Just Tell Me Where to Stand/Losing My Identity



“Just tell me where to stand.”

How often have I heard that phrase from my husband? It has been a favorite of his over the years, usually when applied to his work situation-or mine-or anyone’s where the environment seems to be in total chaos most of the time. You know the place.  The rules change every day, and most of them are only observed by the rule keepers who didn’t need the rules in the first place.

The rules don’t apply to the princesses on their cell phones or sitting behind their desks plotting out shopping excursions or printing out party invitations. The rules don’t apply to the ones hiding out in the back offices on “official business” with someone in management. Or perpetually in the John.  No, the rules were made for those of us who don’t really need rules because we were raised with a little something I like to call a work ethic.  Perhaps you have heard of it. Or perhaps not. It is quickly becoming extinct.  Along with empathy and customer awareness.  Everyone is angry.  The patrons, the servers, the sellers, the buyers; and competition is the name of the game.  Let’s see someone fight, bleed, cry, hurt themselves, break a bone, or bare their ass in a public place. That way everyone can all whip out their nifty iFu.. I mean phones..to snap a quick shot and get it just as quickly posted to you tube or Facefu…I mean book…so that they can become famous!

But..I digress.  We call it “chasing rabbits” around here and it happens a lot.  Drives my son nuts.


I am a dyed in the wool worker bee.  And I am proud to say I am good at it. Why, I am stupendous. Whatever job is at hand, you can count on me to show up. On time, fully dressed, hair done, makeup on, and ready to roll.  And roll I will until the lunch bell sounds.  Then I roll on until the dinner bell. No sense complaining, my Daddy always taught me.  Anything worth doing is worth doing right. And maybe-just perhaps-someone might come through with a compliment. Or not. Yet it never stops me from going on. Until now.

When we moved to Costa Rica I gave up my professional life.  Okay, I can hear you all now. So what? Costa Rica? Paradise!  Of course it was paradise, and of course I had loads of amazingly rich experiences there. We long to return and will.  But I have worked my entire adult life, along with raising four wonderful sons.  I longed to have more time for my creative interests and book reading, outdoor activities, etc.  Still I felt worthy. I was bringing in part of the household income.  What I did matteredI know perfectly well that homemaking is one of the toughest jobs in the world.  It can also be the most rewarding as well as the most thankless in the universe.  Society has crumbled to the point of people defining one another by their movie or music collections, their Likes on Facebook and always-always-by what they DO. It has somehow become status quo for a woman to work outside of the home,  whether the extra income is needed or not.  Why wouldn’t you want to work, I am always asked-to get out of the house..?

Okay, hold onto your hats because I love being in my house.  I love being alone.  Did I mention I raised four sons? Enough said? I did it all, including working and baking things from scratch, working feverishly on art projects on Saturdays and into the night, making homemade gifts for holidays and cleaning my own house.  Am I a Superhero?


No.. But I know a few of them-personally.  :))

My real problem is that  when I returned home from the jungle,  I soon found I couldn’t just slip back into my old profession-and it hurt.  Not because I loved being all too often beaten up mentally and pounding the hard floors with my feet all day.  I missed the “connection” with other people.  My goal each and every day when I worked in the clinic was to find a way to touch each patient I saw in some way that would make them happy they came to see us.  This is not me being grandiose. It is how I learned to find joy in my work.  It wasn’t about me being praised or appreciated by the people I worked with-or for-any longer.  It was about the people who came to us and needed to hear something good.  It was through that realization that my world opened up completely.  The social and physical challenges remained, but became softened. I had purpose.  It was the same feeling I had when I tucked my boys in at night, safe and sound-or got up early with my husband to make coffee (even though I don’t often drink it) Now the job is gone and the house virtually empty.  And I don’t want to be a part of the rat race.  Personally I don’t think anyone is going to win.  Except the rats.

My new dilemma is finding that place of worth again.  I need to know where to stand now that there is no one else to tell me.


I feel at the edge of a precipice on the rim of a volcano.  But it refuses to erupt.

In Costa Rica it was easy..


I spent a lot of time standing on the porch.


Or in the wake of magnificence.

Now I am back in the middle of hustle and bustle but am not bustling, I feel wedged between the proverbial rock and a hard place. I don’t enjoy feeling out of place,  but I am no longer the workaholic person I was when I left. I know all things flow as they are meant to in the universe and that Spirit has a plan for me. So I write. I paint. I make jewelry and take photographs.

Kind and interested people respond by saying I am talented.  It seems such a lovely compliment, but for someone like me it triggers a myriad of emotions that are like a roller coaster ride. Did I mention I hate roller coasters?  First comes the Sally Field syndrome:

“They like me, they really like me..” (God love her, I always have)

Next there’s the doubt, creeping around the corner like an evil twin with his hand on the corner of your rug of joy, just waiting to yank it and send you sprawling face first onto the floor.

Thirdly comes the disbelief.  You just know they are trying to make you feel good, hitting the Like button on their way by, or trying to get a reciprocal compliment. No matter what, they didn’t REALLY like what you did.

Then acceptance.  The moment when I return to the understanding that ultimately my creations are done for me-for my own self-expression.  It only matters that I love what I have done.  After that, anything else is lagniappe.(around here that’s French for “something extra”)

What all this has meant to me is that I am now more aware of how I respond to others, how I express my opinions, desires, appreciation and admiration.  It is worth the time to get to know about a person, even through a blog like this one.  I feel so much richer for having begun my adventure here and meeting so many “truly” talented, dedicated, searching, honest, vulnerable, funny, heartbroken, adventurous, entrepreneurial, and hard working people.  And I know I couldn’t have done this while working a full time job as well.  It is why I decided to let things be.  For once in my life, I am truly letting go and letting God.

And I think I know where I want to stand now….


And if you read my blog…you’ll know where to find me.

Pura Vida!

21 thoughts on “Just Tell Me Where to Stand/Losing My Identity

  1. What a lovely post,Cheryl. I am behind in my reading, so decided to sift through some of your earlier stuff. I am seeing more similarities between us.


    1. Thank you Karen. I have known it all along. 😊I have to get to your newest post. Running around today and trying to stay cool. Hope your day was a good one! I hope you find something else you enjoy hear. It must seem like an overcrowded cupboard at this point. Ha.


      1. Are you kidding about the overcrowded thing? That’s a great problem to have. I will be on vacation next week, hopefully with time to get some reading done. You said something about a “soul sister,” and I agree. I also need one!


      2. Oh, and also, I wanted to ask: were you in the medical field as well? I saw reference to a clinic – perhaps you talk about it more, but I haven’t gotten that far just yet.


      3. Yes Karen. We seem to share many parallels. I am honored to have you here at the blog too! Yes, I have been an Phyhalmic technician for over 23 years but gave it up when we moved to Costa Rica. There are many things I miss but I am happy to have more time to write, create art and get really into my photography, especially here.


      4. I hate to use the overused phrase “you go girl,” but you get my drift. I am proud that you are pursuing the things that make you you. This is what makes our very short lives sweet, and worth living. I salute you for following your dreams, and hope to follow in your footsteps.


      5. Thank you very much for saying so Karen. A person can’t hear enough words of encouragement. I never have had trouble looking at my life, my emotions and turmoil. I always hope by letting my own true self show, someone else might be encouraged and not feel so alone in an all too often lonely world.


      6. Engaging story Cheryl. Love the primitive, foreign world you’ve created.

        If you enjoy my work, please share with your friends!




        ajwrites57 :o)

        On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 9:31 AM, Tropical Affair wrote:

        > dweezer19 commented: “Thank you very much for saying so Karen. A > person can’t hear enough words of encouragement. I never have had trouble > looking at my life, my emotions and turmoil. I always hope by letting my > own true self show, someone else might be encouraged and not feel” >


  2. From one worker bee to another, great job. It’s very good to see someone else point out that the only people following the rules are the ones who never needed the rules in the first place.


    1. Thank you Dan. Some might say I am too good at pointing out these things because they make people less comfy. I am what I am and I see what I see. Usually I keep my head low and move forward, no time for caring what others may or many not do. Now that I am not working in that arena any longer, I see just how wound up it kept me all the time, trying to rise above and focus on the job at hand. It can be exhausting. I was a tech about as long as you’ve been at your job. Hard to believe sometimes.


  3. You are a superhero. I love your energy, vivacity, hope. So much strength and dedication in you is portrayed in the passage. The sons, the homemaking, the love, the hunger to touch people’s lives positively. It is amazing. May you have a blessed day.


  4. Hi Cheryl, I just got off the phone reply… and onto my laptop to reply and to obviously check out your work. And wow…what work you have accomplished!

    I particularly identified with the paragraph about people who comment on the multi-talented person that you are and your responses to that statement being that you do those things not for praise or attention but for yourself. In general, we who call ourselves curious and unafraid of learning about or honing a skill-are often mistaken for one who is showing off when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more and seeing more through your photography and writings.


    1. Hello again and thank you sincerely for your encouragement and kind words. It means a lot. While it’s true we create because we are driven to, it is so nice when someone is touched by it in some way. I do hope you visit again and find something here that resonates for you. I like to recall the famous quote, “I think, therefore I am”; but for we as humans I think it would more appropriately be, “I am, therefore I create.” Happy weekend to you!


  5. Love you sense of humor, your attitude toward life and your art. I think you should explore entrepreneurial oppotyunities for your art. Your writing and photography! Best wishes Cheryl!


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