Project Roaming Rachel
Why am the way I am…
I’m 32 now though mentally I feel much younger. Emotionally I’ve lived such a long life already but know it is a short length on this earth. I’ve gone through so many changes through my life that most from my youth wouldn’t recognize me this day. I sort of feel as though I’ve morphed into many different Rachel’s throughout the years. There is a crisis facing me all the time, but somehow I survive. I often wonder why am I so blessed? I curse like a sailor. I foul up all the time as a parent. I stumble within my days with decisions I make, things that haunt my mind…I am a terrible Christian, yet I am still blessed.
I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful girls, I have a beautiful home and my bills are paid every month. I have physical limitations but I’m not fighting cancer, or some life threatening illness at this time in my life. I see these as all blessings being stowed upon me from a higher power, God. Is it true that my simple belief in him allows these good things to come my way? I wonder why I am worthy sometimes of the goodness in my life. That is one reason why I think God is absolutely awesome! To give me what I have and to bring me this far in my life and allow me the ability to live a good life, what an awesome God!
I’ve done a lot of things that I am ashamed of still today. The guilt from those things still lingers in my heart and I think it will always be attached to my soul. Those things certainly shaped me into a part of who I am today, there is no doubt that life changes you. It can make you hard, cold, bitter, loving, giving, selfish, and peaceful. I bet if I were to sit and think about all the different Rachel’s I’ve been through the years I’ve been every single one of those I just listed. I believe pieces of those different Rachel’s still reside in me somewhere and venture to the surface as a survival mechanism when I need to survive.
I’m thankful for what I have had. I’m thankful for what I have now. I know I’d be thankful for whatever I receive in the future. I do try to see the good over the bad in every situation…there was a point in my life when I didn’t do that. Those days were tough…those days made me bitter, cold, and broken for a long time.
It began when my dad was diagnosed with cancer in my high school years. I tried to see the good in that situation but I failed. How could I see good coming from my dad dying? What child could do that during teenage years, or at any age even? I thought it was so unfair that he was going to die and not know so much of my future. I was so angry and bitter that I basically gave up on my own future. I thought what was the point of me doing what I had dreamed of doing if he wasn’t going to be there to share in the thrills and success of me? For that I lost many years of my life that could have been a lot better then they were.
I dropped out of high school shortly after he died in March of 1996. It took me quite a while to fix that major error in my life. That error was made because I became the bitter, who gives a shit Rachel. I quit writing my poetry for a while too. I basically went into survival mode. How was I going to survive with my dad gone? How was I going to be that Rachel? How could I go through life being she? It took me five years to finally figure that out. Over those five years I dabbled in drugs, I drank my sorrow away, and I made some of the worst mistakes in my life.
Then one day I knew how to be the Rachel whose dad died her senior year. I finally figure out that the hole I was trying to fill would NEVER be filled again. I figured out that I had to just learn to live with that piece of me gone. I began to write again. I began to write myself out of the pit I dug myself into. I finally figured out that being angry and bitter wasn’t going to bring him back no more then it was making my life easier. I left the biggest mistake in my life behind and divorce papers would follow one day. I left the drugs and alcohol. I fled my hometown in search of who I needed to be. I was on a journey to figure out how to be this “new Rachel”.
I started to realize that I could have not had any time with him as a dad. I realized how lucky I truly was to have him for as long as I did. I started to appreciate things I had not thought about. I took time to forgive people, I took time to forgive myself, and I took time to start the healing process and to find God again. It was an interesting journey that I still travel today. I still search for a better way to be me. I want to perfect this project of mine I call Roaming Rachel. My feet are planted but my soul searches every day.
Through the journey I severed ties with many people, some included family. Sometimes in life you just have to let the baggage go. Forgive, don’t forget and free your soul of those obstacles. It wasn’t easy to do in any case. It hurt like hell. At times it still hurts like hell to think back to what was, and now see what things are. I always have to constantly tell myself that those images I think back on are an illusion, and they are there to tempt me back to a life I was miserable in. The fact remains that the illusion is something I WISH was there but it isn’t.
For the most part my hometown is like a mirage in the middle of the dessert. Picture this…
I’m out there in the dessert searching for water; I need water so my mind tells me that the water just lies ahead a few feet when in reality it doesn’t exist. It is the same sand I walk on in this hot dessert. I only want the water so badly that my mind creates the illusion of it existing to sooth the pain of the thirst.
My hometown is that for me! I want to be in a place where I have roots. I want family connections. I need family. I want to good peaceful fun times with family and friends. I want to have the white picket fence there with my kids being there with cousins. My mind creates this illusion but it isn’t like that…it wouldn’t be like that one bit. Picture this…
There I am in my hometown. Old friends show up. Drugs are everywhere within a phone call I could get any drug of my choice. Jobs are nowhere to be found. My family is full of drama and baggage that would drive me to that world again…before I know it I’m smoking weed, drinking every weekend, living check to check barely making it. I’d be hanging out at the grave site with my Aunt Eve driving myself crazy talking to her tombstone…I’d be seeing dad everywhere I’d go and that would drive me deeper into drugs and alcohol. Yeah I’d have some good times in all that mess but in the long run it would kill me physically, mentally and spiritually along with my marriage, and my children.
That place is just that to me now….a mirage. Visits are nice but to live there…NEVER, NEVER again. I love myself more then that and anyone who loves me would understand that and urge me to not return there.
I’m facing loss of my father in law very soon. He is dying of pancreatic cancer. I’ve been with his son for 11 years and I’ve grown very close to him. I look at him as my own dad. I love the man. The doctor’s say he only as a few weeks left. I am trying to deal with his death in a better way then I did my own dads. I keep reminding myself how lucky I have been to have him in my life, in my daughter’s lives. I keep trying to see the good in this terrible loss. It’s tough. It is still unfair. I just have to try to stay the Rachel I’ve become this day…not become one of the Rachel’s I’ve left behind after this is all said and done.
In this crisis I face I have this mirage again returning in my mind of my hometown and I must continue to remind myself that it is just that A MIRAGE! I don’t know why I envision a place that doesn’t exist…I appreciate my hometown and the people there I have ties too. They helped shape me in some way or another to be the woman I am now. For that I am grateful even in the bad things that have happened. Today I know those things happened in order to enrich me now.
So this project Roaming Rachel will continue and I will work everyday to perfect it until it will be my time to leave this earth, I will welcome the old and new people into my life and remember that in one way they will shape me. It will be my job to not allow it to shape me in ways that will bring bitterness, selfishness, anger, or hate. That is the ultimate test of life…to live life leaving all the negative stuff at the wayside. I thank God everyday for his helping hand in this project.
I give all I am to the world and walk away with more pieces of myself that were lost but eventually found. Life is why I am the way I am.