The "Other Girl"…

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    The “Other girl” came to visit me today…

    She came in a suitcase, long packed away in dark corners
    Forgotten but not yet gone.

    With her she bought memories of days past
    Sharp black suits.
    Crisp white shirts.
    The click of high heels coming out of an elevator.
    The swirl of perfume in the air.
    Manicured hands.
    Made up face.
    Red lipstick.

    The girl tells me about her life,
    The travel.
    The job.
    The money.
    Business lunches.
    Parties.
    Client meetings.

    How confident she feels on her path.
    All she wants to achieve in her career.
    How full her bank account is and all she can do with it.

    She tells me she knows what she wants.
    Where she is going.
    How to get there.
    She is so self assured.
    Ambitious.
    Goal driven.

    So I decide to try on her clothes to experience her good life.
    – But they don’t fit.
    Even if I suck in my breath, I can no longer squeeze into
    That sharp black suit
    That life.
    – My life of colour too big for her suit
    My barefoot days unsuitable for her heels

    I try on her white shirt,
    But it is not crisp on me.
    White is not a colour I know.
    The colour of spilt juice, and food smears – now those I know!

    I do not know the feeling of self assuredness she emits.
    I question everything I do.
    All day long.
    I only know the feeling of a child’s hand in mine.
    Two innocent eyes looking up at me with love saying
    “Mummy, I love you so much. I’m so proud of you.”
    A husbands warm embrace.
    Those are my assurance.

    Her perfume makes me sneeze a little.
    I am only used to the smells of this home.
    Not always pleasant smells.
    But comfortable.
    And that is my favourite scent.

    I know not the full bank account she speaks of.
    The free spending.
    The “lifestyle”.
    Our budget is lean,
    Full of rent to pay, utilities, debt and mortgage repayments.
    Just room for the necessities and no else.

    But I do know a full heart.
    So I tell her of that,
    I tell her of my life…

    My clothes of colour and comfort;
    Of *ahem* elastic waists and loose fitting dresses.
    Bare feet more often than not, or
    Flat shoes made for chasing.

    The fragrances of my life;
    Freshly shampoo’d hair squashed against my face in embrace.
    Paint, playdough and crayons.
    The beach.

    My goals;
    Getting through the day
    Keeping my children fed, warm, clean
    Loved.

    My “Working lunches”;
    Of easy food
    Eaten with smiles.

    The soundtrack of my life;
    Music to dance to.
    Heart melting giggles,
    Caused by tickles, chasing, funny faces,
    Or just because.
    Then the quiet snores of a child sleeping in my arms.

    Mine is not a life without challenges
    Nor I’m sure is hers.
    But today we just tell of the good bits
    And leave it at that.

                                  ***

    Once I’m finished sharing
    We stare at each other, this other girl and I
    Not quite sure what to say to each other.
    Our worlds grown too far apart.
    The gap in our thinking too wide.

    She looks at me in disbelief-
    The girl doesn’t understand how those are my goals,
    How “just that” can be enough for me.
    But I assure her that they are.
    – That is all.
    They just.are.

    So I lean over and kiss her softly goodbye.
    I help her fold up that sharp black suit and crisp white shirt,
    Of memories forgotten but not yet gone.
    I bid farewell to the “Other girl”
    The other me.
    The life once had.
    It has been nice to have her visit, but now it’s time to let her go.
    No longer to suitcases dark and forgotten.
    But this time to set her free…

    18 COMMENTS

    1. You are wise to embrace this time in your life….they grow up all to soon. There are days when I wish I could go back and hold my little ones on my lap just one more time.

      My heart was warmed last week when my 20 month old granddaughter patted my arm and said Grandma for the first time. All through the day she would come back to me and say it again, just to let me know she could.

      She looks so much like my daughter did at that age….trust me I’m holding these moments close.

      It’s all so worth it isn’t it…lovely post.

    2. Wow. Very well written!
      Can´t we (women) have both? Don´t you think the other girl might come back when the kids grow older? I´m the other girl right now, black business suits, brief case, high heels and all, it´s one aspect of my life which also includes colorful crafts and hopefully little feet in the future.

    3. You are completely right Needle little Balance – I do believe that women can have both. The key being if they want both…
      Which I don’t.
      I really hope this didn’t sound insulting to “other women” because that was absolutely not my point…
      This post is entirely about me & my “two selfs.”
      – Just a morning of self examination over the journey of my life so far and my complete shift in thinking, as I cleaned out “my old life” from suitcases in the shed.
      – Never in my wildest dreams when I was “the other woman” did I imagine that my life now would be all I’d ever dream of. But it is.
      I never plan to go back to corporate work.
      There is nothing wrong with that corporate work – it is just no longer MY dream!
      But I am certainly not saying in this writing that women should never go back to work after having kids or that being a stay-at-home-mum is “superior” to the other life! They are just different. And each to our own to decide 🙂

    4. Beautifully written Kat!
      I know not of the other woman you speak of as I was pretty much still a child (late teens) when we found ourselves expecting our first so that whole other side of life is something I have never had….what I do know is that like you, I am living my dream and regardless of where any of us are in life that is what counts 🙂

    5. Heh, I just wish my other girl was a smart as yours, I don’t do crisp white shirts or suits or heels or make up for work… but then I work in the IT department, I’m sure the guys I work with wouldn’t notice unless I came in naked (and that wouldn’t be in a good way lol)

    6. Such a fantastic post Kat! I left the other woman a while ago, but the uniform and me, the detachments, wars, separations weren’t fitting together the same 🙂 Now, the other woman works part time to keep the roof over our heads, food on the table and the bills paid, in comfortable shoes, bright clothes and the fine balance of a co-existence 🙂 Happy, grounded.

    7. Unlike many women have hbeen able to find a happy balance of my two women. My youngest is 16 and my husband is considerably older than me and retired. I knew the day would come when I would need to support myself. Finding that balance wasn’t easy and at times the hours are more than I want but working on balance is an ongoing task. Thanks for a great read….well said!

    8. Lovely post Kat … poignant and truthful …

      I packed the seriously corporate away a few years ago now, but I still have to don a very corporate teacher’s garb and persona in my termly life. The fight between the ‘real’ me and the ‘teacher’ me continues unabated at home!

      I wish a Happy New Year to you Kat … xxx

    9. Beautifully said Kat. We’ve discussed this between us and we both know – we are where we want to be. It’s a great feeling being happy with yourself and your choices, but good to have the memories of the other self so that you know that you were capable, could do it, just choose not to.

    10. Kat, I enjoyed your poem.
      I still have a longing to be that other woman. I have always felt that was what I was supposed to do, but my degree is going unused. Not for lack of trying to get hired…
      So, stalled on the path I thought I would follow, I’m looking around and contemplating other things I could do with my life. I’m not sure which options to choose and I’m not sure how to define my priorities. I’m torn.
      But at least I still have time to think about it.

    11. Beautiful post, Kat! You will yet be wearing other clothes, other shoes, other goals…..just wait! And then you will look back on your life of today and cherish it just as much as your old one, and yet will be happy in your new situation. Just ask me! Been there…done that!!

    12. Very well written post, Kat. It is so good to know who you are as either woman. Very impressive and I am glad that at both times in your life, happiness was there. Happiness shifts as we go on our paths, and it’s great to read that you know where the happiness lies on whatever path you choose. YOU GO GIRL! :o)

    13. Beautifully written Flutter Kath…these are the stages of our life. The scaffolding, if you can call it, that is part of the building of our lives, not seen after the the building is completed but part of it nevertheless and without which I feel we cannot be who we are.
      There’s lessons to be gained from every part of our mortal life, be it brief or long.
      A lovely soliloquy !
      Alexa from Sydney, Australia
      http://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com

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