It’s been a bit stressful around here, lately. Work has been a major cause of it. I’m less than a month away from finishing my second Master’s degree–knee deep in thesis Hell. I’m trying to heal a whole bunch of the past in my life, and I’m dealing with buried emotions from years ago. All during grief season. With special holiday bonuses.
The grief, itself, has been better this year. Though the holidays feel too close and not nearly far enough away. I don’t want to think about them. Oddly, the grief I feel for them–this year–doesn’t come from the burden of feeling I need to celebrate them…though I don’t want to…as is usually the case. This year, the grief is about my wanting to celebrate and “be normal.” I was looking forward to decorating and doing things. But things are stopping me from doing just that. Real things that have little to do with the typical things and more to do with the changes I’m trying to implement.
It’s a lot. I’ve been having a lot of tearful moments…feeling a lot of panic and anxiety. It feels like everyone wants a piece of me, and I’m picked to the bones.
Work, this past summer and fall, has been emotionally and physically draining. It has eaten up all my energy and time. I’ve been angry and resentful. Conflict does that to me, and so does the burden of speaking up about my own needs. I still have problems saying no–and that part of me continually throws me under the bus–so there’s nothing left for anything else. Only everything else needs me to be here and happy. Most days, I intend to do so much and end up numbing out instead–because my brain hurts, and it never stops. And all of it builds up into more pressure, rage, and resentment.
I’ve had to learn to be less aggressive with self-care. Cutting myself some slack about it–because I am a perfectionist even there. Knowing when I’m irrational is different from being able to stop myself from being irrational and going down that road.
And of course, it all manifests into being tired and sick. Which makes me more tired and sick and mad. Which makes everything else feel more impossible. This vicious cycle of pointless pressure and anger.
By December 6th, I have to basically validate my entire career and all the choices I made–for myself–without my mother’s input. I have to climb that very first big rung on the ladder to My Purpose. The one I chose. The one she knows nothing about. People are counting on me. People expect things. I expect things. THIS is what I DO. All day, every day. And though I’ve often told myself it means nothing and is not worthy of me and my talents, the truth is–it’s what I’ve done and it means too much, sometimes.
I CARE about it. Not like my other Master’s that I don’t use. This one, I will use. This one, I have used. This one means I have something to do. Things I want to do. This one means I might just get what I want–all those rungs later. It means I have to keep going when I’m tired and fed up. It means I have to find a way to pay for it and find the energy to do it. And believe in myself. More than anything. More than everyone else. It means I get to be the person I was meant to be–to be the person they all knew I could be. It means I can’t make excuses. It means I can’t fail because everything I do from now on is mine.
It means I have faced the gremlin in my head who asks me, “Who the Hell do you think you are?”
It means I will actually have something to show for all of it–that I’m actually proud of.
That maybe I do know something, after all. That maybe I really AM as powerful as I’ve always thought.
What a scary thought that is.
For years, I’ve carried around this heavy train of bullshit that I’ve inherited from other people. As I deal more with it, the more it seems to manifest in my life as clutter and constant busy. The more it gets in the way of clarity and peace. The more tired and sick of it I am.
And yet, I continue to let it exist. I even hold on to it–to distract myself from my real work–to confirm what the gremlin keeps telling me:
You can’t do this. People like you never get what they want. You will never be happy. You will never have peace. You are not normal. You are guilty and wrong. Who do you think you are? Your mother won’t recognize you. You don’t recognize you. You’re too big for your britches.
I don’t know how–but somehow–I’m going to be okay with all of that. Someday soon.