A long time ago I went to a religious retreat called SEARCH.  My best friend at the time, Biff, had been and she told me that she wanted me to go.  She said that out of everyone she knew, she thought I would benefit from it the most.  I asked her why and she told me that it was all about taking off your “mask.”  For some reason this really made me mad.  I don’t think I talked to her for a week.  Well I ended up going.  It was in a high school and was led by a lot of my friends.  I left not really taking much out of it.  I smiled and told everyone it was really great and that I learned a lot but I thought I was lying.  It wasn’t until today that the memories of that weekend came flooding back to me.  A big change happened to me this weekend. A life changing thing.  I don’t want to get into that because this post isn’t about that at all. I also don’t want to talk about it with people who actually know me so please don’t ask just know that it’s a good thing and I’m going to be just damn fine.  This post is about what this entire blog is supposed to be about.  Finding Maggie.

I met my friend Molly today for coffee.  We ended up talking for about 4 hours.  We went to talk about the big thing but ended up talking about life in general, work, family, and friends.  It was exactly what I needed.  On my way home, as I was getting off of the interstate a song came on the radio.  It was a song from that SEARCH weekend so long ago.  The counselors, my friends, had to share personal stories at this retreat.  Stories in their life that caused them to rely on God.  My friend Wes stood up and proceeded to tell us about when his father was killed.  To this day my memories of that horrible time still bring me to tears.  In addition to their stories they selected songs to go along with the stories.  Wes’ song was In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel.  This is the song I heard on the way home.

As I listened to the song I began to cry tears of joy.  

Love, I get so lost sometimes.  Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart.  When I want to run away I drive off in my car.  But whichever way I go I come back to the place you are.

The past month or so I’ve really been thinking a lot about love.  The lack of love that one can feel and what to do about that emptiness.  This song hits so close to home for me.  Those who know me know that I do my best thinking in my car.  Whenever I’m really upset about something I will get in my car and drive.  I really identify with this song.  Like most people, I would always think that this song was about the love between a man and a woman.  It very well may be.  But ever since Wes played it at SEARCH I think of the love between God and us.

And all my instincts, they return, the grand façade so soon will burn.  Without a noise.  Without my pride.  I reach out for the inside.

In your eyes.  The light the heat.  I am complete. I see the doorway to a thousand churches.  The resolution of all my fruitless searches.  Oh I wanna be that complete.  I wanna touch the light the heat I see in your eyes. 

 

You see, whenever bad things happen or things aren’t going my way I try to fix them on my own.  My past relationships have obviously caused me to lose sight of myself; why else would this blog be here?  The thing is it seems that every time I’ve really loved and lost, all of my instincts return.  I turn to God. I go back to church.  I read the bible.  I read the devotional my mother gave me.  I don’t get into my car.  I go outside into my backyard, watch my dogs play and look up at the sky and trees.  It’s in that moment that I feel God’s presence the most and I feel complete.  It’s that moment that I’m reminded that I don’t need a man to feel whole.  I need God.

Love, I don’t like to see so much pain.  So much wasted, and this moment keeps slipping away.  I get so tired working so hard for our survival.  I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive.

I don’t like who I am when I lose sight of my faith.  Things don’t go well for me when I do.  I hurt more.  I make bad decisions.  I waste valuable time and it makes it harder to come home to my God.  I’m so tired of trying to do this on my own.  I’m tired of trying to pick of the pieces of my broken heart all by myself.  I love my family and I love my friends, but they only want to hear so much before you’re told, it’s time to move on and get over this.  NONE of them have actually said those words.  I’ve stopped talking to keep them from saying anything close to that.

The past 48 hours have been a roller coaster of emotions for me.  They went from the highest of highs to the abyss of nothingness.  It was today that I began my climb and the sun is bright and getting bigger and bigger.  I got an email today from wordpress.  A blogger liked a few of my posts.  I went to her blog and read all of it.  She’s had troubled relationships and has asked herself the question, What would happen if I was single in every aspect of the word for 1000 days?  That’s over three years y’all!  She could very well be one of the bravest women I’ll ever not meet but know about.  1000 days of focusing on her.  In essence she’s finding herself.  She’s dedicated 1000 days to herself.  Now, I’m not going to put a number of days on finding myself but I was so inspired by her.  She’s SO RIGHT!  We as humans are always seeking companionship.  Going from relationship to relationship and never quite getting comfortable with ourselves on our own. Being alone is so different from being lonely.  Why do we jump from relationship to relationship?  Why do so many people have such a big fear of being alone?  What is it about us as humans that make us so damn uncomfortable just being by ourselves?  I’m so tired of it.  I’m so tired of trying to please every damn person in my life. I’m tired of worrying about someone else’s feelings.  I’m tired of worrying if there will be any attractive men at any of the places I go.  I’m tired of not being me!!!

This is where we get back to SEARCH.  SEARCH was all about being you.  Not wearing the masks that each of us wears every damn day.  I don’t have to be happy every single day of my life! I don’t have to pretend that I’m OK when I’m not.  I don’t have to hide worry or sadness.  I don’t have to sacrifice MY HAPPINESS for someone else’s.  I DON’T HAVE TO!!!  So here I am.  Taking all of those damn masks off and putting them in a box.

I’ve decided to be myself.  Just me.  For myself and no one else.  The question is; who am I without those damn masks? I’ll tell you who I am.  I’m Michael and Mary’s third daughter.  I’m the baby of the family and I’ve acted like one for way too long.  I’m Lee and Teresa’s sister.  I’m a very proud person. I’m proud of my family and very proud of how far I’ve come as a person.  I’m proud of my heritage (anyone who knows me knows that to be the truth!)  I’m stubborn as hell and hate admitting that I’m wrong.  I’m loud and very impatient.  I’m a woman struggling to find herself.  I love laughing and love making people laugh.  I’m loyal to those who love me, sometimes to a fault.  I’m caring and compassionate.  I take on others worries.  I struggle to make others happy and can neglect myself.  I’m talented.  I have so many talents that are wasted.  I can sing…well.  I can play multiple musical instruments.  I can draw and paint.  And I can write.  I’m so damn empathetic.  When others hurt, I hurt.  I’m goofy and such a dork.  I’m an animal lover and would take in every stray I came across if I could.  I’m good at my job and take a lot of pride in that.  I’m a Catholic.  One that has lapsed a time or two but like the prodigal son I keep coming back because that’s what I was raised to do.

My father.  My daddy.  He’s the strongest person I know.  That man raised me with such a strong faith in God.  A faith that I too have but one that is not as strong as it will be.  My father has set an unachievable standard of what a man, a husband and father should be.  I’m a daughter who is so very proud to have the father she has.  My father worked himself to death to provide the very best for his girls and he succeeded in every aspect.  It is because of my father that I return to my faith every time I stray.  I’ve inherited my father’s impatience and stubbornness.  I’ve also inherited my sense of humor from him and my ability to take a moment to stop and smell the roses.  He laughs at things out of the blue.  I do the same.  He could not be a better father.

My mother.  Momma.  My mother is the epitome of love.  That woman married a man who is more impatient than I am and to this day she loves the hell out of him.  My mother is what I strive to be as a woman and a Catholic.  Forever I thought my dad was the uber Catholic of the family.  As I’ve grown and learned to take notice. I’ve realized that my mother’s faith is just as strong an unshakable as my father’s.  I think that those who convert can have a stronger faith because it’s the faith that they choose, whereas those of us, like my sisters and father who were born into that can have wavering moments.  My mother has taught me that there are gray areas in life.  She’s taught me how to sit back, take everything in and then think about what to do. She taught me to measure twice and cut once.  My mother has taught me everything my dad, as a man could not.  They are so perfectly balanced that their influence has shaped who I am.

On to the sisty uglers, as my handsome daddy used to call them.  Lee.  I used to call her Lee Lee.  We would gang up on Teresa.  Lee is 10 years older than me.  She is one of the most impressive women you could ever meet.  She is as someone once put it, captivating.  I think she’s pretty amazing myself.  Talk about someone that has her stuff together.  She’s my example and loves her sisters with a fierceness that could shake a mountain.  It’s a love I’ve taken for granted. Lee did everything right.  Lee graduated from college, got a great job, got married and had two amazing sons who I am very proud of.  I thought I would do the same, but I’m not Lee.  I used to think everything came easily for her.  Now I know how foolish I was to think that.  I’m so very proud of my oldest sister and I hope to be a better one to her.

Teresa, my little big sister.  Teresa is the pretty one.  She’s 5 foot nothing and thin as can be with beautiful blue eyes.  But she’s so much more than that and her beauty can keep people from seeing her for the wonderful woman she is.  Teresa has not had the easiest of roads but that’s her story to tell, not mine.  Teresa has two great kids as well.  A son and a daughter.  Teresa and Lee are both momma bears.  They are both such wonderful mothers.  Teresa is one of the funniest people she knows.  Ha!  She also loves her sisters with the same fierceness as Lee. Teresa is just…well, Teresa.  She’s become quite an example for me as well.  I’ve had two very strong sisters that have shown me what to do and what not to do.

Lately I’ve not been the best sister to them.  I chose a man over them.  A mistake I will never let happen again.  Men come and go but sisters.  Sisters are special.  My sisters have a bond with each other that I can’t come close to having with them.  I’m ok with this.  They are exactly two years apart to the day.  They share a connection that I don’t share with them.  When all three of us are together I tend to fall into the background.  It’s a place I’ve become comfortable with.  I’ve learned that I cannot let myself get angry, hurt or resentful of their relationship.  None of us have the same relationship.  Lee is the one I would go to with questions over work.  Teresa is who I would go to for life questions.  I love my sisters both equally and I have to spend the time now to grow the relationships with them that I want.

There is so much that I have to do to become the person I’m meant to be.  So much.  But the past two days have given me such hope for my future.  I’ve decided that I’m going to be happy.  I choose happiness.  I’m going to have a smile on my face every day.  Not because it’s a mask but because, what is there to not smile about?

 

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