our experiences to be whole:

    “God can heal a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces.”


    • This is SO profound. I think we (those in pain and sadness) can waste so much time trying to rid ourselves of all that baggage whereas accepting they are part of us is the real way to enlightenment. There is strength in that truth.

  6. Choosing to move on was the big step… then picking up your courage and now just trusting yourself to guide you where you need to be… we all just have to remember it’s all about experience… and enjoying our life the best way we can under our circumstances… take care, Barbara…

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