[I used to think that I had to (rush) have a stable enough life that I could live in the same place, have a real career job, and be happy and mostly stable in order to find love. Since love seems to be the height of the human experience or something like that, and I just feel pretty lonely sometimes, it was a pretty big enticement towards doing those other things I wasn’t so sure about: picking a place to live, and figuring out what I want to do with my life. Sure, I had some romances that were short-lived, and I blamed it all on my being a mess, and I couldn’t wait to figure it all out so fate could bring us back together and happily ever after could begin. Wheew]
I feel a lot of anxiety and fear over any choice I make. I try to evaluate the decisions I’ve made, often flog myself with a wet noodle, and draw all kinds of premature conclusions about how I’ll never get it right.
Sometimes I’m also afraid of what I want.
Today was an awesome day where I did not regret going to business school and had great experiences come my way. It was really inspiring. It gave me more confidence in myself. Yet, despite the dawning clarity of what I really want in a career and location, and maybe even in a man, I feel afraid. I feel so responsible for the outcome of my life, my efforts, the justice or injustice of the universe, and how it all adds up to 42. Sometimes I’ve felt like nothing will ever be right, and just when I’m feeling things start to add up I feel a little bit of anxiety, even through the happiness. Realizing that I can’t travel all paths, and no matter how long I try to defer making a decision and calling something my career, that will still be a decision, and I’ll still be looking for my path, which is a path.
Earlier I had considered going into academia. I would say that I quit that idea when things started to get messy and uncertain. When there was a path, but you weren’t sure where it was going to lead. Last year I had a wonderful time being a teacher, when I wasn’t stressed out about what I was REALLY going to do with my life and how I’d never warrant all the resources that had gone into the making of me, feeling like I’d never be successful enough, be simply enough, to justify it all.
Well, guess what- I am enough.
And I do make good decisions, because I’m determined to make the most out of the opportunities that come my way. Not even being an engineer or MBA will make the world fall into your lap, or some other super clear skill with a set path- there is no set path, possibly not even for a teacher. And no one will come knocking on your door to ask you to come with them so you can live in a house made of candy and have the coolest job ever. So in the end, it really is what you make of it. You can make the “worst” choice in the world- but if you learn from it, maybe the benefits will outweigh the costs.
I realize now that life is just a giant experiment, and I can’t get so upset when my hypotheses are disproven. I don’t have a crystal ball, and just because my infinite wisdom was called into question and I acted like a human being, I don’t deserve to live a sad and resentment filled life. There are consequences that have to be paid for, yes, but maybe they come with their own lesson and their own advantages too. They shape the path, and sometimes that can be helpful, because to a true artist a blank canvas is the most difficult to work with.
And yet, I am so afraid of sullying my canvas. i want it to stay white and pure. I want my novel to remain unwritten and full of promise, and no human error, existential, typographical, or otherwise.
I guess this is where self-compassion, and willingness to make mistakes, come in. I guess this is where I have to love the self I am now in order to have the courage to become- to drape paint on the canvas, and denude my soul on the page. Instead of searching for some Platonistic ideal self I have to find by backpacking in Europe, frequenting cafes of the 1920s Left Bank or Vienna, and spending my days in self-psychoanalysis-paralysis, I have to just be. And become. And act. And DO!
I want to fight all the restrictions against me- to have the blankest of blank slates, to be what I “should” be. I want to know who I am in a vacuum. And yet, as a human, I am not in a vacuum. Though I do have that little still, small, voice inside me. The part that says, Megan, this isn’t quite right. And sometimes, often less audibly- this is AMAZING!
I want to fight off anything from the outside that might drip onto my canvas, or trim or tame its arctic biting whiteness in anyway, but at the same time, I am afraid to claim it as my own, and write the signature on the bottom right corner. I’m so afraid of getting a tatoo-not because of the needles, but because it really might be forever. And apparently, forever gets painted into the flesh with pain, onto skin that will change, and one day wither with time.
So back to choices- they need to be made. You can’t become if they aren’t made. And it’s true- they aren’t all yours, but you have to live with them, like eating a bag of potato chips after being subjected to subliminal messaging. The responsibilities are all yours, but it’s not like society didn’t have a hand in the decisionmaking process.
It’s not just about taking their hands out of the cookie jar of your soul, it’s about finding the gold in the center of the rose ever blooming in your heart, the jewel instead the thousand petaled lotus. If you can’t find that, you are just flying blind anyway.
So dream, and do, and don’t be afraid. Don’t fear your choices or your destiny. Approach with reverence, prayer, and wonder. And have the confidence to make that first brushstroke-
Let go of fear, embrace and love your life!
Yours with love,