Living Life Purposefully

Where Purpose Meets Passion

Tag Archives: Crossroads

Denying Others for Your Self (Crossroads, pt. 3)

This is it.

This is the piece that’s taken so long to share because it forced me to recognize a lot. It’s one thing to stand in a mirror and view your reflection; but it’s a completely different thing to feel as if your soul has been cracked open and you are beginning to spill out for everyone to see. In growing older, I always wanted to feel like I was in control of my happiness. In coming to this point, I realized that to understand what makes you happy, you have to understand you.

And I don’t mean the you that everyone has told you that you are but the real You!

For me, I’ve learned that even in my darkest and most confusing moments, music makes my soul dance. I’ve learned that silence is where I feel most complete. I’ve been shown that I’m capable of quite a few things — and possibly succeeding at all the things I wish to undertake. I’m strong and my strength isn’t like those closest to me.

But perhaps the most confusing, and ultimately the most important, thing I’ve learned is that it is okay for me to speak up for myself.

Here’s why that’s important: I’ve lived a life where I’ve always thought of the comfort of others. I’ve always viewed myself as someone whose sole purpose was to help others achieve their dreams. In my heart of hearts, I don’t mind this but lately a piece of me has been struggling to step forward.

And that’s what these particular posts have been about.

I used to say to myself that my biggest fear was being forgotten by my loved ones. Lately, I feel as though it’s to live life as a coward. I’ve stopped myself from experiencing life because I’ve been afraid to fail an I’ve been afraid to disappoint those close to me. I’ve been afraid to say no and to live and to walk away from those closest to me. I’ve been afraid to let the pieces in other people’s lives. I’ve been afraid of letting others feel the way I’ve felt for the majority of my life – unsupported.

And in that, I’ve been quiet. I’ve made myself smaller and convinced myself that I have no dreams. I’ve done some things in life simply because it was expected. I’ve swallowed my hurt and I’ve quieted my needs. I’ve been the person that people have laughed at. And I told myself it was because it would make them happy. And it would fix things.

Now I see that it won’t. That it doesn’t and that it never well. I don’t want to fix other people’s problems. I don’t want to be the one that has all of the answers. I don’t want to be the one that stayed behind because someone needed me to. I don’t want to be just that.

I find myself asking what happens when you break the bonds that have unknowingly been placed on you by loved ones?

What happens when you say “no” and your real self starts to show?

Realistic Dreams (Crossroads pt. 2)

I had a strange dream. My sleep patterns have been off in a major way and that may have something to do with the amount of time I’ve been giving to this whole idea of happiness. The question that came up in my dream was: when deciding between the lesser of two evils, which do you pick? Better yet, how do you make the decision?

One question I’ve continued to pose to myself is whether I’m less okay with waking up in the future having lived a life I didn’t want OR being a person I tried my hardest not to become? I’m recognizing that fear has been a major factor in how I made my decisions. It wasn’t which path is easiest to travel but which path seemed to be more acceptable to the people in my life.

I woke up in a state of confusion and I panicked. I had a dream that felt so real I was concerned for a moment. The dream itself wasn’t bad because the scene that played out was one that I’ve wished for pretty much my entire life. I wanted a family and I wanted that family to be loving, caring and supportive of me. Except the dream wasn’t my current family. This dream was a futuristic me and the family was one I helped to create. And I felt loved. I felt cared for. I felt supported.

And I woke up in a panic.

In that moment, I realized that my biggest fear wasn’t being alone or being forgotten like I’ve told myself so many times before. Rather it was waking up wondering if I was the person I wanted to be. Did I like myself when I looked in the mirror? Did I recognize myself? Was I proud of me? Was I happy?

Waking up in a panic let me know that I wasn’t happy with that dream. The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became. In front of me was everything I ever wanted and yet, I didn’t want that. So I began to think of the details in the dreams. The rooms were plain and didn’t reflect anything I wanted to do for myself. There were no pictures or art from places I’d visited. There were no awards with my name on them. There wasn’t room for creativity and everything was boring. Everything was stuffy. Everything was monotonous.

It was safe.

And I was unhappy. As I thought about what was reflected in my surroundings, I began to cry. I’d been safe my whole life. I wasn’t daring and I wasn’t creative and I wasn’t confident in my dreams. There were no pieces of me there. No authentic expression of who I felt I was on the inside. I’d lived an entire life for other people. Making sure that nothing I did was uncomfortable for them or disturbing in any way. At that moment, I started to cry because the only thing I had to show for my unhappiness was the comfort level of other people. And in that moment, I started to cry harder than I had in a while. But this time…

I woke up for real.

To be continued…

Self-Reflection & Difficult Confessions (Crossroads pt. 1)

I’m at a crossroads in my life. A major point of transition that has come about because of some much-needed, albeit unexpected, downtime. On April 2, I underwent a surgery to remove two large fibroids and an ovarian cyst. Because of this procedure, I’m out of work for six weeks and I spent much of the first two weeks resting and lying down. I’ve come to realize that when your body is in this position and you are seemingly doing nothing, your natural inclination is to think.

And think is what I did. Thinking is all I’ve done since I came out of my medicated stupor on April 3rd.

I thought about everything, from the things that were bothering me to the things that weren’t bothering me. I was forced to think about the things that I knew I had to think about but hadn’t given the appropriate time for it.

Most surprising to me was that I thought about the things that I didn’t know I had to think about…and I honestly believe this is the reason I’m finding myself at this major crossroad.

For 22 years of my life, I’ve found myself doing things that made other people happy. For the most part, I stayed out of trouble and out of people’s way. I was quiet and I didn’t question directions as they were given to me. This made it easier to manage an otherwise stressful life. Growing up, my family faced many hardships and the ones that have left the biggest print upon my soul are homelessness and the custody battle that my biological parents waged on one another. It was during this time that I began to tell myself, “Just be quiet. It will make life easier.”

And for a while it did.

You see, in being quiet, I convinced myself that it would be selfish to ask to do the things that I knew made me happy. It would be crazy to ask that I be allowed to be a member of a dance troupe. It would be insane to ask that I be allowed to take dance lessons with a studio. But the most damaging message that I told myself was it would be selfish to enjoy my life, or try to figure out what would lead me to enjoy my life, when others around me were miserable.

My family dealt with a lot of grief – much of which we still deal with today. Recognizing this grief early on, I decided that life would be much more fair if I just accepted this and did only what was required of me. From the time that I was 10 years old until today, I did just that. I went to school. I made excellent grades. I did a few activities, but I made sure they were free (or as close to free as possible). Then when it was time to be an adult, I made decisions with my family in mind. I went away to school and majored in something reliable. Once I finished my undergraduate degree, I went on to earn my Master’s in a field that selfless but would also ensure that I could provide for my family when they needed me. I graduated, I moved back home and I got a job. Today I realized that I’m unhappy and it’s my fault.

With this realization and admission of truth, I now find myself at a crossroads.

To be continued…