Over the weekend I made it down to the Chase Park Plaza, one of my favorite buildings in St. Louis, to catch the movie I have been longing to see - Revolutionary Road. Some friends and I met up at SubZero Vodka bar to catch a few drinks and dinner before the movie began. The conversation had was enlightening; each of us sat around a table drinking our martinis and venting about the frustrations in life - work, money (or lack there of), strains, pressures, relationships (or again, lack there of ...) - And yet somewhere in the emotions of the dialogue there was a peacefulness. Each of us was feeling the same way and admitting it out loud for a change. I did not see the irony in this moment, until later, after the movie had ended, we had all went home, and the morning light would bring my ‘revolutionary road’ to focus.
Sunday morning, I got up, threw on some workout pants under my black nightie, and some socks to keep my tootsies warm. It was one of those mornings that you look in the mirror and think, I have some work to do ... yet, my hair never looked better. I walked around the house in a daze surveying the work to be done before the real estate agent was to bring yet another round of strangers into my home. After the beds where made, and the floors vacuumed, I made my way into the kitchen to tackle the dishes before grabbing my morning shower. It was there, between the floors and the shower, where I was overcome with emotion.
April said it in the movie, “I don’t want to be second rate.” And here I am feeling every syllable of the word. Look at me! Nearing the age of thirty, single mother, struggling to find her direction and purpose and knowing that right now in this moment I am feeling exactly as those characters were ... second rate. Lost. Confused. Needing more. Wanting more. And asking myself the tag line: How do you break free without breaking apart?
For the next twenty minutes or so I threw myself a pity party. It was a good party too; always one to be a good hostess I am! I took a shower and sat on the bed. Water dripped down into my hands; sourcing from both my eyes and hair. I asked myself the question: Am I breaking apart? I looked up, into the mirror and began to laugh. My laughter answered the question: You break free without breaking apart by moments like these! Moments like at the restaurant with your friends, talking about life, discussing where we are and where we are going. We break free by taking chances, by allowing ourselves to cry, by both feeling AND facing the fear inside. We break free by giving more than we think we can give, by taking chances and trying new approaches, by believing in life through joy and despair. We break free by truly being ourselves.
The next time you are sitting at a table with those whom you love, who you share with, who you laugh with … think … in those moments you are breaking out. You are reaching out. You are learning more than that moment can appreciate. Breaking free, without breaking apart, is simply done with the support of both the laughter and the tears; and with the sharing of fears of those who are closest to you. Lean on them when you feel you need strength, trust in them to listen to your uncertainties, and believe in them, and yourself, to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and make your break to be you. And each morning, when you wake, give yourself a chance to laugh … today you will break if want – make it a clean one, with a side of laughter and promise of hope.