Monday, May 07, 2007

What the Heart Knows

I've made some confessions on this blog before, and they were scary. But I did them, and honestly, I felt better for the support of knowing I wasn't alone. And so, today, I have another one:

I envy people with happy families.

I look at parents walking hand-in-hand with their little ones, playing in the park, snuggling together, giggling and chasing and living a life together. I look at husband and wife sharing a smile as they lean in to hold each other as they stroll down the street. I look at relationships forged through good times and bad, through love, through family.

And I want that.

I want it all, and it hurts me to want it so badly. Earlier tonight, as I was talking to my mom, I told her that I sometimes wish I didn't feel things so strongly. I weep with how badly I want that future for myself - to be a wife and a mother and somehow complete because I am right where I am supposed to be.

I feel bad, sometimes, for the wanting, especially when it comes in reaction to someone I love. Lady M recently wrote a beautiful post about her family and the life they share together. And I want that kind of life. And I hate myself sometimes for envying that of someone so dear to me. Don't get me wrong - I don't for a moment begrudge her her own joy. I just wonder: When will I get to have that happiness too?

J. believes that you shouldn't feel bad for your thoughts and emotions, as long as your actions are honorable. But I'm not convinced. If someone wishes me harm, shouldn't he/she feel guilty for that, even if he/she isn't actively seeking to harm me? So if I envy someone's situation, don't I feel bad for that envy, even if I'm trying not to interfere with it? I feel guilty because I can't be happy for others without wanting that happiness for myself.

Mom says the key is to realize that the desire is understandable and acceptable. I just need to acknowledge that I want that family in my own form - whatever form is best for me in my own life and situation. She also says she feels it on its way for me, even if I don't. She told me that she can see just how huge the strides I've made in the last six months really are, and that she thinks I'm closer to that future than I fear.

"It's so hard for me," I said, "because I want it so badly, and yet I know I'm not ready for it yet. So instead of bemoaning the fact that it hasn't come yet, I have to acknowledge that even if it were here, I'm not in the position to accept it." Wanting, as I told her, doesn't mean I should have.

So what do I do in the meantime, while I wait for this family I want so desperately? I hang out with wonderful Aussies who put up with me and my sappiness. I finish school and get my life organized (as much as possible). I dance, and I blog, and I spend time with friends. Mostly, I live life, and prepare myself as best I can, so that when I meet that man and we meet our true love I can give them all of myself, just as they deserve.

But until then, sometimes, I cry with the wanting.



Amanda said...

You have a better attitude than me. Not to justify envy. That whole grass is greener thing is never any good, I should know. We are where we are meant to be, not where they are. Still, I don't have to like it. Well, I should, but I don't. I was just thinking about that happy family thing as I was reading my cousins myspace. I was cringing and wringing my hands inside. I thought to myself; I don't want to know this. I don't want to know that these are the people she hangs out with. I just want to be the grown up person I am supposed to be, who has too many responsibilities to check myspace everyday!! Little kids to chase around or something!! Then I thought...this will be my kids, doing and saying things I cannot begin to fathom, things I don't think them capable of. So, ya know, maybe the grass isn't greener there after all.
Even so, I would like a husband very much, however lame that makes me, and I will definitely say a little prayer for yours.
(Of course, you know if you get one before me I am going to have to judge you with bitter envy) :p

Lady M said...

Lovely as usual, dear.

The time will come, when you will be ready, and new loves will come into your life.

Anonymous said...

Oh lovey.. I'm with you. There is so much I want RIGHT THIS SECOND, I want to fast forward a few years some days and just have it all. But you're right - even if it were all to be handed to us on a silver plate right now, it's not meant to happen that way.

You're doing everything right, enjoying the things that are going on in the moment. I think we'll keep on trudging along just fine, you and I. A little envy (or wishful thinking as I like to call it) never hurt anyone. :)

Anonymous said...

great post. but, your posts always are :)

if it makes you feel better..those holdy-hand "perfect" couples you see? usually aren't perfect. they just look it to you.

Kilgore Trout said...

The part that caught my attention was your concern that you feel too much. I'm under the impression that your at least consistently feeling everything. I have the problem of being very non-emotional 95% of the time. We can talk about the most volatile topics and I'll never change pace. But a pretty girl so much as gives me a second glance and I'm a helpless fool. I'm just not used to having much in the way of emotions, I never seem to be able to handle them appropriately.

But everyone else wants to talk about envy so heres my take.

Your envious of those with families, I'm envious of you. Your an intelligent and attractive person living in a big fun city, finishing college, having a good time with someone you really like and are soon going to be entering a world of possibilities. And someday you will have an amazing family and we will read all about it and see pictures of the little ones as the grow up. You have ambition, as long as you have that the world is yours.

That's why I'm envious.

Dee said...

Knowing what you want is not a bad thing. I have no doubt that you will get there some day. I would guess that many of those "perfect" families you see also envy the life you have.

Teacha said...

i understand the feeling completely. I often feel like this as well. What is the hardest for me, is going to church and seeing all the families together. It makes you feel excluded. But I try to remember God has something great in store for me!

Unknown said...

Please do not feel bad for the feelings that you have. They are real and they are yours and remember mothers sometimes do know best. Fall into the love of your mother and the faith and hope and insight that she has into your wonderful future.
The universe holds something truly marvolous for you.

Anonymous said...

This sounds so trite, but I really believe that when you are truly ready, the husband and the children will fall into place in your life. When I stopped worrying about finding a man and worked on being happy with myself, the perfect man for me practically fell into my lap. And then my daughter came along at just the right time, as well.

Hang in there... You'll know when it's right. And don't you dare begrudge yourself your feelings; you're entitled to them!

Anonymous said...

I can relate to many of your confessions, and this is one of them. While I don't consider myself desperate anymore (a good friend cleared me up on that one), it is still something that I want. Soon. 'Cause I'm 30.
One of my greatest fears is dying alone in a nursing home with no one to visit and care about me.

Aimee said...

We are so on the same page today. I'm overcome with want and need and confusion as to why I don't have it.

My emotions about it are controlling me. I'm going to have to keep re-reading this post for inspiration.

I just love your blog. ::heart::

nutmeg said...

Just promise me to read this post EVERY DAY when you have four crazy kids and a nine year old husband, when your baby won't sleep through the night, when your toddler refuses to poop anywhere but on the toilet SEAT, when you'd rather eat cheerios from between the couch cushions than cook another meal, and when you can't remember what your tummy looked like flat. Carpe Diem, girl!

Amanda said...

I think to not envy, to not yearn, that would be bad. Seeing a reflection in someone's life that you want in your own future is natural. You are simply gathering the inspirational ingredients for the feast you have ahead of you.

Your twenties are such a time of discovery, transitioning from child/dependent to head of your own household. That' huge, it's only natural that you'd want to infuse it with family, parenting, loving and on and on. Youare wise to know you're not yet ready, but listen to your mom. It is coming.

Anonymous said...

It will happen when it happens. Please don't waste energy on feeling sad because it hasn't happened yet. Life is too short for that.

Lara said...

i'm getting so tardy with my replies...

amanda - i'm less petty about it than i used to be, which is good i think. i'm more quick now to acknowledge that this is something i want to do with my life. i just want to get to it because, in part because everything for now seems like just killing time until i get there. but really, it's not killing time - it's preparing. and that makes it easier to handle.

lady m - thanks, lady. i know the time will come. deep down, i really do know.

aly - "wishful thinking" definitely makes it sound less petty. it'll happen for us both when we're ready. :)

ali - oh, i know it. i've discovered over the past year or so that you can never really know what a relationship is like unless you're in it. when J. and i broke up, some people were totally shocked, because they thought we had such a perfect relationship. you just never know from the outside.

kilgore trout - i often appreciate my emotion, actually. it means i feel things deeply, and when those "things" are positive, i'm so completely happy. and i really am trying to appreciate my young, 20-something status while i have it. jitta and i have fun with that. :)

dee - yep, no perfection anywhere. just imperfect happiness. that's really all i want. and really, i have that already. it's just not the kind that is my ultimate goal. but i'll get there sooner than i think, i bet.

proverbs16three - yeah, i try to remind myself that this time is a time of preparation, and God will lead me to the right place when my preparing is complete. when i'm ready, that's when i'll be there, and not before.

tori - thanks, dear. mothers are amazing sometimes, so i'm trying hard to listen to the wisdom of my own. i'm looking forward to my future.

tense teacher - yes, when i'm ready, i'll find them waiting. i just want to be ready now, damnit! :-P

betsy - yeah, not having a family is one of my greatest fears. i've always felt it was my one true calling, and if i couldn't fulfill that, i would feel useless in the world.

aimee - awwww, so sweet. well, if this post helps in any way, keep reading. i'm going to have to keep reading all these encouraging comments. :)

nutmeg - i am certainly living the carpe diem, but i honestly believe that the screaming kids and poopy diapers and temper tantrums and adolescent attitudes are my calling in life. and i look forward to both the challenges and the joys equally.

amanda - you are so encouraging, and i love that about your comments. i am using this time to prepare, to gather strength, to surround myself with the certainty of my place in the world so that when i am living it, i can support myself through the struggles. it is, as i often forget, a good time for me.

nicholas - honestly, i usually don't. it just hits me harder some days than others. usually, as i said to amanda, i'm using this time to prepare myself for the years ahead. and i think that's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

As I read this I remembered when you were 6 and you had repeatedly wished you were 9 like your sister. I tried then to have a discussion about being happy wherever you are in life. It started something like, "if you keep wishing to be 3 years older you'll miss out on the fun of being 6". It went downhill from there into rambling about missing out on life and losing those 3 years...or something. You just looked at me and said, "huh?". I gave up and said, "be six". You went out to play. Thank goodness you understood more this time. One last bit for that you've admitted you're not ready, don't dwell on that for another second. Believe that every day you are achieving "ready" status and your own happiness is one day closer. I love you.

Lara said...

mom - well, i'm glad i got more out of it this time, too. i'm trying to keep it all in mind, and honestly, it usually works. just sometimes i forget, and i long. :)