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©February 2009

Carol Jane Remsburg




Senses That Take Us Away




They tell us we have five senses, but that’s definitely not true, just as in the old movie, “The Bells of Saint Mary’s” when old Der Bingle teaches the sad, desperate, young student cramming for a test there are more than simply five senses.  Let’s see if I can remember the first five, sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing.


Each one has an impact on how we develop and grow into adulthood and what we carry throughout our lives.  The earliest memories hold the strongest for us and we often reach back to them as touchstones.  From the sight of a loved one’s face or familiar surroundings to the scent and taste of your favorite meal being served up, everything within you is alive.  The sound of a voice, a familiar song, the taste of salt in the air at the beach, and even the touch of the ultra-soft fur of your pet bring so much into your life. 


Our senses connect us and keep us connected with reality.  Sometimes they take us back in time, but sometimes they are new, unfamiliar and we have to find new memory cubbyholes to stick them into whether they are nice or not. 


Unlike in the movie, there is another sense, not just of the ‘believing’ kind, but one of finally knowing a sense of self recognizing that it’s no longer about staying within the frames of normality that I set for myself rigidly decades ago when I was young and unsure, of the same that were expected of me.  Life is too short.


The time has finally come to take myself back and forge ahead.  Of course, none of this could happen at a worse time.  The options I have are simple, leave my employment either ‘with’ or ‘without’ something to help for a few months to perhaps get my feet beneath me again.  Rather than being the terrified weenie I’ve always been in my life when it came to making changes, changes in employment, losing whatever quasi-stability I never felt, I can spread my wings and not worry about the norms or convention.  I’ll be open to many options.  I have a family to support and I will find something or several somethings, but fear is not something I will accept for now.  Last year I would have told you that while I was ‘good at what I did’ and I AM, but you’d see me hesitate, worried, half-afraid, looking over my shoulder simply because I was conditioned to be for the last thirteen years to be wary, firings on the job came daily and often without any justification.  Living in that kind of fear on a daily basis is simply debilitating.  The last thirteen years have taken a brutal toll simply for a paycheck, a good paycheck by any standards, but well earned—trust me.  How much does torture pay at going rates these days?  I’ve nearly trebled the ‘standard’ life span of my position, if I wasn’t a nervous wreck, I’d have to be made of stone. 


How I always manage to find myself looking for employment when the job market is at its weakest, I don’t know, it simply happens that way.


My sixth sense is simply myself, learning again to trust myself, to know what will work for me and my family and knowing that somehow I’ll find a way to keep hearth and home together.  I’ve lived a good part of my life worrying about every decision I make, staying with a job to the bitter end, as in closing the business down before finding something else out of fear and or a sense of loyalty.  With the anal way I’ve always been, leaving any job, even when I had a new one to go to was simply terrifying.  I should be puking my guts out not feeling the calm confidence I do right now.  Wish I knew why that was other than knowing that no matter what happens now, I don’t need a posh job, but maybe a ‘few’ smaller jobs, ones others are too proud to work.  Me, I’m not too proud.


Learning the lesson of knowing the difference between pride and reality has taken a long time.  Getting beyond my worries and my fears and actually LIVING is taking a transition but definitely worth it.  I’ve got LOTS of work to do still around the house to bring it back to what it used to be, no palace, but at least a little tidier, cleaner, showing that someone loves the space.  It’s about taking back the basics, the reality amid all the flash and bang.  A quiet hour on the back porch, once cleaned up of the debris on a warm, an afternoon either with family or a good book is a treasure.  A good meal, nothing fancy, but real, not in a pricey plastic microwave tray, or a good night’s sleep without nightmares and knowing your home is still yours – that’s about all we can hope for in this world if we are lucky.


Somehow, I think I can get us back to that, in our still ‘little old house’ but find a way to enrich our lives more than they were.  We’ve all taken for granted what we have had and pushed for more than we actually needed but we were never enjoying any of it.  Everything was too rushed, things that needed to be done, weren’t, tempers were short, fears running high.


But I remember a time, and if there is another sense, it is memory.  I remember a time in the world when simply being in a place with people you loved not having to HAVE something or having to be doing anything special was fun, even chores, looking forward to being done the chores, the promise of relaxation, time to read, time simply spend together whether talking or playing simple games that didn’t require electronics, well, they meant a lot.  Those are times memories were made, the ones you don’t forget.  Many others became a blur. 


To be honest there are many times I’ve put off being with my family, my child, my sisters and all simply because I was ‘too tired’ or ‘too busy’ had to finish this, had to get ready for the ‘job’ and on the job the tension was so great when you left, you had so little left to give of yourself to your family and they couldn’t understand.  Often it was easier to buy a bauble for the child when she was little, now she knows better, but I always hoped she liked it and didn’t notice my exhaustion.  I knew it was never enough and felt the horrid guilt.  So like the hamster on the treadmill, it never ended, well, until now.


In a few weeks I’ll be facing newness all over again.  I’ll have to regroup and do it right this time.  It’s time for a seventh sense, one that combines the former six, one that makes me whole each day I get up to face and shine brighter and enjoy each day.  I’ll find a job or two and actually ENJOY them and enjoy each day rather than dreading it.


If there is something my child can learn from me rather than living through it, learn all you can, never stop learning, but don’t fear, keep working, it will work out.  That last sense, is finally the ‘sense’ of self.  Some of us take a long time to find it.  I’m glad I have, or at least hope I have.   Check back with me in two months and I’ll tell you if I was right or wrong.


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