Stopping. The world stopping. Your head stopping. That’s heaven – part of it at least for me. I’ve spent my life running – not literally running, I’d be in a better shape if I had been, but figuratively running, running away from things and franticly running towards something. I’ve moved across continents to escape my problems and issues – but those fuckers don’t need a plane ticket or google maps to find you, they’ll ride along anyways. I’ve killed myself at work chasing deadlines, “unrealistic” goals, and a title I thought I needed – at the expense of a burnout a few years ago. I’ve been running. Not stopping. Not breathing. Not enjoying. Running.
I’ve been running away from my issues (got plenty of them, you’re smart, I’m sure you’ve gathered that already), trying to climb that career ladder (because validation), and dealing with anxiety, depression, and sooooooooooooooo many issues, so, so many issues. But hey, got a fancy title! I’m a global head of my function in a multinational organization as of last year. Like giving me global responsibility of anything is a great idea… Anyways! I started therapy a few years ago to deal with the forementioned issues, and I have come a long way. But I do still have fun chats with my therapist where I tell her what I’ve done and what I’m about to do and just see her shaking her head in her mind. Her words say “oh of course, I understand”, her eyebrows say “the fuck…again…haven’t we talked about this” and the voices in her head are probably screaming, SCREAMING; “the fuck’s a matter with you!”. …man, it must be tough to be a therapist. At least when I see an idiot at my work I can call them an idiot…
Anyways. Back to the original point. Life inventory. I have come a long way. Partly because of all the running. I did climb that career ladder. But also because of the therapy. I have worked a lot on my head – the harmful mental models, the unhealthy coping mechanisms, the self-sabotaging and the negative voices in my head. They are not gone, but I acknowledge they are there. I’m at a place where I’m living with my damage, still dealing with it and healing from it, but no longer neglecting it or denying it. I’m in a place where I see my life more clearly – what happened and how it impacted me, my behaviours, and my choices. I am in that place where I can stop for a moment, look around, and choose where to go next.
It’s a nice place to stop. A good place to take a breather. Also thanks to COVID – I don’t have my normal excuse of travelling so much for work that I can’t focus on my life. I’ve been able to stop. Breathe. Think. I feel like I’ve just climbed a mountain and I’m sitting at the top of it looking around. I wanted to stop there. I needed to stop there. I wanted to take a moment and see where I’m at, where I came from. I wanted to figure out what’s next.
Interestingly – I picked up a pen and my note pad. I started to write down what defined me – who I’ve always seen myself as. And that was easy. I could easily fill that paper with bullet points of how, and what, had defined me so far:
- Daughter of an alcoholic father and an emotionally abusive mother
- Best in class in school
- Depression, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety
- Overachiever at work
- Always smiling and charming as hell
- Never felt like I belong anywhere
- Proud of my capabilities – I’m determined, smart, and resourceful
- Perfectionist, stoic, afraid to ask for help
- Poor, barely getting by
- A chameleon – I will adapt to whatever people or situation I’m dealing with and charm my way through
- A mental mess – I will open my apartment door with my key, close it, and fall to my knees hysterically crying
- …All that, and so much more, coupled with a nice selection of unhealthy coping mechanisms!
I do feel like I’m at the point of my life where I can, I should, leave all that behind, use this moment for figuring out what I want to carry forward – where am I headed next, what I want with me, and who I am going forward as. I was trying to write that down – what defines me now. I got stuck. Stuck! I couldn’t write a single thing down. While I can easily write down what I’ve been and where I’m coming from, I cannot define where I’m now or where I’m headed. I don’t know. I started crying. …I do cry a lot… surprisingly a lot…anyone who knows me would be shocked. Back to my point; I wanted to start doing everything else but writing. It took me a good hour or so to pick up that pen and start writing down who I am today. It was easier to live in the cloak of the former me, not easy to open it, break it, step away from it, leave it behind. What I am today, is not what I was before.
- I can ask for help – I have plenty of amazing friends who know my struggles and support me, and a therapist who is getting way too comfortable with calling me out on my bullshit
- I’m not a vulnerable kid anymore – I don’t have to rely on fucked up people to choose for me, I can make my own fucked up decisions, and own them
- I don’t have to rely on others for money or food or other things – I make enough money to buy things I need and don’t need (my credit card agrees)
- I don’t have to prove myself at work – got that fancy title that tells people I must know what I’m talking about (works out great in theory….in reality; mixed results)
Looking forward to discussing this particular gem of self-reflection with my therapist and hearing her words say “that’s great! I’m so proud of you” …and seeing her eyebrows say “…….duh…….”. Maybe the voices in her head will go with “there’s hope for this one yet”. And maybe there is?