The contradiction between my emotions and dreams has halted my progress. I’m stuck and desperate to be freed from this cage, yet lacking the strength necessary to fight.
I don’t feel like myself and I don’t like it. We can all say that this year has been tough, but I always look for the upside in everything – I don’t like excuses – my glass isn’t half empty or half full, it’s constantly being refilled to overflowing. That said, I’ve experienced an overload of change and loss all at once that’s resulted in true struggling. At the foundation of my current hardships is a lack of self confidence. Who am I now that I’ve lost the things that defined me, gave me purpose and direction, fueled passions, fed goals and motivated dreaming? I feel so uncertain, and I’ve never experienced this before.
My counselor says I’m facing an identity crisis and grieving the loss of unrealized dreams. My dad suggested that I’ve lost heart and that when my heart is driving me I’m capable of doing anything. When I’m super emotional and desperate to understand why I’m hurting, I turn to meditation and writing, and as my words filled the pages in my journal I had a breakthrough – like getting hit upside the head, I suddenly have clarity about why I’m stuck – I’m afraid of giving my all and caring so fucking much all over again and getting the floor ripped out from under me again. How many times do I have to start over? I feel like my life has been one strength and character test after another, and suddenly I don’t feel strong anymore. I just feel tired. I’ve cared and believed and hung-on to faith and created and trusted and won. . . I’ve been used and lied to and taken advantage of and disappointed and abandoned. For the first time in my life I feel scared to try again. But my dad’s right, without passion I’m frozen. I’m an artist at heart, a dreamer with drive and the ability to create and accomplish, and a love for exceeding expectations and becoming an expert at whatever I’m doing. I have big goals for my life, and a dream for sharing my heart with someone wonderful who adores me as much as I love him. My spirit is playful and wild, I’m passionate about everything I believe in, loyal and dedicated to my purpose, family and friends. . . and right now my larger-than-life spirit seems to be hiding-out, and I truly miss myself.
I keep thinking “what’s wrong with me?” and “why can’t I get out of this funk?”. I feel powerless emotionally, yet logically I know that I possess the skills and drive to do great things and make my life anything I want. I know I’m kind, compassionate, adaptable, worthy, and lovable. But no matter how much my head tries to convince my heart, it’s not working. I started reading The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James & Russell Friedman. I’m only a few chapters in and already learning, discovering, and gaining a deeper understanding of what I’m experiencing. Loss is normal throughout a lifetime, and it doesn’t have to be tragic like death or divorce to trigger grief, it can come from normal events that occur in most people’s lives, like kids graduating and leaving home, career changes, moving, the end of a relationship, the loss of income, the death of a pet, etc. The book talks about how we grow up learning to acquire and accomplish, but we don’t receive training on how to process and heal from loss. We treat these transitions and the often conflicting emotions associated with loss with misunderstanding, self-judgement, and fear of what others will believe about us if we share how much we’re suffering. I appreciate my counselor’s recommendation to read this book for another opportunity to normalize the hardships I’m currently facing, while I proactively working to process loss and the natural sadness, fear, and uncertainty that comes from having to start over, heal, and move forward.
I was hiking the other day and thinking about how much fun it is to cover mile-after-mile on a trail instead of a sidewalk. There’s adventure, risk, discovery, and challenge when navigating uneven earth and steep terrain that requires the mind and body to be actively engaged. Right now the trail is where I feel the most alive, playful, and excited. It’s the place where I can dream and believe in myself without holding back. If only I could harness that emotion and bring it home with me, or move to the mountain permanently.
I was teaching my boys a new game and watching them cut with scissors, and had the thought that as children we don’t hold back or limit ourselves, and we don’t fear failing. It’s the opposite actually – children assume they’ll succeed if they try enough times. Everything is new and challenging until it becomes a skill, and children don’t quit because it’s unknown or hard or requires endless practice. I want the enthusiasm and faith of a child. I want to dive-in head first to my next career, harnessing the skills I’ve acquired in life so far, without fear of failure or the possibly of having to start over again as a reason to hold back. I want to share my heart and passion for life fully, without fear of rejection, and be loved and appreciated for exactly who I am. I want to believe in myself and my dreams with my whole heart.
I’m tired of this limbo and being scared to try again.