The other day, for the first time in a very long time I was able to breathe freely. Exhale and inhale without any heavy burden on my shoulders. Stretching, like a sun-flower, towards the sun and water at the same time, just unleashing all the aches and pains that have troubled me for much longer than I care to admit. Most of the time, I don’t realize that something was bothering me until much later, it’s a bit mad, really. You’d think someone that generally is quite in-tune with herself would understand the physical and mental signs that are pointing towards discomfort and unhealthy behaviors – turns out, I am apparently not that observant.
The last couple years felt like I was sitting at the side line, benched for reasons unbeknownst to me. I started to think that everyone played a game by rules that I just couldn’t understand. Anytime I thought I had figured it out, the rules and the game had changed and I was left behind yet again. I just couldn’t seem to be running with the others but rather I was wandering around on lonely paths in deep valleys and tall mountains. It seemed like I was barely moving at all and other times I would find myself in places and wonder how I came to be there. It was a haze of emotions and activities and yet, I felt like I haven’t moved at all.
A small part of me was trying to convince myself that I was ready to spread my wings and try to establish my own game and my own rules. That part of me told me that I knew everything that was important when in fact I knew just barely enough to be dangerous – in a metaphorical sense that is. A coping mechanism providing a sense of security, preserving the brave, adventurous, and curious part of me. Yet, anytime I was ready to take a step into any direction, the gnawing voices in my head kept rising and I again came to another standstill. The imposter syndrome voicing its opinion about all my inadequacies and insecurities and I started to believe them too.
The pandemic, continuous lockdowns, increasing uncertainty, and being far removed from anything and anyone near and dear to me, did not help my mental state. I still felt like I was unable. Unable to decide what to do, where to go, why to go or not to go, why to stay put… Nothing made sense and nothing gave comfort. I would look at my peers that would barrel past me in every which direction, moving so quickly and then there I was – barely managing to stand still. I found myself in many dark places, wondering how I would manage to get out of the predicaments I had found myself in.
The reality is, it was never about giving up – I always knew I was in a safe place, even if at times it was a false sense of safety, I sensed that there was never a real concern for my own sanity. It was more about sitting with the uncomfortable and becoming familiar with the things that are unknown. And somehow, that realization allowed me to breathe in and out for the first time in a very long time.
I know that I didn’t say very much in these lines, and what I wrote may not make sense to you today or tomorrow, or any time, really – but what I am trying to say is that even if you feel like you’re standing still, that is not inherently bad. Sometimes you just have to stop moving for a while to allow yourself to gain momentum. You may not like it, you may not enjoy it, and you may also be at a standstill for years. Being human is like that – unpredictable and uncomfortable, but in essence it’s about making the most of it and allowing yourself to fully experience what you’re going through.
So, here’s to moving or standing still in 2022, whatever it may be but ultimately enjoying the journey.