Vulnerability and being uncomfortable
Whoa. First blog post. The pressure is on. I can either incorporate all of the things I want to say into this one post, or I can chill out and give them each their time and their place.
In April I graduated from the University of Michigan. And, like many other university graduates that don’t have a job lined up, I have no idea what I’m doing.
It’s a really uncomfortable time for anyone in this space, let alone someone that has had a lifelong struggle with anxiety, depression, and ADHD.
Everything is a disaster.
Why don’t I have a job??
Money doesn't matter, I'll figure it out.
I’m so burnt out, I need a gap year between the school world and the working world.
But wait, I need a job. I have no money.
Did I even go to school for the right thing??
What? Health insurance, wtf…
How do you make friends post-college when you hardly had any friends in college??
You can’t hide from your feelings.
You really can’t.
My entire life I’ve hidden. Not necessarily by being shy or timid, although those have had their time and place, but by being afraid.
Afraid of failure. Afraid of feeling. Afraid of pain or being uncomfortable. Afraid of waiting, because if I want it now, why not? And allowing things to fall into place grants a lack of control.
Just because you may appear to have it all out in the open, have a life of good grades, internships, and what looks like ‘motivation,’ doesn’t mean you’re not hiding.
It’s not some existential, out of body thing you’re hiding from. It’s not God, demons, or politics (but like, aren’t we all…), but it’s you.
It’s what you truly want, what makes you feel real.
I’ve been afraid of taking certain risks in my life because I don’t have the answers. Why not do what society wants us to do because, hey, if i go out on a limb and do something totally different, and fail, well, I’m fucked.
I choose anxiety over fear and safety over vulnerability. Depression over life.
Now this isn’t overtly - but my small choices of avoiding myself, avoiding my true desires out of fear, are what land me in this place.
Being vulnerable is uncomfortable as hell. It means we’re showing our true selves, taking risks, and honestly, we may not know where the fuck it’s taking us; but somehow it feels true.
The amount of what if’s that course through my head on a daily basis is unreal because, hey, why not try to fix each of these things so that it makes sense. Makes sense on a societal level.
But shit ain’t that easy.
There are five cities I currently want to be in, like 10+ different careers I want, relationships I wish I could fix (can't believe I'm admitting that one), and languages I don’t quite know.
But I can’t have all of these fixed at once. And as long as you’re being true to yourself (although I'm still figuring that out on a daily basis), you gotta believe things are gonna twist themselves out and unravel into something that’s a little more comfortable and freeing than the current situation of being vulnerable.
And that sucks. Because how do I know if I should be fixing something that won’t change unless I aggressively attack it?
And it’s awesome. Because if you do your part and let the rest be, it’ll be.
And get better.
One can hope.
Post-graduation I spent time with some relatives in Mexico. I wanted to go back so badly to work on my Spanish and to continue exploring my heritage. After 22 years, it was my first time in Mexico. I felt embarrassed to be of Mexican heritage and not know Spanish, meanwhile I’m in Mexico and most people knew at least both Spanish and English. Wtf have I done wrong in my life? I started doing some freelance work, and with the help of some friends, am now living in the Dominican Republic for a few months with the family of a close friend. I’m working as a teacher’s assistant at a local school.
Now, I’m currently writing this blog post from brot Bagel Shop, which I frequent almost daily in the Punta Cana Village. They now know that I always want an Americano doble without having to endure my broken Spanish.
It’s been a bizarre first week. The news has been far from mundane. Trump ended DACA…hurricane Harvey…hurricane Irma…hurricane Katia and Jose…an earthquake in Mexico…
The mother I'm staying with says maybe we should go to the Basilica. I might need to be blessed.
I’m also staying in a new country with a family I have never met before, a new job at a gradeschool, my lack of perfect Spanish, the fear of what’s next, and all of the anxiety that goes with that.
Should I be here? Should I be home trying to get a long-term job? What am I doing? Do people like me? I don’t fit in.
Well, of course you don’t fit in after a week. You’re in a new country. A new set of customs, traditions, expectations.
I sat down with a new friend before I left for the DR. For beer and tacos, of course. She told me about a book, Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. As we were talking we began to share more intimate parts of ourselves. One topic led me to another which made me warn “this is kind of personal, sorry, but…”. And it turned out, she was in a similar situation.
We’re more alike that meets the eye. We can’t always see eye to eye (*cough* politics *cough*), but everyone has to deal and feel the same shit. Feelings suck.
Over the course of our conversation, I began to realize how much the little fears or current anxieties of “should I be fixing this” or “wtf I'm so overwhelmed I don’t even know what I want anymore”, mean so little when you recognize that feelings - fears, anxieties, and straight up human shit - is completely and utterly normal.
And society tells us on a daily basis to keep that on the DL. But hey, no one’s interesting if they’re not showing more than their physical presence.
So yeah, I’m scared as shit about moving to another country, whether I should be fixing this or that, and whether I’m going to go broke before anything straightens out; but I also know that there’s so many people out there that would be happy as clams to be in my position - to travel and still have family support, to be healthy and able, to have the freedom of speech to write this (too) personal blog post.
So let’s try to think of the bigger picture. Let’s come to terms with our feelings. Let’s say fuck it, and do what feels right. And let’s think about the larger than ourselves shit that will hopefully make the small fears and large fears make sense. And ultimately, just let ourselves be.