New beginnings… and no more orphaned zombie kittens

Ah, September, the first day back at school.  

I've been looking at photos friends post of their kids' first day at a new school, or the empty-nesters posting pictures of their kids' new dorm rooms as they head off to university.  I've always loved this time of year, with all the new beginnings, excitement and anticipation.  It always seems more "New Years"-y to me than January 1st -- the beginning of the new calendar year feels basically the same as the end of the previous one, albeit a bit more hung over, which doesn't really seem like a great way to get started, to me...
Nope, September is and probably always will be the new year for me, even though it's been a couple of decades (really?!? gawd, really...) since I've started a new school year.  It's the new outfit, the new school supplies, the new teachers, the new classmates, the renewed hope that maybe, just maybe, I'll prove myself to not be a total geek this year and not feel like such an outsider (followed quickly by November, by which point I've remembered that no new outfit will ever erase my status as geeky outsider, and try not to think about the months of darkness still to come, but I digress...)  
It's new.  There's hope.  Change.  And big bulky sweaters to hide inside.
And here I am, sitting in our new living room looking out at our little forest grove with smatterings of red and yellow, and I'm thinking about change and hope.  No new outfit (dang, maybe I need a new outfit?), and I now wear my "geeky outsider" badge with pride and appreciation for the strength and beauty of NOT being like everyone else, but I'm still thinking about change and hope, and setting a few new-years-resolution-type dreams down for myself.
Change, of course, has been happening all around me and within me.  It's been rather an eventful couple of years, and the changes have decidedly NOT been as planned on the first day of school two years ago.  It's been a period of loss, endings, heartbreak, disappointment, picking up the scattered and fragmented pieces and attempting to put them... well, not back together in the same way they were (otherwise the gift of the tragedies would be wasted), but in a newer, stronger, wiser form.  The two-year plan had to take a hiatus -- and, honestly, I'm not sure if all the points on that plan will be renewed.  (Although I will admit I cringe when people ask me about where I've been playing recently, etc., and I have to say it hasn't happened -- somehow I still expect myself to do a major life overhaul AND be a multi-tasking superstar all at the same time... sigh...)
It's been a swirling, overwhelming whirlwind for a while, and yet the changes started to move in a more forwardly direction this spring -- some big and obvious stuff, such as Don and I moving into our dream home, but also the more internal and quiet stuff, such as my finally reaching the point where I could admit I deserved a dream home, and put some resources into taking care of my own desires rather than giving them all away to orphaned zombie kittens or something.

I'm still coming to grips with the "I deserve what I desire" concept, and can still be overcome with paroxysms of guilt when sitting on our nice new comfy couch that isn't a threadbare hand-me-down from my parents' first apartment, but it's coming along.  At least I have the couch (and my parents' ancient loveseats are gracing the Orillia dump, because they were so gross that not even the Freecyclers wanted them!). So the changes have been heading toward the upswing in recent months already, paving the way for the glorious new beginnings of September.
And along comes my daily TruthBomb (courtesy of Danielle Laporte) on this, the auspicious first day of school:
Shatter the legacy that's holding you back.
And I breathe deeply.  And wonder if she's been eavesdropping on all my beginning-of-September musings...  This is what all the endings have been about.  This is the gift -- it hasn't just been my heart and soul and relationships that have been shattered in the slammed-shut doors of the last couple of years, it's those nasty ties that I've been wrapping around everything to try and keep the damned doors open.  The doors that I shouldn't have been trying to keep open, because they were wearing me down, eating at my soul, destroying my authentic self.  I'd been sacrificing myself not just for those orphaned zombie kittens, but for everyone and everything that was sucking the life out of me.  Those doors needed to be slammed shut, and those psychic super-strong elastic bands snapped and jettisoned.
Those legacies are strong:  I don't deserve to be taken care of (or to take care of myself).  I have no right to protect myself.  I must put everyone else first or nobody will love me.  If I stand up for myself or take care of myself, everyone will leave.
That is, of course, how life worked for me, and how I survived it when I still needed to be taken care of.  But now I'm forty-(cough!)-something, and that shit no longer works.  Losing myself to try and keep doors from slamming shut has not and will not work any longer.  If looking after myself means a door slams shut, then that door wasn't meant to be open.  
And sure, maybe that means I'll be all alone, but at least I'll be all alone with my authentic self, sitting my oh-so-fit arse on a comfy couch and eating nutritious food washed down with a tasty Rioja while listening to beautiful music and looking at trees, water and art.
So, here's my school-year resolution: to make taking care of my body and soul my top priority (and not feeling guilty about it my second).  To not give in to the soul-suckers' emotional blackmail.  To let slammed doors stay shut, and maybe paint a pretty mosaic on my side of the door, because I like looking at nice things.
Once I get more solidly into this habit, I'm sure the items on my perennial to-do list (Katie Project, novel, music career, orphaned zombie kittens...) will start falling into place, assuming they're still things that nourish my body and soul.  But I'll never have the energy for any of those if I don't first take care of myself.  Yes, be "selfish" and look after my basic needs -- gasp!
It's September.  The first day of a new year.  The trees are starting to burst with beauty.  I will join them.

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