Have you ever been so exasperated trying to convey something that you cannot find words for that you bumble around and around, words pouring out that faster than you can really think about them and then out of nowhere, one sentence spills out and it jolts you out of your own head and into that very present moment and all of a sudden, whatever was lurking around in the corner becomes stark clear.
It happens to me more often than not, and quiet honestly, it’s the primary reason I write. I live for that moment of my fingers flying over the keys faster than my brain is processing the words in an effort to push out whatever is lingering in the recesses of my mind that’s causing me issues and anxiety. Over the past few years though, I’ve found that I can have those moments in having conversations with people. The only negative about that is that I don’t have the words written to go back and re-read over them as I process through the thought. I try to hold it in or jot it down sometimes, but usually it tends to simply escape into the air as the conversation moves through.
But, I did have a conversation this past weekend wherein something came tumbling out of my mouth that I’ve been beating my brain for. Like every other day in my world, it revolves around the topic of change and how the cross-country move has impacted me and thus impacted my relationships in various ways. While I’ve kept in contact with a pretty decent amount of people, I’m slowly realizing that there are some major impacts happening, a lot of uncomfortable moments, and disagreements. But, what I haven’t been able to figure out is why. I know factually that I have made a big life change, that my every day is so completely different than it was before and that no one back in Seattle is seeing that. But, the under-the-surface changes are much harder to quantify or put words to.
When I was speaking with a friend about it all, he asked me what I thought the issues were and I started blabbering on, like I do, just trying to get words out in hopes that at some point they would make sense. I said something to the effect of “Somewhere between Billings and Fargo, I grew up. I made a major life change and did it all on my own (not including all the incredible emotional support I received from my friends). Every day, I’m faced with new and challenging situations that I have to navigate all on my own and I do. Day by day I’m making a life for myself here and it’s hard and it’s a struggle, but I’m doing it. Me. Only me. My dependence on myself has quadrupled because it had to. There’s no one here to ask! So, maybe, it’s uncomfortable with some relationships because I leaned on them for certain aspects of my life whether it be as little as decorating tips, all the way to major issues like conflict, growth and development, and now, while I still value their input, I am so much more confident in my own decisions and plans and thus I’m more resistant to their suggestions.”
We went on conversing for a while, but in my head, that was the *ding ding ding ding* moment. I spent a lot of time in therapy discussing interdependence and being vulnerable with people. I also spent a lot of time learning how to lean on people when I couldn’t do it all by myself. I still live by that mantra and stand by all those principals as I know we’re truly designed to be dependent on other humans, and I don’t think I have abandoned all that I’ve learned, but I do know with certainty that I have grown up a lot and there has been a noticeable shift in my self-reliance/self-confidence.
Having been on both sides of having to take care of myself, it’s interesting to take note of the differences of my own emotional and mental health. In my early 20’s, I took care of myself but it always came from a place of survival. I know that sounds really dramatic, but it’s true. I did everything myself because there weren’t any other options and I was driven to succeed. I was also immature and broken in so many ways that I had no idea how to depend on people in a healthy way, and I was so jaded that I never believed they wanted to help. So, I just pushed on by myself. This time around, it feels more natural. Like, it’s just a part of growing up, that things come up and I handle them as best I can, and reach out to those I can at the appropriate times. I know I’m a strong person, even when I feel so weak internally. My drive and determination is one of my most favorite things about myself. Of course, with that comes stubbornness and always wanting to be right. I feel like I’m constantly trying to balance those things.
How can I live in confidence and drive but with enough grace to accept input and be wrong? How can I not allow insecurity and guilt to drive decisions or make me feel as though I don’t know what is best for myself? The hard part is that we all want to be contributing to our friends’ lives because it makes us feel valuable and useful, and I do truly value my friend’s opinions, but I think it’s a growing pain of me holding firm in my decisions.
I don’t have a lot of answers right now and I’m most certainly not the expert on any of this, but I’m just trying to live my life well. To grow, develop, mature and move up to the next stepping block.