Choosing To Be Me

Choosing to Be Me is a memoir sharing what has happened in my life that first took my power away and then second, allowed me to find it again in my mid 40’s. 

Read about how I have stepped into my own power, figured out how to do my own thing my own way, and yes, stopped worrying so much about what others think!

I’ll be posting excerpts of the memoir as I write them. Check back here often to read more about my life before the book is published.

To be notified when I update the page and ultimately when the book is published, sign up below! I won’t be selling anything through this email list except my book! Promise!

Thanks for joining me!

Laura

Excerpts From Choosing to Be Me

Shopping Lists

May 15, 2021

It is inevitable, I make a list of the things I need to get at the store because I don’t want to forget anything but then I leave the list at home. Have you done that? I’m sure you have. Everybody does that. If I make the list on my smartphone, I forget my phone. It doesn’t matter where I put the list, electronic or not, I forget it. I haven’t yet figured out what’s wrong with my brain. Maybe it doesn’t like lists. Maybe I’m just trying to sabotage myself. Maybe I don’t really want to use the list anyway. Maybe I like the stress of shopping and trying to remember everything I need to buy. Maybe I should just give up and stop making lists.


The lists that I make and forget to bring to the store remind me of my life in many ways. My parents in their infinite, well-meaning wisdom, gave me the list of things I was supposed to do, be, or have in this lifetime and it’s like I forgot to look at it. (I’ve done that too with my shopping list. I bring it to the store and then never refer back to it.) The list included my teaching degree, a husband, a couple of kids, a nice house, a car or 2 in the driveway, maybe some pets, and a yearly family vacation. I could retire once I was eligible and spend the rest of my life waiting to die. That was my shopping list. That was how I was to escape life unscathed, without forgetting anything, without making mistakes, or causing a stir. If I just ticked off those boxes along my path through life, all would be well. The goal was to die intact, without bruises, bumps, or scrapes. The goal was not to rip the paper or fold it in half. The goal was to go out just as shiny-looking as when I came in. The goal was to keep the paper as crisp and clean as I could. That goal, just like making a shopping list I won’t use, became a useless waste of time that I could never get back.

 

***

 

I must have picked up somebody else’s list because it wasn’t mine. I don’t use that brand of toothpaste. I don’t need baby diapers or formula. I don’t have a dog. Why do I need to get dog food? Whose list is this and why did they give it to me anyway?


That’s how I felt for years as I picked up the things on this list that weren’t mine. I zigzagged through the store looking for things I thought I needed because that’s what the list told me I was supposed to get. From one end of the store to the other, crashing into things, bumping into people, and knocking things over. I tried to push the cart straight. I tried to avoid crashing into things, but it was like the cart was possessed. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t find my way through the store without causing problems for others. I just couldn’t.


Eventually, I just gave up and walked out. Apologizing was a wasted effort too. Nobody would understand why I couldn’t just go aisle to aisle calmly grabbing what I needed as I went. Nobody would understand the pain of passing up the things that I wanted to get so that I had room for the things that were on the list I had in my hand instead. Why don’t they understand? Why don’t they let me get the things I want to get? Why do I have to follow this list? Who made up that rule? How come I don’t have any say in what’s on this list? What happened to my power? Why am I here?

 

***

 

The list was in control, not me. There was no ability to window shop or pick up things just for fun. I had to stick with the list. I must stick with that list because that’s what everybody does. Everybody has the same list and deviating from it is wrong. Don’t be like those people over there, they didn’t follow the list, and look what happened to them. They don’t own houses. They dress funny. They don’t act like us. They don’t live like us. They don’t have jobs like we do. How come they aren’t married? Why would anybody want to live like that? They will go to hell for that, anyway. God says we’re supposed to live a certain way. You don’t want to go to hell, do you?


The consequence of not following the list was burning in hell. It didn’t matter if life was miserable, as long as I didn’t burn in hell. The goal seemed to be keeping God happy. The goal was to follow the list that God had created in order to appease him. So that was life, was it? The point of being human was to come to Earth and appease God by living a so-called perfect life as prescribed by him. Then, when we failed at it or screwed it up in some way, he would make us rot in hell as punishment for not being a perfect human.


Every Sunday we would go and beg forgiveness of this God. Every Sunday we would apologize for being human. Every Sunday we would promise to do better and every Sunday by the time we were in the parking lot, we had erred once again. There was no living up to this expectation. The list was a trap, meant to hold us hostage and keep us in fear of punishment when really it was life that had become the punishment. I began to understand that it was the list needed to burn in hell, not the humans that tried to follow it.