Life almost never goes your way. There are people that will tell you that’s not true and those people are either naive, stupid or use the word “blessed” too often. Now there isn’t anything wrong with people who focus on the positives in life, other than we all want to strangle them most of the time. But for those people who understand that life can be an uphill struggle from start to finish but still be totally worth it and rewarding know differently.
I don’t like to talk too personally about people other than myself on here so just for the sake of this blog, let’s just say that some really shitty stuff has happened lately with my family. When something like this happens, something that is polarizing even for a short period of time and will possibly change your life going forward, what do we do to make sure that we don’t lose ourselves through the course of events and fallout? How do we not get buried under all of the details and how do we learn to take care of ourselves when we’re devoting most of our time and attention to other, necessary, things?
I pretty much have no answers. Some moments, I feel like I’m lucky to have even thought of the questions.
I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with anxiety and depression, so too often my instinct is to hide inside of myself whenever possible. I become a pro at handling information-based communication but breakdown almost entirely if things get too personal, losing the ability to speak frankly about my thoughts and feelings. I find that in order to properly handle all of the important things that need to get done, I have to sacrifice other areas that take too much of my energy.
I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, I just know it’s what I need to do in order to get done what needs to get done. My husband says I’m handling things well. He calls me the strongest person he knows (because he’s wonderful) but it definitely doesn’t feel like it. I’m freaked out most of the time and am only starting to realize that every single day, I feel like a life amateur.
There’s been no stage that I’ve been prepared for, life-wise. I didn’t know what I was doing at all when I was a kid. Being a kid is like running in brand new dress shoes, across freshly Zambonied ice on legs made of those peel-apart Twizzlers. You will literally never be stable or understand a goddamn thing that is happening to you and hopefully you’ll laugh and scream and have fun through most of it. And honestly, not too much has changed for me since. Each stage of my life has been a surprise and almost nothing like I expected. High School was both exactly like and fucking light years away from a John Hughes movie. I was a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a criminal and a princess but I’ll tell you that I never once sat in detention gabbing and learning from my peers all day while we played music and danced and snuck around the school only to be indelibly bonded to them for life. That never ever happened. College, for me, was ridiculously more vast and life-changing than I ever thought it would be — and I went in thinking it was gonna be huge. My twenties were seriously like almost the exact opposite of how I imagined them. Nothing I did felt at all sure-footed and literally no part ended up with any permanence in the long hall, save for getting my dogs and making some truly amazing friends. And my thirties, honest-to-God, ranged from “what the fuck, are you kidding me?” to “how in the fucking hell did I get here?” And that’s on both the good and bad side of things.
I’m starting to think that the moment you really grow up is when you stop trying to convince everyone that you know what you’re doing. Not at work, we all have to fake it there, but in general. When we can actually say out loud that all we’re doing in trying our best but are really only guessing at the right things to do — that’s when we earn the term “adult”. It’s not about understanding anything better or achieving some sort of experiential status. It’s just about being honest with ourselves, first and foremost, and then with everyone else about the fact that — for the most part — we don’t know fuck all about like 95% of everything. And most of that 5% that we do know are like Beatles lyrics, Friends quotes and where the best donut place is near our home.
Some days, I do wish I knew a little bit more about what I was doing. Okay, every day I wish I knew more. The lack of confidence during tough times can get scary, especially when people are counting on you. Right now, I’m finding that panic attacks are a part of my daily life but I’m also finding that I get through them every single day. I’m leaving the house knowing full well that I’ll probably have to deal with one sooner rather than later and in my parked car instead of in the safety of my home, where no one can see me. But you know what? I’m still leaving the house. I’m still doing what I need to do. I’m still hanlding my shit like a semi-pro (life amateur status still intact) and I’m still muscling through and staring in the face all of the things that make me twitch.
So, maybe my husband is right. Maybe I am stronger than I think. Maybe it’s not about how scared I am or how many days in a row I have a panic attack or how there are some moments that I feel like the smallest, tiniest speck of light in the world and that everything around me is working to snuff me out. Maybe it’s just that I keep going. Maybe it’s just that I close my eyes and gather my strength and do what needs to be done. I have my go-to’s and my rituals and my panic attack evacuation procedures and maybe it’s just that I use them everyday and I don’t allow myself to give up at life. Maybe it’s that I’ve learned to accept help from people who care about me and, for me, that’s almost harder to do than anything.
So, maybe I will be okay. Maybe I’ll even be good. And maybe my dreams will still come true even though it feels like there’s no room for them right now. Maybe I won’t give up all over again, every single day, and I’ll choose the only life for myself that I’ve ever understood.
Cause I may not know what I’m doing but I do know that the world needs me. I do know that no one has exactly what I have to offer. And I guess strength, a lot of the time, is just being able to say that and really mean it.