This is my struggle.
I remember too much and I have a difficult time letting go.
It started, in 5th or 6th grade, just after Mr. Brown asked the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Until then, the thought never crossed my mind, but in that moment, I declared that I wanted to be a writer and a teacher.
To the 10 year old me, it seemed perfectly plausible for me to make a living telling stories. To Mr. Brown and my classmates, it may have been the funniest thing anyone had said all year.
The weight of the laughter still pushes out a few tears, and my hand cramps at the thought of how many times I wrote:
“I will not disrespect Mr Brown again.”
Fuck Mr. Brown.
No disrespect intend. But, fuck that guy. And most of all FUCK the struggle that has lasted since then.
You shouldn’t have to struggle to believe that you are able to succeed and that you should follow your dreams.
Growing up, I learned a lot of really stupid shit, but I think trying to answer “What do you want to be when you grow up?” might top the list of stupid questions.
I think it’s a misguided question for three reasons.
Reason 1: I don’t even know “what do you want to be” means?
The idea seems backwards to me, and to ask a 10 year old seems a bit of a stretch.
Hell, I’m almost 39 years old, and I’m a writer and so much more. There are nearly countless ways I could label myself, and none of them are a full reflection of who I am. That question is too hard to answer even today!
Maybe, there should have been a class on meditation.
Imagine if you had been taught to breathe through the emotions and stay connected to your core sense of self; a reality where you didn’t feel as if you need to justify your own existence for life to be meaningful.
Imagine a life where you already knew who you are, and your actions reflected.
You’d move forward without so much resistance.
You would find a way around, through or over any obstacle that stood in your way.
You’d make shit happen.
For a 10 year old, it’s difficult to understand all that is meant by “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You don’t realize that the right answer is [Happy].
Reason 2: That question seems destructive and counterproductive for a lot of people.
On paper, that question is pretty straight forward
Something inside you knows what it is you want to do with your life, and you declare that’s what you want to be when you grow up. Then, the next thing to do is look for people who’ve accomplished that thing, and follow the path they took.
But, that’s not how it works out.
You’re told to be more practical. Be realistic. Set your sites lower.
It seems the world is set up to crush your dreams. (which might not be a bad thing)
It feels like a battle for your soul.
Imagine what would happen if you practice to just be you and be present.
Imagine what would happen if you looked at those ever growing lists (priorities, to dos, bucket, budgets, dreams, goals, aspirations) decided which to only focus on the most important things.
Imagine what would happen if you decided to forget all the reasons to be unhappy and you start to look for reasons to be happy.
Imagine what would happen if you decided to let yourself BE YOU when you grow up…..
Which brings me to the third question…
Question 3: Why do I have to grow up?
I don’t really see an upside here.
That sentence makes “grow up” a destination that I don’t think exists.
Growth comes in cycles. It doesn’t seem to stop. If you’re alive, you’re growing in one direction or another.
Imagine you could forget the reason you decided to believe the idea the “You’re not good enough.”
Imagine what would happen if you returned to “state of being” before you built up a lifetime worth of stress.
Imagine what would happen if you embraced your own naive child-like enthusiasm and just went for it.
I think your life and the world around you would be a better place.
Please, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t to say that you can simply let everything go and poof rainbows and butterflies. Thankfully, life doesn’t really work that way.
But, some truths we hold are not really true, no matter how badly you want them to be.
Life is tricky like that.
Day in and day out you wake up smack dab in the middle of a story that you helped create and spend the afternoon trying to figure a way out of it. It’s a vicious cycle. And the internet isn’t helping for shit.
Too many options. Too many choices.
Too much noise.
This has been my struggle.
At an early age I convinced myself of a lot of things. Among them are the following:
- You’ll never amount to shit.
- You can’t make a living as a writer.
- There are no such things as healthy marriages.
- You’re a piece of shit.
- You suck.
- No one likes you.
That list could go on and on. It has grown quite large over the past 20 years. But, a few months ago, I started taking this shit seriously.
I started journaling so that I could track my actions and see where I can improve, and in doing so I started to over ride that old story that says
“You can’t and you don’t deserve it anyhow.”
It takes time and effort to rewrite your own internal dialogue. I wish I had an instant cure. I don’t.
You suit up. You show up. You put in work.
You will change. If you’re like me, and you struggle with anxiety, self-doubt and self-esteem, then you already know how difficult change is.
It seems like no matter what you do, you find yourself buried in shame.
Keep digging. You can do this.
Put your stake in the ground. Claim this moment as yours. Stand strong.
You got this.
Talk to you next week.
Love your faces!
PS. Oh… And Fuck Mr. Brown!
I’m a writer and so much more.
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