This, in general, will not be new to people who know me. There may be new details but not much else. What was new to me was the bone-deep realization.
I hate it when I wake up at 1 a.m. with a massive realization, a hit the wall, epic fail, stop you in your tracks realization.
This all started because Holley Gerth in You're Already Amazing and Evan Sanders of The Better Man Project both
challenged me to discover what I'm drawn to and in the end who I'm
supposed to be. I've been pondering what God wants me to be. I thought I knew. I've felt like I've fallen short or missed the mark or something. I feel like I've been wandering in the dark with only flashes of enlightenment. I hit the wall. I was wrong for all my life.
Last week, I woke up on Wednesday morning, at 1 a.m. and it hit me:
I believed God wanted me to be a wife and mother. I believed with all my heart.
It's something I believed my whole life. I geared everything toward that end. I didn't give in to my boyfriends pushing to go further. With each one, we were already going further than I wanted, but I didn't know how to say 'no' without risking losing him. Except I managed to say 'no' to giving him the one thing I believed deeply only my husband should have. A couple of my boyfriends even proposed. I said, 'yes' to one. No one knew. We kept it secret. I still wouldn't give him what only a husband should have. He got cold feet temporarily, recovered, and I got cold feet permanently. I couldn't give to anyone else what I thought belonged only to the man I married because God wanted me to be a wife and mother, in that order, not the other way around.
My parents wanted me to go into engineering because that's where the money is. It set me up to fail on an epic scale. I don't just turn numbers around. I turn 6 and 9 upside down. I will say the number out loud while I write it and still write a completely different number. It's bad enough when only a single digit is involved. Do that when writing out a four or five digit number. I don't simply switch the digits; I write completely different numbers. I have to remind myself that 3 and cursive E go in opposite directions, while 5 and s really do turn the same way and the same with 2 and z. I have to remind myself that the cursive Z and 2 look similar but 2 really doesn't have a tail on it. And this is the child who wasn't given any choice but to enroll in college as an engineering major.
I found my backbone, a little bit, and changed it to home economics, but was met with opposition, so I changed it to computer engineering. I proceeded to take classes from every department at the college except automotive and art, only because it didn't occur to me to take an automotive class, and I didn't want to sketch naked people and that was a part of Art 101. I did learn to change oil, filters, windshield wipers, and tires. I also took a calligraphy class from Parks and Rec. I considered cooking and sewing to be my art. I wanted to be well rounded because I was going to be a wife and mother. I wanted to be able to encourage my children in whatever they wanted to pursue.
Over the years, I took classes in finances, accounting, psychology, sociology, English, French, Spanish, chemistry, college algebra, typing, gourmet cooking, sewing, real estate, ice skating, yoga, communication, and a variety of others. During that time, I also worked in Yellowstone for a summer, served a mission in Thailand, lived in Europe for a summer, worked at a variety of jobs, including for the airlines. By the time I graduated with my two-year degree, I was in my 30s, and I'd acquired several certificates of completion in other programs like travel agency and sign language interpreter. If I could have graduated on credit hours, I would have had a Bachelors. However, they weren't all in one program, so it was only a two-year degree.
All of it, every last thing was done with the thought in mind that I wanted to be a well-rounded wife and mother. I wanted to give to my husband and children someone who was willing to learn almost anything to become a better person, to bring as much as I could to the table to make life richer, fuller, happier.
I'm over 50 now. There is no husband. No children. All I ever wanted or dreamed about. And I wonder what God intended me to be, and how did I miss hearing the message because it wasn't what I wanted, to be a wife and mother.
I don't have enough skills in any one area to support myself in a gainful profession. It's my own fault because I focused my attention on the dream of being a good wife and mother someday instead of figuring out a way to support myself.
I'm also ashamed to say that to me they were mutually exclusive. I wanted to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. I also feared I'd miss the opportunity if I became involved in a career. I'm single-minded as a way of battling OCD and other problems with being easily distracted. I know this about myself. I understood choosing one would exclude the other in my mind. I pursued what I wanted most.
Only in the last few years have I discovered I'm also a storyteller. I have been all my life. It's really all I know.
So, if you wonder why I write romance, it's what I know.