It's Okay To Want Something And Still Struggle Through The Process
I spent the last 10 days asking myself a lot of questions. It started on the plane ride to India when to my right sat a woman who didn’t hesitate in sharing that she had lost her husband a little over a year ago. She made me question why I felt so resistant sharing that I’d lost my mom 16 years ago to the day. For as long as I remember I’ve had a fear of appearing too heavy, or emotionally charged. I don’t think that I’m much different from anyone who fears rejection or not being properly embraced. My discomfort didn’t come from the human tendencies I was owner of, it came from the fact that usually I was able to move past them.
I’m in a season of my life where for the first time my want to still write or share hasn’t been enough to push me past the fear.
My writing has suffered as a result and the words I write end up in half written essays saved on my desktop. I turned to journals over the last year as safe ways to write down where my mind is without having to show my cards to the world. The more I realized that this is what I was hiding behind, the less I wanted to write in journals, the less I wanted to hide. On my flight back to New York, I bluntly asked myself who I thought I was —if I had to describe myself to someone else how would I do it.
I’m a twenty-six year old woman who is learning to love and to trust even after being hurt. Someone who is relatable in her most human moments because pulling the curtain back doesn’t expose, it just lets more people in and lets everyone feel less alone.
We inherit beliefs that we’re meant to be perfect and that sharing feelings means ignoring happiness — I felt disappointed in myself because I’ve championed the notion that you can have both, or all, and yet, I have had a really hard time sharing my happiness, while also sharing how much I’ve worked through other feelings to be able to sit in it.
Actively loving someone the second time around isn’t easy on you as an individual. You question a lot of who you are, what your motivations are, what you want for yourself and whether you’re giving things up in the process. The scariest questions rarely have anything to do with the other person in a relationship or friendship and more to do with whether you feel strong enough again to trust yourself within one. The number of times I’ve had to navigate friend breakups has made it especially difficult for me to invite new friends into my life or to commit to building up those friendships the ways I normally would have.
On the flight back I just kept on listing all the things that I’m not alone in navigating at 26 — friend breakups, falling in love, redefining family and home, pivoting career goals, learning to be protective of myself, without barricading myself in the process.
I have the words and so many stories, but none can be told without first admitting that I have a hard time taking the bandage off of my wounds because it hurts me to look at them just as much as it does the next person. It’s not comfortable to acknowledge how much we impose perfection on ourselves, even within the healing process. The stories I want to tell are rooted in my ability to tell them openly and vulnerably and to feel like I don’t lose myself in the process of sharing them.
At some point over vacation I had the words, “you’re not as curated — you just share,” said to me and it made me exhale for the first time in a long time. They were right. I don’t curate my feelings, I just write until I understand them. It’s who I am, who I’ve always been, and who I’m working to come back to.