We are good at making plans. For ourselves, for the future. When I was a teenager, spotty but bright eyed and no idea what was ahead, I made plans. Not intentionally, but they were there, lurking in my subconscious, paving the way to potential celebration or disappointment. I made plans for my life; who would be in it, what it would be like. There were some things that I wanted to have ‘done’ by the time I was 30. As it happens, on the eve of my 30th birthday, it is not the things I’ve done that I reflect on, more the things that have been overcome.
In my previous post I talked about hope, something that evaded my thinking for a good number of years. I spent my teenage years harbouring self doubt, body hatred and a general feeling of sadness that I never pinned down.
At University I wanted out. I wanted safety, I wanted familiarity, I wanted home. I crawled to the finish line through deadlines, sleepless nights of anxiety and worry and through early morning/late night teaching practices doing a job I’d convinced myself I wanted to do when in reality it terrified me.
And yet I was there. I was breathing heavy breaths in healthy lungs. My mind may have been broken but my incredible body was moving forward, dragging my feet through 4 years of ups and downs and 4 years that ultimately shaped my future. I made friends, friends that changed my life in seen and unseen ways. I dragged my beliefs through the mud of doubt and they came out looking very different in the end. I emerged from the experience with happy memories but with no idea what would come next, what I wanted next. I prepared to leave the country and even throughout the process of applying for that job overseas I knew I wouldn’t go. I knew I wasn’t secure enough for that. I knew I was still broken. I called out and I called out to a God I didn’t understand and felt a deafening silence in return.
And yet I was there. I was breathing heavy breaths in healthy lungs. I can speak about this now in a very frank and open way, I can see the wounds that opened during those years and look at how they have healed and changed me. I spent time convincing myself that someone needed to come and save me,; to fix it all. I formed an idealistic person I had waited so long who was going to create in me an internal plaster for all this pain. They and others came along in some imperfect form, they held my hand along with many other beautiful and patient people. But they did not do it for me.
And years passed. And depression took other forms. And I had more help. And I listened and I looked and I waited for an answer. And grieving and marriage and pain and loss and expectations. And joy and laughter and weddings and happiness and community and houses and jobs and family.
I am turning 30 tomorrow. I have not ‘done’ things. But I am now in a place where I am beginning to relax, to accept, to take each day and time as it comes and a place where worry is normal and doesn’t take over my life. I am starting to choose my path and my opinions. I can see the value in my job and what it took for me personally to get there, what it cost me and what it’s value is. I can recognize signs and triggers and I can take bricks out of the wall I surrounded myself with. I can look at my body and see in perspective its tremendous value and worth. I can see my gender as a powerful tool and something that should not hold me or anyone else back. I can see self-acceptance and confidence as a journey that I really want to have a ticket for.
I can see more hope, more joy and more pain in my future and I can see the tremendous, supportive and loving people I want to share all that with, standing where they always have been; at the sidelines cheering me on.
So happy birthday to me. Here’s to the rest.
Yours in good things,