The Defiance of What Used to Be Mine

If I have a girl crush, it’s most definitely Sara Bareilles. I sang her love melody “I Choose You” at our wedding reception. Her “Little Black Dress” tour was one of the most memorable nights with my childhood best friends. Not only am I 100% positive we would be gal pals, but I imagine she’d fit right in with my extended female family too. Nothing solidifies that more than this song.

“She Used to Be Mine” popped up on Pandora last night (via the Sara Bareilles channel, obviously). It’s been awhile since I’ve heard it, but it’s soul connection is no less powerful. I listened another two times, allowed a moment to let the tears fall, and went to sleep with the lyrics bouncing through my brain. Before passing out, I sent it to two friends whose lives lately remind me of The Waitress, the song’s namesake. These friends had the same reaction…unexplainable tears. It’s not easy to articulate why this song guts you. But it does…every time.

It may be that none of us end up where we thought we’d land. Or the place is right, but the view is so very different than we thought it would be. There’s so much compromise, loss, and letting go to life. No matter how content you are with the skin you’re now in, you gave up something, or some things, to get there. It’s likely “life slipped in through a back door” and rewrote the plan you so carefully constructed. The sacrifice is necessary, and in many cases, the only way to progress, but it’s a sacrifice nonetheless.

I think the song also gets me because I viscerally remember those feelings of utter disbelief at how I got here, the desperation of what to do now, and the desire to just back up. If I could only “rewrite an ending or two.” Inevitably, in the process of finding myself there, I made so many allowances for the person I had to be to get to that place that I no longer recognized myself.

Mirrors are dangerous places when you don’t recognize your own reflection.

The inevitable pain of living can make us “scared of the life that’s inside” us. It certainly has for me. I remember that girl who was told I’d be the first female President. The young woman who reluctantly started a business that quickly became her life force and, at times, her life line. The adult who fell in love with a soldier seven years her junior and left her whole life to start a new one. In between those moments of power were long periods of disbelief, desperation, and desire. I had to “fight just a little” or, more often, a lot to crawl my way back to what used to be mine, knowing that, this time, she would be more weary and worn.

I am sometimes jealous of my husband’s chosen profession. The military takes all the guess work out of life, and all the choice too. You go where you’re told, when you’re told, and even if you’re asked instead of told, you still go, because really that’s an order masquerading as a request. There’s simplicity in that system. The defiance for me is finding myself in that system. Figuring out where she is in a world that doesn’t want my opinion and expects my acquiescence. I used to be a woman who was responsible for every aspect of my life. I decided. I chose. I sacrificed. And then I woke up in a world that I can’t entirely believe, desperate to find my footing, and desiring just a little more time to figure it out.

She used to be mine. But, she also used to be alone. And exhausted from the responsibility of doing it all herself. I wouldn’t trade finding myself here for anything, and the she that is now is “growing stronger each day.” There will be “fire in her eyes” again. Until then, I have Sara.