I’ve just been thinking and thinking and thinking lately about my life, who I am, who I want to be, where I’m going. I’m still drifting between depression and inspiration, and I’m amazed at how I used to think I was so emotionally stable…but the truth is I don’t think I ever really was.
You see, I’ve got cops in my head. I’ve had them since I was as little as I can remember. Be they my dad, or teachers, or bullies or influential friends and enemies, I almost always have all sorts of voices in my head telling me who I should be and telling me how I’m not measuring up, etc. Maybe you have similar voices in your head. This is pretty normal, I think. But it’s so interesting how I have dealt with these cops in my head and the toll it has taken.
For so long, I’ve seen my self as an essentially happy person. Beaming even. Optimistic. And I think it was mostly true. I have a vivid imagination, and that imagination tends to veer toward the positive. It’s something I’m very proud of. However, for so long I have felt so comfortable with who I am, and so empathetic about wanting other people to feel comfortable with themselves, that I’ve always been willing to give people little pieces of me. You’re sad and need my time and attention? Of course. You need me to change this or that so you can feel less threatened? No problem. Need me to take up more slack in a group? Okay, you have other responsibilities you need to attend to. This was nothing to me, and I was proud of my flexibility with people.
Only now, at 27, I realize how many of my relationships have had this dynamic at their root, and then other underlying authority dynamics surrounding them. I have felt so flexible, so willing to give and give and sacrifice emotionally, that the other day I was really wondering what I even care about anymore…where have my own passions gone? Where has my own sense of accomplishment or will gone? What do I do because I’m inspired, and what do I do because I’m scared or because someone needs it from me?
For so long, I’ve allowed myself to be flexible that I’ve allowed some pretty core pieces of myself to be chipped away. In many aspects of my life, I feel like such a shell. I feel so different than I felt as an inspired little boy. I’m not cool with that.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I started therapy. I’m trying to figure out some space and some limits in my life to give myself the room I think I need to find myself again. I’m working hard with Glendi to get what I need from her, and to make sure that we are both growing in a way where we can be good to and for each other.
I’m in need of more connection. I’m in need of more passion. I need to find that creativity that fills me with so, so much!
When I was in high school, I was so optimistic and so positive. I felt so open to the world. One of my favorite teachers, Tim, (there is a long and sad story there, believe me…but that’s another day) told me one day: “Jeremy, I’m really worried about you. You are like this vibrant and colorful butterfly. I’m worried about this world crushing you.” I just smiled, so sure and confident. My love of the world and of life were too strong to be able to crush me. Now I’m not so sure. At 27, I’m feeling the strain.
But life still is beautiful. And I still do love the world. There are other possibilities here. And this little butterfly can push back!