When my husband, Eric, and I moved to Nashville, it was clear why I was here:
→ To support the rising Nashville musician I knew he was going to become.
→ To finish school & get a job (as a stenographer, aka court reporter).
→ Take care of our two huskies
→ Make our house into a home
→ And to someday have a baby or two.
Then everything changed.
I was miserable.
Working towards a degree I truly hated. Lonely as I had no friends, no family, and my husband was working his tail off; out of town two days a week and in Nashville all the rest, making waves and changing tides.
Not to mention I was in a new land, unfamiliar with it’s heartbeat.
I was tired of being miserable. So I did it – I quit school. I started working at an animal shelter which quickly led me to become the Assistant Director, overseeing the animals being adopted.
I was ecstatic!
This was my dream job. Heck, some nights Eric had to call me and ask if I was ever coming home! I sure was walking on my own shadow.
Then in October of 2015, we made the decision to try for our current little boy and within a few weeks, we found out we were pregnant.
(well that escalated quickly)
My new little man was born in June of 2016. I had every intention of going back to work but one day, I off-handedly said something to Eric about staying at home and he surprised the daylights out of me!
“If you think we can afford it, I think you should do it.”
I. was. SHOCKED.
I thought it wasn’t possible…
I thought it would stress him out too much…
I thought there was no way my dream of not having to work could ever come true…
And it just did!
I was such a happy momma. I still am.
But there came a point (and I couldn’t exactly tell you when) but I felt like I was wasting my time.
Can you imagine how that must feel?
Can you imagine what it was like to admit it?
…that having a baby and feeling like staying at home, taking care of this sweet child and taking care of the house was a waste of time? Was a waste of existence?
That I was taking up space in this world of movers and shakers?
Looking at it from an outsider’s point of view, that has to be the saddest thing I’ve heard. Someone responsible for raising an innocent, someone responsible for making sure this child becomes someone respectful, kind, loving, and a warrior in a land of chaos, that someone should never feel like they are wasting their time. They shouldn’t feel like they have no purpose.
So why did I?
I was no longer walking on my own shadow. Actually, I don’t think I was even standing on it. My husband was amplifying his and at some point, I snuck behind him, lined myself up and matched my shadow to his. (All without ever having realized it happened.)
Well, he is bigger than me (lol), his life is broader than mine, so my shadow disappeared in his. I disappeared.
The reality? You only get one shadow.
→ But what is the point of that?
→ What does that mean?
→ And what is a shadow?
Well, It’s not just a dark area or shape produced by someone or something, standing in front of light. It’s also an action; to follow or observe closely or sometimes in secret. We say people live in other people’s shadow. Usually referring to the fact someone isn’t as great or powerful or worthy as someone else and so anything you do is just blocked out by the “greater person’s” shadow, the mark they “leave behind”.
People want to be seen, to not be hidden inside of someone else’s work. They want to be seen and to cast their own shadow.
Your shadow tells the world who you are and where you’ve been. So what was clear was that I would get nowhere living and hiding inside a shadow that was not my own.
Like Angela Cartwright said, “My shadow in my art is one way I trace who I was and where I have been. My shadow and I have been on a journey for quite a while now!”
So while you can stand IN someone’s shadow, you cannot stand ON their shadow. Nor would you want to. We need to find ourselves. We need to BE ourselves.
To start finding myself, my purpose and what life I’m supposed to be living, I need to remember to stand and walk on my own shadow and no one else’s. It’s a reminder of who I was and where I have been. It moves and grows and changes with me. So while I may be lost, my shadow is lost with me. And together, as many times before, we will find where we are next to travel.
Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow – Aesop
Photo Cred: xperimentiv.wordpress.com