For as long as I can remember, I have been down right envious of anyone who had a clear vision of what they wanted to do with their life. Whether that was career oriented, or if it was just knowing what routines and processes worked for them. I would listen, slack-jawed at people who could answer questions like “so what are you going to do after you graduate?” or “what do you do for fun?” or “what is a habit you have that has made your life easier?” And they would answer these impossible questions with so much ease that I knew they weren’t lying! Like, how the hell do you know this shit? Honestly, the majority of all the conversations I ever had with anyone, were strategically spent talking about their lives and their issues, simply to avoid having to make some shit up when they wanted to know something about me. Because, I had nothing! Zero! Zilch! And I felt like such a loser because of that, for so long.
Being self-assured was (and still kind of is) so foreign to me that anyone who possessed it, might as well have been David Blaine. I would daydream about the freedom that they must have felt every single day, not wasting countless hours constantly second guessing everything they did, because they actually knew what worked for them. After years of failed attempts to get one of these magicians to crack, and give me the secret code to what it was they possessed, I finally just convinced myself that there were people who were born to be ‘successful’ and self-assured, and then there were people like me. I knew that I and those like me, would make their way through life, and we would have a good time, but we would always feel kind of lost and overwhelmed, and embarrassed. It was the embarrassment that got to me; because that was attached to the reason why I wasn’t like those who knew what they wanted, and I had just assumed it was because I was lazy and well, stupid.
But see, that’s where it got confusing, because in my gut, I knew those two things just weren’t true. I had worked hard my entire life, many times working multiple jobs while going to school. I also knew that I was capable of getting really good grades when I applied myself. So I was conflicted. There was a part of me (my ego) that worked really hard, constantly trying to find ways to prove to myself that I was in fact just lazy and stupid. The intention being that the pain associated with the overwhelming unknowing, would subside once I accepted the reasons why I would always be stuck. But the deeper knowing part of me wouldn’t give up searching. Looking back, it’s almost as if my soul was like a mother who lost her child. And it was true. The deeper part of me that knew that I was worthy of trusting myself, was the part of me that was desperate to reconnect with my childhood self I had lost so many years before. I wanted so badly to experience that home-coming, to be so deeply embraced that it was almost agonizing. I wanted to come home, to myself. So that was where I started four years ago. I just followed the pain points and I prayed that I would eventually stumble upon the fork in the road where I lost myself.
Now I would be completely full of shit if I told you that when I first started this journey of self-discovery, that all I wanted to focus on was how I could take responsibility for my own life. Yea, not so much. In a perfect world, Suchitra (my spiritual adviser/bullshit barometer) would have looked me in the eyes in our first session and said “you literally have nothing to work on, but all these people around you, give them my card because they need some serious help!” Ugh, I get goosebumps thinking about how wonderful that would have been.
So why am I sharing this, you ask? Because, I know that when I was searching for direction, I was praying that I would stumble across someone who made me feel less alone. I also, was looking for someone to point me in a direction that felt purposeful. For so many years I consumed endless amounts of quick-fixes and followed the paths of those that I wished I could be like, in hopes that their seemingly perfect lives would rub off on me. But all I ended up with was a pile of books I never read, a ton of subscriptions I would never cancel, and daily reminders that I once again failed at getting my shit together. So I am sharing this, not because I have the answer, but because I have a story that you might relate to. I am sharing this because I hope that you might see yourself in these words and that you won’t feel so alone. I don’t have any answers for you, and trust me I know how frustrating that is, I am still holding onto hope that one day someone tells me how to feel like a real adult. But what I do have is space for you. I will meet you exactly where you are, and I can promise you, that all you need is a desire to know more. You don’t need answers, you don’t need certainty, and you don’t even need a plan. But you do need to get comfortable living among the questions, because there will be so so many. But if you are anything like me (nosy as shit), you will at the very least be endlessly entertained.
One more thing before I go… You are worthy. You are worthy of your dreams, of your desires, and of discovery. Fear will tell you to turn away, conditioning will convince you it is impossible, and your thirst for safety will overwhelm you at times. But as women, we were not put here merely create and tend to the fires of life, we were born to walk through it. If for nothing more than to show our daughters that they are strong enough to survive it themselves. Don’t ever forget how strong you truly are.
Ellie and I at the Women’s March in Philadelphia, January 2017