My life has been exceptionally difficult lately for reasons that many can relate to: isolation and loneliness as a result of quarantine, homeschooling and children home more often than before, heaviness that comes with living in a pandemic, job loss and navigating life for multiple months on unemployment, never-ending changes to routine, schedule, and household needs, and the ending of a relationship. The circumstances aside, my reaction to all this crisis, change, and uncertainty has surprised me. I shut-down and stopped functioning normally for a couple of months, which simply isn’t my style. My go-getter, always land-on-my-feet, invent change and challenge for myself, always rise-to-the-occasion personality went on vacation, and I was left ghost-walking through my life, uncertain about everything, feeling scared, sad, and tired with an utter lack of desire to do anything.
I didn’t realize until I wasn’t working anymore how much of my identity was attached to my career and how much of my self-worth was attached to my ability to provide for my family. I also didn’t realize that I could be in a committed relationship while the other person wasn’t… I truly thought after years of experiencing only abusive and dysfunctional relationships that if I showed-up fully, with openness and clear expectations, and the connection was happy, easy and conflict-free, with compatible energy and enough shared interests, that everything was finally going to work-out as I’ve always hoped. Now I’m facing a very difficult journey of soul-searching and trying to figure out what my next career move is going to be, with chatter about another round of school shut-downs clouding my ability to envision anything stable or functional in my future, all while trying to both embrace and ignore the elephant in the room: how am I going to take care of my children while also providing for them? Navigating so much hardship on my own while attempting to maintain a positive household culture and energy for my children has been overwhelmingly difficult at times. I never knew I could feel this emotionally exhausted, lost, and hopeless.
I’m a dreamer. I’m a goal-setter. I’m a high achiever who believes in starting everyday on purpose and ending everyday with gratitude. I’m a lover who believes in happily-ever-after despite a life full of reasons to be guarded and untrusting. I am strong and capable. I know all of this to be true about myself, so what the hell happened to me? Where did I go and how do I get myself back?
I’ve spent the past couple of months exploring different career opportunities, and while each has come with pros and cons, I’ve been unable to motivate myself to commit to anything and move forward. I ask myself “why?” all the fucking time, and finally came to the realization that I suddenly don’t know who I am. I lost momentum, focus, dreams, and my heart in a matter of months, and that’s a shit-ton of life, loss and purpose to process, heal, and redefine all at once. So I’ve spent countless hours in tears, and even more time in meditation, prayer, and journaling. I’ve dedicated extra time to activities I love, counseling, and studying grief recovery, while deepening friendships, setting emotional boundaries, and accepting that right now it’s okay to be struggling. There is peace and comfort in acceptance, and while there’s a part of me that is frustrated beyond measure at the snails-pace of my self-understanding and healing, I have faith that this season of hardship is transforming me in meaningful and significant ways that will ultimately make the magnitude of challenges I’m currently processing worth the fight.
I am worthy of living life to the fullest; it’s time to stop surviving and start shining. I am ready for the next chapter.
I was reading a short story by Shane Chambers, and a section felt so relevant to how I’ve been feeling that I’ve re-read it over and over: “I am sad, yes, but it is a sadness of longing, not of casualty. I was able to experience a special part of my life so beautifully, living and giving the world a better version of who and what I wanted to be. For me to feel this unhappy right now is only a reminder to me that I must have loved something very, very deeply, and I am grateful for having felt that.”