Yesterday I read a post by the Huffington Post called “To Anyone Who Thinks They are Falling Behind in Life” by Jamie Varon. I needed to hear it. It isn’t that anything specific happened last week to make me feel like a failure, it is more of a constant feeling of not doing “enough.” I search for more and then shame myself when I don’t live up to my own unrealistic expectations. So I feel that I need to lay all of my ish out there, not seeking for pity or consolation, but so that I can get it out of myself and look at it. Look at it real hard.
No holds barred, here is my real “about me.”
Things that I am dealing with, in no particular order- both positive and negative-
Dog owner, sibling of a person with down syndrome, 4 degrees from UK, job that combines my academic and personal passions, depression and anxiety, PCOS, hypothyroidism, grief from my brother’s death and my grandfather’s death, father with unique severe cancer, middle of paying down debt from graduate school, condo owner, boyfriend, queer identity and how to maintain it, overeating, sense of humor, artist.
Phew. That is a lot.
If I am really honest with myself, really honest, I haven’t done too badly… I also think I take myself too seriously. If my brother could spend his last words to me making a joke while he was in INTENSIVE CARE, then I can learn to let go a little more.
Wait… let me put that in context. I do have a sense of humor, but I am very serious with my own goals. I need to give myself more grace. Here is the picture that I took at our last staff meeting with words that other people used to describe me- notice “best sense of humor” is pretty prominent.
Where does this leave me? I do have a lot of pain. Pain from my past, pain from what is happening in the present, self-imposed pain and external pain. I want to get it out of me and let it go.
I often leave myself out or last. I think a part of this comes from growing up with Paul. I am not blaming him or making an excuse. The relationship of a sibling with a disability has shaped my entire view of the world. Paul was a beautiful enigma but he needed a lot of care. I loved him deeply and feel almost like he was my son. Growing up I was exceeding expectations, so I let my needs go to make sure that he was alright. He brought a lot of joy to my life, but also took a lot of energy. Fighting for myself was a secondary thought because in context what did I really have to fight for? I could eat, speak clearly, run, go to school, get married, drive, live on my own, etc. Paul could do those things sometimes, but needed a lot of help to get there. Then when he was struggling with Hepatitis C for the last 7 years of his life, it was an even bigger need.
I matter. I need to frame my thoughts to support my needs. I also need to be gentle with myself. Having goals is not bad. Having unrealistic goals and then shaming myself for not reaching them is.
Where do I go from here?