I have spent my entire life running. Running from my family, from my home town, from the legacy that would have been mine had I stayed. I ran from everything that I was told I was better than and toward a life that promised prosperity and the future.
As a teenager my only goal was to leave my home town. My Mother always told that I was meant for something more. She told me that I was special. I didn’t grow up in a conventional house, I grew up surrounded by bikers and people with ‘alternate lifestyles’. Lifestyles that to this day that I will not talk about. You never break rule No. 1. You don’t talk about family business.
I also grew up with a mother who didn’t like to talk. We didn’t talk about anything of significance, ever. I think that it’s because she was afraid that she would upset me. I grew up with a caring and supportive family who love me, my mum genuinely thought that she was doing me a service by protecting me form reliving the experiences that I had survived. Little did she know that all of the pressure to be something amazing and all of the avoidance of talking about anything of substance would alter the direction of my life forever and lead me to where I am today; twenty-eight, successful, confident, but a mess and unsure of who I am.
The things I ran from can’t be reduced to a list. It was a whole way of life that I wasn’t meant to be a part of. I ran from the time I turned sixteen. This meant not getting a job, it meant studying. I was accepted into university early and worked my butt off. I worked and worked and somehow, along the way, my life became a list of things that I needed tick off. A list of things that I believed would finally make me successful. A list of things that would make my mum proud of me. The list went something like this;
- Graduate from high school
- Leave my little suburban town
- Get into university
- Graduate with good grades
- Move somewhere that wasn’t my home town
- Get a good job
- Study more
- Find love
- Get married
- Have Babies
- Move to suburbia
This was my list. And here I am, twenty-eight, I finished my Masters in Perioperative Nursing a month ago, I’m a manager in my department and I’m getting married. I finally got to a point where I believed I was successful. I had achieved everything that I had ever wanted and was finally up to the good part. Taking some time to relax before I started a family or I started my PhD. I had finally done it. So why did I feel so uneasy?
This all happened around the time of my birthday. I put my increased anxiety down to freaking out over my almost-thirty-milestone but as my birthday came and went, this feeling in my chest didn’t. It wasn’t until my psychologist asked me what I was doing with my life that I realized I didn’t know. I didn’t know who I was or my purpose. I had had a single minded focus to make something of myself but I forgot to discover who I was in the process.
Who am I? What do I actually want in life? Do I want the house in the suburbs or the kids (I’m pretty sure last weeks’ blog gave a hard no on the suburbs)? I had spent my whole life working to get to this point, a point in my life where I could finally stop and just be and I couldn’t. I had no idea what I wanted to do once I had reached my goal.
So what did I do? I fell apart. I have suppressed my emotions and my past traumas and run away my whole life, it’s all I’ve known. So once I completed my life long to do list and was still for just a second everything came rushing back, or rather, it came crashing down. Every little past emotion, every death, every scene that cannot be unseen, every disappointment, every heartache bubbled to the surface in waves of uncontrollable anxiety.
I took a week off of work so that I could sleep, so that I could be alone with my emotions and so I could see my psychologist. She made me write a list of all of the things that I think have had an effect on me throughout my life that I have never had the opportunity to deal with and we are going through it one by one. She tells me that I have to deal with my past before I can figure out my present or my future.
I’m an avoider, it’s a lifelong habit learned. I don’t deal with conflict, I sweep it under the rug, I push it down until it doesn’t exist anymore but what I have learned is that things need to be dealt with because trauma can leave scars that itch and fester for eternity and sooner or later they will reappear and destroy you. It’s something to work on.
I still don’t know who I am but I am working on it. That’s what this blog is about, me and my journey to enlightenment and self-realization. It’s going to be a messy and controversial ride and you know what? I might never get there, but at least I’m trying.
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