Under Her Coat

My Story:

As I tiptoed reluctantly from age 50 to 51, these words began to rumble within me: “It’s time to live your life now.” I have spent decades pleasing, rescuing, and caretaking. These skills come easily to me, and this is my work as a therapist. Spending so much time as a nurturer and validator meant that I was not honing the skill of deeply listening to myself. I could hear a faint whisper of my true self, but someone had dialed her down to a one or two. How would I have mothered successfully all these years if she had been on a ten? How would I have nodded agreeably all these years as my husband announced another client dinner or another business trip if she had been on a ten? My internal voice had to get quiet (or so I thought) to survive the intensity and demands of parenting three children, often alone. Sublimating my voice and my needs allowed me to tune in with precision to those I cared about most. Times have changed. With older, more independent teenagers now, I find myself with a refreshing abundance of time on my hands. I am immersed in a daily conversation with that inner voice now, and I adore her. She seems to have grabbed the mike, and she’s dialed herself back up to a seven or eight. She’s the one saying in a delightful voice, “It’s time to live your life now.”