Archive for the ‘facing my fears’ Category
For the past two weeks, I’ve been telling myself to Just blog it out. That used to always make you feel better. But the truth is, I’ve stared at this screen many nights trying to do just that and absolutely nothing comes out. There’s no image of motivation, or song lyric for inspiration. No title to begin, and no Answer to Life to end on. So instead I’ve tossed and turned nearly every night trying to figure out what’s going on with me. Where is my head at? What’s causing my sleepless nights? Why can’t I just seem to shake the old Something’s Wrong funk off?
This image of a cartoon Dorothy and the whole Wizard of Oz theme really seem to be the only things that seem to hit the spot with how I’m feeling right now. To put it best, for the past few hours I’ve been finding myself thinking, Where I am?, What am I doing here?, and How did I get here?.
Between you and me, I haven’t felt this lost & confused in a while… which is evident from the lack of blog posts from yours truly. While life has been busy this past year, especially with grad school, internship, and boyfriend, it really hasn’t been that bad. But now, with the end of internship and grad school drawing near, not to mention the lease on the apartment that I’ve lived since moving to Chicago over four years ago, I’m really starting to wonder What’s Next?
As exciting as it is, I’m starting to feel the pressures of my old frenemy, The Unknown.
In my strong moments, I have all the confidence in the world in knowing that after proving to myself that I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. I dream about the possibilities of living in a warmer climate and falling in love with a new city and new job. But when I’m hindered by anxiety and uncertainty, the questions begin swirling around in my head. What about your relationship? What about all your friends and networks here? How can you afford to move somewhere else? Can you really move further away from your family? What if no one will hire you?
There’s just a lot of questions right now, and unfortunately I’m not very close to any answers. But despite all that, I’m far from giving up. If anything, this is really that Time before something Amazing happens and then you find yourself wondering why you were worried in the first place.
I’m waiting for my Something Amazing to happen. I’m ready for all the pieces to come together and I can finally understand what all these blog days (and, essentially, the big move to Chicago) were all about.
More than anything, I’m ready to put aside the books and student loans and find my passion again. It’s visited in bits and pieces over the past two years, but I’m really missing it. I need it back again.
Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it. (Benjamin Mee)
It’s a Saturday night and I am perfectly content sitting on my couch in sweatpants, a ponytail, and leftover make-up from brunch this morning- watching Grey’s Anatomy. Sitting here now, I’m not sure why I even bother with the crazy Chicago bar scene most weekend nights because this is proving to be better than any Too Loud- Too Crowded bar right now. (Someone please remind me that I said this next weekend when I’m responding to text messages about where to go.)
Since I’m in for the night- hopefully, at least- I’ve decided to ease some internal uncertainties and PMS-induced hormones through the powerful remedy of blog therapy. And after coming across the quote above (via Pinterest), which is from the movie, We Bought A Zoo, I think that I need twenty seconds of insane courage tonight. Just a mere twenty seconds to say some things that I’ve been hiding inside of me, frankly because I’ve been too afraid to do so. But here it goes, for the next twenty seconds…
It’s been a rough year. Between the job changes and extra hours of grad classes, grad school assignments, and grad school life stress, I’ve found myself overwhelmed and/or numb at various points. But while that is expected with the territory, I will say that the financial issues (student loan problems, loss of jobs, absence of unemployment payments, bills bills bills) are what has pushed me over the edge. Honestly, I can’t remember too many nights this past year when I wasn’t stressing about (not having) money. But despite these challenges, I’ll admit that I’ve really lost sight of myself this year. In fact, in comparison to this time last year, I’m not sure if I’m really the same (similar) person as I was before grad school began last August. I’m going to leave it at that instead of creating a laundry of “my issues”.
So what’s happened to me? How did I let myself go, and why? And can I (finally) get back to being myself again…or do I have to wait until grad school ends next year? Can’t I just please feel better, once and for all??!!
The following post was written for the blog, Peace & Penguins,and tackles the topic of Love & Anxiety- which are two things that I know little and a lot about, respectively.
When Alisha asked me to write a guest blog post on Love & Anxiety for Peace & Penguins, I thought that it would be an easy hour therapy session of rehashing my life stories of insecurity, doubts, and regrets. But unfortunately, for the past week, I’ve struggled to get anything down on paper. So here I am, over a week after telling her that she’d have my piece in no time, trying to figure out exactly what I can say about love & anxiety…which are ultimately the two words that have haunted me during my 28-year old life.
While I’ve questioned how to begin this post, I feel that it is important to start off with the following statement: I’m twenty-eight years old and I’ve never been in a serious relationship. However, and it’s an incredibly big HOWEVER, I’m actually (finally) on the verge of entering one…but more on that later.
Today I came across the following lines in the novel, 50 Shades of Grey, which really struck a chord with me. Here are the lines, and I’ll explain later:
Katherine often teases me that I’m missing the need-a-boyfriend gene, but the truth is I just haven’t met anyone who… well, whom I’m attracted to, even though part of me longs for the fabled trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly moments.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps, I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high. But in reality, nobody’s ever made me feel like that.
Anastasia Steele (50 Shades of Grey)
For the majority of my young adult life, I have relied on excuses and sarcasm to answer the question, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” And when stating my boyfriend-free background and getting stuck responding to the inevitable question, “What do you mean you’ve never been in a relationship? How is that possible?”, I find the anxiety tingles kicking in as I do my best to change the subject. But here and now, I’ll put those insecurities aside and tell you that Anxiety is the answer to both of those questions.
Unfortunately I’ve been plagued by anxiety for a while now, and it’s held me back from many things over the years. But above all, it’s prevented me from experiencing the love that I always dreamed of; from finding the love I always deserved. For years I’ve thought that there was something wrong with me. I thought I wasn’t good enough to be loved. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough to attract the attention of a man. I thought I would always be alone, because frankly being single is all I’ve really ever known.
Sure, there were those “boyfriends” during my early teen years that typically lasted a few weeks, and then a few guys in my twenties that stayed around for a couple uncommitted hook-ups. However, for the most part, I’ve been that girl who finds herself attending weddings without a plus-one and heading home after last call alone in a cab while the other girls leave on the arm of their significant others.
Now, every once in a while, maybe on the night of a full moon or during a road trip back to Ohio, I’d find myself flirting with a seemingly eligible bachelor and hoping that something more than a one-night stand would come out of it. But unfortunately, my anxiety almost got the best of me as daylight hit and my internal enemy asserted, “Are you crazy? He’s doesn’t really like you. He’s going to leave just like all of the other ones.”
But something changed this past year; something that I really can’t quite explain myself. In essence, I’ve lived this year under the motto: I don’t care anymore. See, instead of letting anxiety hold me back, I’ve fought off the doubts and insecurities and strived to live fearlessly. (Note: A little liquid courage usually helped too.) I took some chances…including using a few daring moves and brave one-liners every once in a while. And with each one of those incidences, I noticed my anxiety towards potential love decreasing.
So that leads me to “The Now”. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I am on the verge of a relationship. Actually… I’m in one. Yes, the girl who thought she’d always be single is in a relationship. (With a wonderful guy, might I add.) I’m pretty much living in disbelief, as are my friends and family who have heard my “No, I don’t have a boyfriend.” and “I’ll always be a single” lines, but it really is the truth. Even though it hasn’t yet been discussed, I am practically someone’s girlfriend… which means that I kinda-sorta have a boyfriend. Me? Really? Wow.
To be honest, I’m still processing all of this. I’m trying to convince myself that this is really, while also trying to understand why it’s taken me so long to let myself be in a relationship. Why did I let my anxiety hinder my happiness? Why did I let my insecurities get in the way of being someone’s girlfriend? Why did I let my fears prohibit some amazing guy from being mine? While I can ask these questions again and again, I’ll never fully be able to uncover the answers. But I will remember the anxiety I’ve lived with that held me back from being happy all of those years.
Unfortunately my anxiety is something that I continue to live with. It’s something that I think I’ll always live with. But when it comes to love, I’m learning more and more how important it is for me to combat all of my fears and doubts. For starters, I don’t want to miss out on a chance with a good guy like the one I have right now. I’ve held myself back many times before and simply, I don’t want to live with regrets anymore. Sure it’s scary to let yourself be vulnerable and open your heart up, but the risk is worth it. And honestly, I’m at the point in my life where I’d rather know that I took a chance than regret not taking one.
Let me stress that I’m no expert when it comes to love, and in some ways I’m still not convinced that I’ll ever fully understand it. But between you and me, I’m much more open to learning more about it. And that being said, I think I’ll have to start with exploring the whole relationship thing, and maybe officially being someone’s girlfriend.
Sure, it’s not easy and frankly I’m a bit scared, but I’m going to take these chances…starting with this great guy who has seen past my anxieties and boyfriendless past and see what life has in store for me. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be writing a post about love without a mention of anxiety. But for the meantime, I’m just going to take it day-by-day and see what this whole relationship thing is all about.
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It’s interesting how a new guy can make you realize the doubts and insecurities you have. It may take a few days, call it the new crush honeymoon period if you will, but then all of a sudden your mind starts playing those darn tricks on you again. Why hasn’t he texted me? When will I see him again? Does he really like me? Boys. They are put on this earth to drive our already-crazy minds even crazier.
No, but seriously, what’s up with me? I was many hours (and drinks) into Sunday Funday and had no expectations going into the date he proposed. But now, after having a fantastic first date, here I am struggling with all those troubling thoughts that have scarred me over the past several dateless years. GRrrr…come on girl, get yourself together!!
After mentioning my successful date to a dear friend of mine, she responded, “Breathe and trust. Silence those fears.” To be honest, when this message came through I was feeling ridiculously confident and still high from the amazing kissing that concluded our date. (Yes, I kissed him on the first date. Actually, I kissed him before our first date, but that’s a whole different story.) But I found myself thankful for her encouraging words when those fears started surfacing the very next day.
Breathe and trust. Silence those fears. That’s what’s keeping my anxious mind (and heart) from falling victim to the worries. Between you and me, I’ve let my fears hold me back for a very long time- much longer than I’ve ever admitted to on this blog- but I really feel like it’s time to trust myself again- and maybe learn to let myself trust someone else too.
For the past week this girl found herself really wanting to find comfort in the arms of a boy. Fortunately for her, she was able to find just that. While last Wednesday proved to be an emotionally destructive day, it did bring about a new friendship in the form of a guy who needed as much distraction and companionship as she did. (We’ll call him “Missouri”.) Just like me, Missouri needed someone to be there for him to help pass the time and let him know that he’s not alone. So for the last (approximately) ten days, I’ve spent at least six of those nights wrapped up in the arms of Missouri as my eyes closed and my weary mind began to rest for a few hours of sleep- or what may be better called a temporary fix.
As I sit here on a Saturday night, struggling to motivate myself to work on a 15-page paper, I realize that what this girl really wants is to feel better. She wants to knock all of her issues out the door, once and for all. She wants to overcome her struggles with stress, anxiety, (lack of) trust, and depression. She doesn’t want to hold herself back anymore. She doesn’t want to rely on the arms of a guy to make her feel better.
I’ve been listening/watching to the performance of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun from Glee all day today. Not only has it resonated with me, but it’s also made me feel as though it’s being sung directly to me. It’s as though the singer is telling me, “You haven’t been having much fun lately. You haven’t been happy. So you need to stop being in denial, stop suppressing your struggles, and really focus on dealing with your issues instead of allowing them to build up and get worse.”
I am consciously aware that running into Missouri’s arms is not the best thing to be doing right now. I know that I should stop relying on such a distraction and focus on working through my issues instead. Trust me, despite of all the crazy things I’ve been jumping into lately I still know my rights from my wrongs. I still know what’s best for me. I still know what I really need. But truth be told, sometimes I just don’t want to do the right thing. I don’t necessarily always have the patience nor the strength to do what’s right. But I think I’ve gotten to the point that I cannot keep running away by saying “I have issues”. I’m pretty such that this dose of depression has really made me think, What can I do to make this go away once and for all? How can I work on letting myself be happy instead of relying on temporary fixes, vices, and distractions? What will it take for this girl to finally be freed from the chains that weigh her down and have fun?
The stuff that we go through in life- the negative and the knocks- we can choose to take us down, or we can choose to stand up or rise up and make us even more brilliant and beautiful.
The truth is that I haven’t felt like myself for a while now. My workouts stopped back in February and since March I’ve hardly been able to get out of bed. My appetite has lessened as time goes on, even failing to eat breakfast most mornings which used to be a mandatory task within twenty minutes of waking up. I’ve even lost my taste for coffee, which sounds strange to those that know me and the inevitable Starbucks cup that used to be in my hand. I’ve stopped volunteering as much, even canceling from time to time because I couldn’t motivate myself to go; and sadly I’ve done the same a few times with class. And then there is my whole financial situation, which was mainly a result of using shopping to fill the void that has been living inside of me for a while now. (Note: I kept doing it because it never really worked more than a temporary fix.)
As of most recent, I’ve lost sight of myself these last few months- 3 months to be exact. With my summer funk continuing, school beginning, and work proving to be more and more unsettling, my life collided with that of someone whom I refer to as “Cleveland”. As if everything else wasn’t enough, I became overloaded with conflicting desires, emotions, and morals. Looking back I don’t necessary regret it, but know that I should have walked away from the beginning. I should have trusted myself enough to know that I didn’t have the strength nor energy to handle something of that nature. But then again, I liked the attention and the fact he wanted me.
But this post isn’t about “Cleveland” nor blaming him for my personal problems. I mean, if anything, he actually helped me feel good about myself for a while. But again this isn’t about him. Instead it’s about me. Me, myself, and I. It’s about what’s going on with me and the struggles I’ve endured this past year. Interesting enough, it really hasn’t been a bad year at all. However, I know that certain stressors have pulled at my strings for some time now and it’s gotten to the point where I really couldn’t suppress them anymore.
I was doing so much better starting yesterday, after taking some time for myself; and because of this, I know that I’ll continue to feel better. Even though I’ve felt off for a long time I always knew that things would get better. After all, it always gets better. (This too shall pass.) Honestly I’ve just been struggling to figure out a way to get started. The beginning of school and trip to California provided temporary reliefs, but in essence it was never proved to be enough. However, with regards to the California trip and other moments of happiness, they’ve always helped to remind me that how I felt during those times is how I want to always feel.
So that brings me today, which is the beginning Day 10 of getting over “Cleveland”. I’m feeling stronger; much stronger than I was a few days ago when I was numb to the world and had eyes filled with tears. I’m stronger. Today I am stronger, and tomorrow I’ll be a little bit stronger than I am today. I know this because I’m letting myself feel more than I have for the majority of this past year. I’m not suppressing all of the stresses and sadness that once consumed my body and took over my mind. I know it’s not a 10-day cure-all miracle, but by growing stronger every day I know that it’s achievable. I know that I’ll achieve it.
As tough as these days have been at times, I am seeing them as a blessing in disguise. Every mistake is a lesson learned. Every heartbreak is a stepping stone. Those tears, well they were clearing my eyes so I could see better. I may never know if “Cleveland” walked into my life or if I walked into his, but I can accept that it happened to make me stronger. And I can accept I am where I am today in order to get where I’m going. When life doesn’t seem to make sense, we can merely call it a lesson learned.
I couldn’t end this post without saying “Thank You” to everyone who continues to stand by my side. Most of you know that I have the tendency to take care of others much more than myself and that this tends to get me into trouble when I reach my limit and crash. But because of you, I always pick myself back up again. You give me your hands so I can wipe off my knees and jump back in. So because of you, I’m able to restart again. You are the ones who have helped me stand up again.
Song of the Moment: A Little Bit Stronger by Sara Evans
Closure. This is ultimately the one thing that people seek following a break-up. Others may want their favorite sweatshirt back, or perhaps a hot new fling, but most who have ever gotten their heart broken in the history of broken hearts will confirm that closure is the ideal parting gift.
Now I can’t quite say that “Cleveland” and I have just gone through a break-up because, quite frankly, we were never really in a relationship, per say. However, I am able to admit that this may be the most amount of closure I’ve ever received from the ending of a “relationship”. It still hasn’t been easy, especially the whole missing him part, but at least there are no unanswered questions or doubts. I know all that I need to know in order to let go and move on.
Sometimes two people meet for a reason; a reason that may not fully be understood for a while- if ever. Looking back on the past three months since the night “Cleveland” and I met, there is certainly evidence of serendipity. To be blunt, I think my presence allowed him to finally address some things in his life- things that he may have continued to repressed if our meeting never took place.
His entry into my life made a difference too. For one, he showed me that someone is willing to take a chance on me. And he not only told me that I was beautiful, but he made me feel it.
These last few days I’ve thought about him more than I’d like to admit. But I haven’t cried, nor will I. Instead, I think of him and smile. Yes, I miss him. And he says he misses me. But I also know that while we may have been meant to enter one another’s lives, the plan never indicated that we would stay. When we said our goodbyes, I knew we meant them. I knew we had to.
Song of the Moment: Over You by Miranda Lambert