Yes, the timestamp on this post is correct. It's just gone midnight-and-a-bit, and I'm nearly off to bed. Afternoon naps tend to push the bedtime a bit further into darkness... and I needed one today.

Have you noticed how some days - some hours - just gather great big gobs of emotion and thought and realizations into one space, throwing them at you continuously, bombarding you until you're not sure you can take much more? I've had one of those evenings. A multitude of thoughts coming at me, not randomly - they've built on each other into surprising conclusions. I don't even know what set it off.

I've taken a few more steps toward clarity though. I now know more of what I want, and what I don't want. I understand what I am able to sacrifice, and how some dreams must not change. It's a further settling of the essence of who I am, if that makes sense. No? Let me explain:

For years I felt disconnected, as if the real me weren't getting out. Blogging helped a little - I found a voice, one that didn't just go ignored by those around me, one that sometimes mattered quite a bit, a place where I could speak - and be heard. In the process I started to put bits of myself together, parts that had been fragmented until I couldn't quite say what I was or wasn't. In the last year I've "come together" more than at any other time in my life.

Yet it's an ongoing process, this learning and growing. I'm still casting about to find direction in a lot of areas, trying to determine how to be and react in situations that call for the real me to stand up and be counted. I'm finding my heart again, buried deep under steel and scar tissue - but still learning how to entrust it to others. There are times I desperately want to give it, open it up wholly, there are times that I'm still scared to do so.

I'm also learning where I fit in in life. Many of my friends and acquaintances have done things great and small, seen life from angles I haven't. Instead I've been raising a child (an important job, in my eyes) - my focus has been on providing stability for a son who has never met his father, on keeping a sanctuary-home going so that he'll feel safe in this world. All too often at the expense of my dreams, my ambitions, my hopes, my desires. Slowly I'm starting to find balance once more. Perhaps for the first time. I'm relearning my individuality as a woman, not just a mother. I'm nurturing the dreams I stashed on dusty shelves - not because I can't wait for my son to grow up and leave, but because I know that bit by bit he is. And my life will go on.

The past few hours have been a bombardment of gelling, a coming together of loose ends that I'm still struggling to catch hold of. There are some constants in my life that I will not give up on. There are other parts I've clung to but which need to go. And still much inner strength to build up.

Late nights sometimes do this to one - throw a few curveballs and check how well you can catch them. Small ones sometimes - but in my quest for discovery of the real me, the one I can confidently show the world, every little bit matters.

Right now what matters is sleep, rest, and a chance for my neurons to process the experience. I suspect there's some interesting dreams ahead, flashing behind my closed eyelids in the dark...