Once upon a time, seventeen years ago, I lost myself. In love and work.
A double Taurus with Venus in 12th and Neptune in 7th (ruler of my 12th) this was inevitable.
For starters, it made me dislike boundaries. I found them limiting. And more importantly – who ever dreamed of a limiting love? I certainly didn’t. My love dream was a fairy tale hero with whom I’d dissolve into an eternal bliss of boundless love. He sure was and I sure did.
I distinctly remember falling in love with my partner. The force of this love was uncompromising. It shattered my world, broke me up, turned me inside out. I was over the Moon – and gone to its dark side. Head over heels – buried. The love exposed me completely. I had no place to hide anymore – I was free at last. And completely safe. With him, in love. It was a perfect hideaway. So I hid. And hid. Until I finally lost site of myself. Until I couldn’t tell anymore where he ended and I began. Until I couldn’t hide anymore.
I was 42 when I first heard the rumblings of this identity crisis. I attempted to give it a voice in an anonymous article in the Psychologies magazine and an equally anonymous blog Milly No Mates (these are the posts from it I feel are still relevant to me six years later – What If, Cruel Kindness On A Leafy Lane and Jobless eXistenz).
But my coming out was too much too soon. A few months into my exposure I was feeling unbearably vulnerable. Even though nobody knew who I was! Such is the power of one’s truth. So, I said good bye to my followers and shut the blog down. And withdrew to hide some more.
A few big job contracts later, I’m burnt out and aching for a life of no pretense. A boundless living where the boundaries between my private and public personas are much softer and blurrier. A life where the two merge so that what I do is who I am. So that who I am is what I do. For love. For living. Because my other hiding place was work.
I was really good at what I did – manage projects. And for the most part I earned good money too. I loved being appreciated for the job well done, being paid well for my time and skills. I may have even been mildly addicted to this professional persona I created – I felt I actually had power (or was just powered up?). It wasn’t enough though. I still felt unReal-ised. At best a Great Pretender, at worst a Fake.
So I tried to create work that was closer to who I was – an expression of my many parts. I thought running my own coaching business could be my answer. I was right, to a point – I was on the right path, but in the wrong vehicle. My mistake was following other people’s business models and doing it by their books – even though deep down I knew none of them were right for me. I wasn’t that kind of coach. So I withdrew again. Tried hiding again – in another job. But this time I couldn’t – I seemed unable to get an interview, let alone a job offer.
The last two years (2013-2015) saw me drift further and further away from the ways I used to live my life. The biggest catalysts were a few real family crisis that called for me to be with my parents and away from my life in England. To say those were intense times would be a serious understatement – every day of heart-stopping joy was relentlessly followed by a crushingly heart-breaking one.
But this dynamic was also deeply cathartic. After all, it delivered me here, today. It gave me courage to follow my own vision – for my love, my work, my life.
What happens from here on is anyone’s guess though.
But I do know that no matter how uncomfortable, awkward, incoherent, disagreeable, unlikable and strange it gets I will go through (with) it. At my age (47 in May 2016) I just don’t have the luxury of time to lose my self again.
And because without me, there’s no life – work & love – that I can call my own.