We visit, once again, Becky the Blogger, our "How To Live With A Blogger" heroine. Last month, Becky turned to us with her long suffering indecision as to whether or not to succumb to the suburbs. Here's what we told her, as she confided, "When You're Having Problems in the Suburbs...."
Becky was having trouble falling asleep.
Strangely, she was also having trouble waking up.
She couldn't go to bed, yet she couldn't get out of it, either.
Becky was feeling depressed.
Things weren't going well in the playgroups she was attending.
She had missed so much of the "Mommy and Me" gym class that there was talk of suspending her punch card.
Becky felt out of control: she was talking too much at gatherings with the neighborhood women. She was beginning to argue with the other moms at the community pool, sometimes even with the post office workers at the small office in town.
There were problems at the morning cardiopump class, and she didn't know where the next unpleasant situation would occur.
She didn't know what to do to stop all this.
It was starting to affect her home life, her meal planning, her ability to read a book with full concentration, not to mention her sense of well being.
Maybe you feel like Becky.
You're having trouble living where you live, and you don't know how you got yourself in this bind.
It is a confusing time: will things get better? Or will they get worse?
My dear Becky: they can get BETTER.
Here are a few ideas that may help you figure out what is going on, and what to do about it:
1. Figure out where things began to go awry:
Think back. When did the anger and frustration and acting out start? When did you begin to feel and realize that you weren't part of the clan? When did you begin to try too hard? When did you allow it to bother you? Try your best to recreate the early days, recapture who you were before you began to censor yourself. Take some time to think about your life and reflect on the things that have led you away from who you really are.
2. Ask for guidance from someone who looks like they've chosen the Road Less Traveled
You've seen them. The ones that have survived life in the burbs. Watch for the clues: tie dyed shirts, pants that are cut from a different cloth than the rest, earrings larger than a seed pearl. Tune up the radar, you'll spot them. Seek them out, and they'll take you under their wing. They've blazed the suburban trail before, and they've got the map. Come up with a simple list of small changes to bring yourself back: perhaps reintroduce the red bandana around your head that you used to love to wear. Break out the big oyster shell earrings again.
3. Find a new route
With your new off the beaten path friend in arms, you can take on the suburban army messin' with your mind. Create your own map, you don't have to be exactly alike once you decide that for yourself. Choose a new route, one that feels like the way home to you. Not one that carries you further from yourself.
4. Steady as she goes
Once you've chosen and committed to steer true to yourself, stay the course. Lock on to the way to live in the suburbs without giving in to the pressure of being like everyone else for fear you won't be included. Figure out how you are going to make your way back to who you are. Do you still have that Psychedelic Furs CD you'd blare every morning once upon a time? Throw it back in the car. Play it.
5. Keep your eyes on the prize
Look to your new future: brighter and clearer now. You know who you are, and don't be fooled into thinking you must change and fit in to find happiness. Better alone and with yourself, than in the company of many, and not with yourself. (old Spanish proverb) Even though you have chosen to make changes in your life, this doesn't mean that the world around you has made the same choice.
Keep this in mind, and stick to your map.
Update: It's been 28 days since we last chatted with Becky, and gave her our advice.
Here's what Becky has to say now, "Though I didn't let anybody know, I felt really bad about failing at living in the suburbs. After talking to you last month and finding my suburban drop out mentor at the coffee shop, I was able to make up the painful last few years I suffered through. Now I'm winning at life! and feel good about myself again!"
You're welcome, Becky, we are so happy to have been able to help.
In unrelated news: I have a post up for consideration as BlogHer Voice Of The Year. I'd love to be able to read it at BlogHer, it's from my series, "When You Love A Blogger." If you would, please, click here and vote for me. Voting closes in one week. THANK YOU!