April 24, 2014

My Mid-Life Revolution. ~ Susan Duesbery


I feel a revolution taking place inside of me.

It is violent. It is powerful. It is transformative.

The voices of my forgotten, disempowered and disenfranchised selves are rising to a crescendo—and they are pissed.

This uprising has been taking place for several years now, at the borders of my awareness; small skirmishes and explosive confrontations with the tyrannical ruling party in my psyche; private meetings of the disgruntled behind the doors of my conditioned ways of being; and posters and leaflets read by the parts of me I’ve successfully denied a voice in my day-to-day life.

For a very long time I’ve done a darn good job of keeping this revolution at bay. I put up barricades, imposed a curfew and even built a Berlin-style wall to ensure that my abandoned selves (the daring, independent, confident, carefree, outspoken and risk-taking ones) don’t disrupt the order of things.

For much of the past 40-plus years, I’ve thrown myself behind my demanding, taskmaster of a dictator, who stated that I should be a pleaser, an achiever and an appeaser—putting others’ needs before my own, always feeling like what I accomplish is never enough and silencing my voice to not bring on the disapproval of others.

At mid-life, my abandoned and rejected selves have finally decided they will no longer be forced into the basement of my existence.

The revolution has begun.

Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t quell this deep desire within me to change, be authentic and speak and live my truth. No matter how much disruption and turmoil this revolt causes in my life, there is no going back now—if I did, I would surely die. I know this with every cell in my body.

The Tsar’s palace is burning to the ground. There are torches and pitchforks at my door. I must dethrone my false self—society’s nice, ever-achieving, good little girl—or be set on fire.

It would be dishonest if I didn’t confess that this self-imposed autocratic manifesto has served me well. I have enjoyed much of my life with family and friends in comfort, ease and love. In many, many ways I feel very blessed to have lived the life I’ve lived.

From the outside, this revolt may seem shocking, especially to those who have allowed all of their selves to have a voice throughout their lives; or to those who haven’t yet reached mid-life and questioned, “What now? Who do I want to be going forward? How do I want to live this life?

However, as I seek out others who have felt this revolution of their authentic self calling them to live a more democratic existence, I am assured that this is the only way for me to go towards my future—for both myself and those I care deeply about. Although intended to hurt no one, I know that actions based in inauthenticity and falsehood end up hurting everyone.

I see now that I can give my forgotten selves a voice, join the revolution and come through it whole, at peace. Although his revolution feels tumultuous and scarily, heart-wrenchingly hard, I choose to allow it, even welcome it.

I want to live in freedom. I want to own my power. I want to speak and live my truth. I want to live enthusiastically, with a wide-open heart.

It’s interesting that the word coeur in French means “heart” and is also the root word for “courage”. Thus, quite literally, courage means to have heart. I feel this in my bones.

Courage will get me there, to a state of balanced governance—even when the pleas to return to my old ways and the pressures to conform are shouting.

In the meantime, I’m looking to the revolutionaries who have walked this path before me and reading about their journeys, I’m talking to friends and confidants to build my support network and gain new perspectives, and I’m forming a vision for my life in the new order.

Above all, I’m honoring this time by not giving up on myself. I’m cultivating courage by taking small and large action steps, despite my fear.

And I’m living my life with joy.

I decree that the wisdom of my heart is my new leader; and I will back this leader any day.


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Editorial Apprentice: Lauren Savory / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Nikki Hoffman / Flickr

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