Marching to a different drum

Who am I?
Who is this person inside my skull?
driving me to go go go?
No time to rest No time to think No time to cry
An endless flurry of activity
to what end?
Another day
And for what?
The dishes are done
The dog’s been walked
Every chore complete.
But it doesn’t stop
Every day the person beats
Pounds the drum faster
faster faster
Keep going Don’t look back.
This is how you earn your worth.
Maybe one day
It will be enough.

-© Jennifer Horton 1/26/13

Sometimes life feels so heavy.

Funny that I’ve been feeling it so much more lately and then found the above poem dated roughly a year ago when I was flipping back through my journal.

Maybe life really does repeat itself.

But does it have to?

I’ve been trying to think lately what my life would be like, what I would be like if I just let go of all the baggage. Forgot about my history, my past, all my formed opinions and beliefs. What would the world look like to me if I were able to start fresh every day? I imagine it would look markedly different. I recall reading about a man who’d been a smoker for almost his entire life. One day he had some sort of accident and lost all of his memory. Afterward, he never smoked again. He’d simply forgotten that that was part of who he was. I often wish something similar would happen to me. How wonderful it would be to wake up one morning and not have an eating disorder! To be free of all the worries and compulsions that drive me each day. Ah! It sounds lovely!

But, alas, we are a product of our histories. In some sense, I suppose that’s good — if we didn’t learn from our pasts, shaping our presents and futures based on past experiences, we would likely put ourselves in danger — burning ourselves on the stove,for instance — or make WAY more mistakes than we already do. Nevertheless, I think our histories can also constrain us. Many of us, myself included, carefully construct our personas based on the feedback we get from others growing up. By the time we’re old enough — and hopefully wise enough — to learn who we REALLY are — it can be difficult to tear that person down and start fresh. It’s one thing to tentatively go out into the world and experiment with things when you’re a child, but how does one go about the process in her 30s, 40s or 50s? Is it too late to start over?

I certainly hope not. Because I so desperately want to.

I’m addicted to I play this game on my iPhone called Jewel Mania in which you have to achieve certain goals within a specific time frame or number of moves. Often times, when the time is almost up or I’m almost out of moves and I’m not even close to the goal, I feel like just throwing up my hands — I mean, why bother if it’s clear I won’t be able to make it? The other night, I found myself thinking the same thing in terms of my life (I get kind of melancholy at night…). There’s SO much I want to do and accomplish in my lifetime, yet here I am roughly a third of the way through (if I’m lucky) and I’ve barely even begun. I feel like so much of my time has been spent on nothing. Seriously. NOTHING. But in this game, I don’t get another chance. This is it. I can’t wait out the last 30 seconds and look forward to a fresh start tomorrow. Today is all I have.

I wish I could say that motivates me to stand up, shake off the chains and start my life fresh as soon as I stand up from this keyboard. But it won’t. Save for a few deviations, I’ll go about my day much like usual. As battered and constrictive as it is, I still rely on my armor to some degree. I’m shedding pieces bit by bit, but taking it off all at once before I’m ready could destroy me. So I wait. And I try to be patient. And I do my best. And I try to love myself through the process.


One thought on “Marching to a different drum

  1. I would venture to say that if you look a little harder, or more objectively, you might find that you have accomplished quite a lot to be proud of in your life– partly through your influence on other people. People you may be close to, or even people you’ve only brushed past. People– adults or children– whom you have taught, helped, smiled at…

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