I have been feeling so much pressure to define who I am and what I am doing. Every time I think I have something going, one way or another I end up questioning myself. I know this should be the last thing I do. No wait, actually I shouldn’t do it at all. In any case, I was questioning myself and where I am headed in life. This led me to take a break from EVERYTHING. In the end, I felt guilty. Guilty for not spending extra time with my kids over their short summer college break. Guilt over not spending time with the one child who IS on an extended summer break (Florida schools have an almost 3-month summer break). Then there is the guilt about not hanging out with friends, or not calling, but really…if they were worried, wouldn’t they ring me? Or maybe they too are overwhelmed and needing to take a mini life break. Truthfully, it was the guilt that occupied my mind more than anything else. I am overloaded and overwhelmed. Lemme ‘splain Lucy…
My Day, Every Day:
Each day I sit at my desk (OK, the kitchen table) and try to focus. My mind is blank. OK, not blank – swirling with blog post ideas that are just beyond my reach, wondering how I will pass the math portion of an exam I must take to recertify (Yup, going back to teaching) and then where I am going to get a job teaching, since at the hiring fair all the school posted signs, “No Vacancies, Taking Resumes”). My brain starts listing the to-do list for the next five weeks and how I am packing for a mini-cation and why am I even trying when I am alone in this fight. OK, not alone, but it sure feels like it sometimes. Maybe I should get another cup of coffee…
And then, my beautiful child, sweet light of my life most of the time, wanders into the kitchen and without a thought asks for something. I answer, maybe get up to help her find or make what she needs, and when I come back to my laptop, I am frustrated and ready to rip my hair out from losing my train of thought. Of course, the truth is that it had nothing to do with her minor interruption. I am frustrated because I didn’t have a train of thought, I’m stuck on the platform at the station staring into the distance, wondering when the heck that train is coming. I try not to get bothered when someone (kid or hubby) interrupt me because I’ve given in to the fact that this is their purpose on this earth. To drive their parents/spouse crazy. I love them, honestly. Now back to the story.
So, there I was trying to get my mind in order and BOOM! Here come the social media notifications! I have messages on Twitter about that overdue book review (sorry, it was boring) and nobody on Facebook has heard from me in a while, do I want to compose a post (for 2 accounts not including personal. And to my friends, I am sorry- if you need me, reach out because I am floating between time and space) . Last but not least, IG, which ironically is the only medium I am currently keeping track of, because it is easier to hide the overwhelm and find acceptance there folks. WHAM! I face a wall of resistance instantly. I understand that social media is an excellent way to reach people who could use my help, either my introspective posts or my freelance services. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
So here I sit, feeling guilty because not only did I get nothing done with my business but I also blew off my baby girl. A dark cloud began to hover over my head. I felt it throughout the entire day, no energy, no desire to continue anything, nothing. So I did what any sane person would do: naptime. This theme repeats almost every single day. I keep hearing those voices in my head, take a break, take a break… But I chose not to listen. That would have been too easy.
Enough is Enough
Honestly peeps, I was almost at my breaking point. Finally, I said, “OK I give in.” Well as life would have it, things don’t go according to plan. As my wise grandfather used to say, (may he RIP) “Man proposes, G-d disposes.” I had promised myself to take a break and walk more, eat better, catch up on my reading, meditate and reflect, more. I needed to get a firm idea of who I am and what the bejeezus I am doing with my life. I told myself I was going to continue the blog posting. Yeeaaah… that didn’t happen. And I’m sorry to the few who take the time to read these biweekly words.
During the past two weeks, I just accepted life and what she wants to show me. I finally read that Neil Gaiman graphic novel I’ve been craving for the past few years, and I enjoyed it immensely. You can ask me about this in a comment or of you run into me at my fave coffee shop. I think I needed time away from absolutely everything. I can’t say I didn’t have guilty moments that I wasn’t doing anything with my blog or trying to find freelance work. I just sucked it up and allowed myself to be present, which truthfully is hard as heck for me. I realized that I am nervous. I’m worried about all the expectations I put on myself, especially since I want to go back into teaching and continue writing, blogging, etc. I’m terrified that I will fail to meet any if not all of those goals.
I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. It comes with the mild OCD – Don’t touch my dragons! (For those of you baffled…I collect fantasy figurines, or I used to) The image of needing to do things correctly and be perfect has been a part of me for so long that it keeps bubbling up to the surface. I want this blog to succeed, but perhaps I have been sabotaging it with my expectations. Maybe my hubby is right, and nobody wants to READ anymore. I’m so camera shy that vlogging is a distant future for me, if at all. I am aware of the tendencies I have that make it hard to move forward. But I am finding a teeny-weeny crack in that outer shell of perfectionism.
In my world, I make loads of mistakes, and I am continually changing my mind. I’m OK with my imperfections. But I do understand that I must have all my ducks in a row for success. Being a person who takes things literally and quite seriously, I feel pressured by those ducklings because that’s what everyone else expects. Can there be an alternative? Another way to find success and happiness?
So, here’s the deal. I know I probably won’t reflect as much as I should. I have a lot of studying to get done to recertify my teaching license. And I am worried I won’t be in a classroom when school begins, and I want it so much. I miss everything about it, except maybe the take home work. But I love those little eager faces and watching when that EUREKA! moment happens.
The truth is, I am always reflecting, it’s automatic, especially when I’m driving. I need to gain some self-acceptance. I accept that things may not always be perfect and I have to hunker down on a mission until I figure things out. Feeling rushed offers me no benefit. I need to trust that everything is developing at its right time. Listening to what I am telling ME is most important. And I am telling myself that I need a break.
I’m going to take you guys with me, even if the posts happen once a week instead of two, on my mini-cation. I’m going to visit my son, wander through his city and stop along the way home to see places I have never been. A two-week break from my reality will clear the cobwebs and freshen up everything in my overwhelmed life.
I am smart enough to do this. I have to learn to trust myself more. That has been difficult for me before, but I know that I am making slow and steady progress. It’s all part of my evolution. There will always be a recommended way to do things, but I have a human to consider. We all make mistakes. That’s how we grow and learn and evolve. What matters most is doing what feels right to you, in your deepest heart.
I know who I am. Even though I might have some hiccups in trusting myself, I have come a long way baby. I know that when we feel stuck, it’s hard to make changes or even take baby steps. But we can do this. If you are struggling, look deep within. You know who you are. Have faith in yourself and what you do. Remember that we all write our own story and we can decide when to create a plot twist.