Katie doesn’t have any experience with this topic—that’s why she’s opening up to all of you in hopes of learning more!
I have always been strong. Strong in the physical sense and strong in the communal sense.
But here lately I haven’t been strong. It feels like I’ve been barely holding it together. I still smile, though. I still laugh. I still get out of bed and take care of everything I need to.
So the few that I’ve told I’m struggling, see the smiles and laughter, and it’s like they don’t take me seriously. They just “hope tomorrow is a better day.”
But on second thought, what else could they say? What do I say in those moments? There is no way for me to know what someone is going through unless they tell me.
I haven’t told a single person the full scope of what I’m feeling lately so I can’t possibly expect them to feel bad for me. And that’s not even what I want in the first place. I don’t want pity, answers, or comfort. Maybe I do?
I already feel the need to tell myself, ‘but it could be worse.’
It’s becoming somewhat dangerous always resorting to, “it could be worse.” It’s a coping mechanism. I am avoiding dealing with my own struggles (or my feelings towards them) because I don’t want to admit that I have any to begin with. I don’t want to have problems—I’m tired of the stress.
I actually just laughed out loud at that. “I don’t want to have problems.” Problems either get solved or they don’t, and the experiences from the journey of either problem-to-solution or problem-to-no-solution is where life happens and how we grow.
I know. I know. I get it.
I started writing this blog as just a note on my phone. I wrote down all the things that have been bothering me lately. Some are more serious than others, but they all had one thing in common — they were all made-up. In every single bulleted ‘problem,’ so to speak was, “I feel like…” Each stated fact was followed up by my own, self-imposed concern and that’s what was actually bothering me. To dissect even more, each self-imposed concern was rooted in a fear of what others will think of me.
Did you notice I started this whole blog trying to defend myself. As if human people who have problems aren’t strong?
Whenever I am trying to sort things out emotionally, I typically think, “Ok, how would I go about this if it were a dance or piece of choreography?”
I sat with that question for a while. A long while.
And the honest truth is, I’d push through regardless of pain or discomfort to perform. In a dance when a problem occurs you improvise, fluidly accept the change, and act is if that was the intention all along…or at least that would be the goal.
But human life is not a performance. It isn’t staged. It’s not something to be displayed on some sort of pedestal.
You’re going to see me mess up and struggle and make wrong decisions. I have to remember that that’s where we all can relate, grow, and discover new possibilities. (I tell my students all the time, you will get selected out of an audition more times than not based on how well you recover from mistakes … never if you were perfect.)
I also have to remember that I’m not the first person to have struggles. That’s funny to write because, duh. I guess it just goes to show that sometimes we need basic reminders, too. (Another dance analogy: My students know that I could talk about a demi-pliè for hours).
When I started thinking about this blog this week, I was in full reactionary mode saying ‘it could be worse’ almost flippantly. I had every intention of telling you all my problems. I was going to put it all out there. And why? There could be different answers here — 1) just seeking attention? 2) sharing experiences for the sake of growing together? 3) trying to acknowledge problems as a way of dealing with them?
But as I said earlier, my true answer was — that was my way of avoiding the feelings.
Once I accept my feelings toward the situation, then I’m able to move forward. And news flash, my feelings toward the situation don’t change the reality of it.
I guess that’s the retrospect part that sucks the most; I spend all this time worrying when there wasn’t anything I could have done to change it in the first place.
I think that makes us the strongest.
When we hit bumps in the road, how do we react? Slam on the brakes and stare at it? Drive off-road avoiding the bump completely? Turn around? Or plow right over it?
I’ve been driving off-road to avoid the bump completely. Yes, I’m still moving forward but the bump is still there and either I’ll have to drive back over it one day or someone else will have to deal with it.