And even if you are late
So late that it hurts
So late that frankly, You are embarrassed
You can still show upCleo Wade
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness”- Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Growing up I thought hope was synonymous to optimism and positivity. To have hope you needed to be positive all the time or else you truly didn’t believe it would happen. It wasn’t until recently that I found the real definition of hope through my search of the Bible. In Hebrews 11:1 God states: Faith is confidence in what we hope for and confidence in what we cannot see. This is probably my favorite bible verse because it reinforces the idea of having faith and hope in God, in your abilities, despite the hardships that you will face ahead. Having faith doesn’t mean you won’t face dark times..
I never thought of myself to be vulnerable. It was a piece of my identity that I didn’t know I was capable of until this year. It’s not like I didn’t think vulnerability was this or that; I just didn’t think about it. You know this year has hard and honestly that maybe an understatement. However, I can’t blame everything solely on 2020. When I reflect back on the themes that were most reoccurring in quarantine and what was brought to my attention had actually been lying underneath the surface for years.. I had refused to acknowledge.
The stories I tell myself
“Families tell stories to socialize one another to the beliefs, values, and norms that come to guide daily life, and women are often known as the kinkeepers of the family stories” (Koenig Kellas, Holman, & Flood-Grady, 2019, p. 215).
I had a lot of key players in my life this year. Especially towards the end of 2020; these people helped me recognize places in my life where I had been holding on to stories that no longer served me. Stories that were taking up space and not allowing me to be flexible in what’s to come. It
was is still hard trying to let go of those narratives and beliefs that I have held so close to my heart and being so close to who I thought I was/going to be. The stories ranged from silly ones about my gym life to really core value, life altering, mind numbing stories that involved deep pains stemming from childhood.
“I have to be perfect or near perfect at all things I attempt to do or else people will think (fill in the blank).”
“I’m not good at being creative”
“I look funny doing arm workouts at the gym; so I skip arm day or I do arms at home”
“I’ll be able to leave the serving job I’ve held for 8 years after I graduate”
“I’m not good at articulating my thoughts into words”
“If I don’t say anything, they won’t notice me therefore they can’t pick on me”
“I am what I eat”
“I’ll be worthy of so and so after I lose 20lbs”
These stories and beliefs that I have about myself have one way or another dictated how I situation myself in different interactions. The most devasting one has been trying to let go of what should have been by now. I thought when I graduated I would have a job in the career field that I would be able to grow in. I would tell myself that I will finally get to hang up my old red/blue apron and finally enjoy weekends and holidays with family members. I would stop having conflicting feelings about my identity of who I am and what I did, what my occupation was. But that didn’t happen.. Instead, the pandemic hit, jobs were eliminated and I had to rethink everything I thought was going to be.
Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Sit with it. Just sit with this feeling, and it too shall pass. These are the thoughts that I tell myself as I read yet another rejection letter:
Thank you for taking the time to apply for (…..). We received 444 applications, which is the most we have ever received. I have spent the past two weeks reviewing your application and others, and it was incredibly humbling. However, we’re unable to offer you a first round interview..
The decision regarding interviews was particularly hard for me this year due to the impact of COVID-19 on the job market..
This email was just one of many that have been filling my inbox since I graduated in May. Some read like this:
Thank you for your interest in (insert company/position). However, we have decided to go with another applicant/your skill set doesn’t match the position (fair)/ we aren’t moving forward with your application.
Love, Grief, Boundaries, Communication, & More Love
“We could be romantics for life
Go wild with our scars unhealed”- Tove Lo
I didn’t want to accept that the life I thought I was going to have in 2020 was no longer in my reach. I didn’t want to face the music that this is life as I know it right now. Whether that life came with happy, sad, angry, or anxious emotions I had to learn how to hold all of them with compassion and patience not only for myself but for those around me. It wasn’t until I met a particular someone that I noticed I hadn’t grieved. I hadn’t truly faced up to what my life was becoming. Instead I was finding ways to escape; dating, going to the gym, reading, listening to music, obsessing, obsessing, obsessing over things I had no control over; basically anything that would distract me from grieving the losses and learning how to live with them without it completely destroying me.
“I feel uncomfortable, exposed, unprepared for what could happen next. Trying to not armor myself up or prepare a talk for a scenario that hasn’t happened yet because of the assumptions I’ve made in my head.. but it’s hard. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up my phone just to put it down again. You be might be asking why doesn’t she just reach out or do whatever the hell she wants? I’ve asked myself this question too. As a person who studied communication norms, their functions/dysfunctions, and how society plays a huge role in how we communicate; this has largely stopped me from doing just that.”
2020 brought to the surface things that were and to some extent still are painful to think about and acknowledge. But this year and more so when talking about my relationships, this year really taught me the power in my own voice and the balance between the need for my autonomy and my need for interdependence. I have endless amount of choices to make each day and what struck me about mid-October is that as long as I am making choices that align with my values and the future that I hope to have; I mean that’s good enough for today. I learned that I don’t have to follow what society thinks is “normal” or conventional. To me, as long as I am rooted in love and respect I see no reason why things can’t get at least talked about. I know that there are so many things I could write about, however, this blog post would go on forever. What I hope you all take from this post is:
The stories you tell yourself about yourself matter. Trying to change those narratives, or heal the ones that have been ingrained in us since childhood is incredibly difficult, heck even trying to pin point what narrative or belief that may be holding you back is hard.
Compassion and kindness are the name of game; for yourself and others. See yourself in others, be up close and personal and then try to hold hate or contempt for someone.
I’m still learning how to hold space for conflicting emotions. This one is hard for me because I know that I can feel one thing and still have these other emotions and trying to determine which gives more weight or decides my actions idk. I’m learning how to sit with them and really discern how I feel, so that I can do the same for others. Life is effing hard and the last thing people need is other people shaming them for their emotions, for who they are..
I don’t know where I’ll take myself in 2021. I think thats sorta of the beauty of life; the uncertainty of it all. The heartache, the pain, the suffering, the joy; all the good and the bad will continue to happen. I can only pray and have faith that when those times come I trust myself enough to show up, to be seen. I only have this one life; why waste it being anything but yourself(even if you’re still trying to piece that puzzle together).
Thank you fellow bloggers, friends, and community for taking the time to read this post.. I’ll see y’all in 2021!
“and you opening up about your own experiences and struggles has made me further reflect on my own identity and stories. I have ALWAYS seen your vulnerability to be open and emotional to be one of your greatest strengths – and never a weakness.”- the one who inspired me to become a communication studies major
Title inspo: Another Place by Bastille