This piece was written on September 26, 2017. It is the first of many writing pieces from a "1,000 Words a Day" challenge. Participants are instructed not to judge what they are writing or make edits, so pardon the errors in structure, etc. When I wrote this, I was in my final days of teaching before my contract ended and feeling a bit uneasy about what the future would hold for me, especially in terms of career. Stay tuned to see the developments in my life since I wrote this.
My life the past few weeks has not been what I imagined it would be. This, of course, is a standard law of the universe, but sometimes, things are at least slightly predictable. I would never have guessed at age 28 I would be changing careers, single, and living with people I never met.
Listen, it’s not all bad; I am glad to be making a career change, don’t totally mind my living situation, and would rather be single than settling. I understand where my fears and uncertainties are rooted; Societal pressures, stigmas, and growing up in suburbia are all contributing factors. At the same time, it is interesting when you consider how there is no definitive “norm” in life.
Yes, I grew up in Suburban New Jersey, but I won’t lie and say it was easy. The little bubble of a town I was raised in was not impenetrable and had no protection to offer from the bitch that is life. In a little over two decades, I experienced the divorce of my parents, watching my brother battle substance abuse, sexual assault, and the unique, untimely death of my estranged, transgendered and mentally disturbed father to AIDS. For the majority of my adult life, I was emotionally paralyzed. The only “norms” I knew were trauma, having zero control over my life, and that I could trust no one. As a result, I found it difficult to trust even myself.
I’ve always known deep down I am destined for greatness. I’ve always known how talented I am, how unique I am, how brilliant I am, how beautiful I am, and how unbelievable I am. Have I always believed it? Absolutely not. How could I believe in anything positive, light, or honest when all I knew for so many years was negativity, darkness, and deceit? How could I possibly be successful and achieve my dreams when I felt crushed by the universe?
It only makes sense I settled for “safe.” I pursued a career in teaching because to me, it was comfortable. My mother and a number of relatives are teachers. I got a job out of college as an aide in my mother’s school, which is also the same school I attended as a middle school student. It was something I had already experienced, and I associated it with my life before all the trauma began. There was little mystery attached to it. People I had known for years and already established trusting relationships with surrounded me there. I was enticed by the comfort and homeliness this environment provided me with, and the profession itself holds little mystery in terms of expectations.
I have finally dealt with the demons of my past and can see a bit more clearly. I am still afraid of the unknown, as most humans are, but it does not frighten me enough to run from it or settle for something I know I don’t want in my heart. Life is definitely still a bitch, but I no longer believe she is evil. I have learned life does not play favorites. She doesn’t make it easy or protect anyone from the wrath she is capable of unleashing. In a way, I consider myself lucky for the experiences I have had. They have softened me, helping me to be the empathetic healer and friend I am to so many. I now know how to handle what she throws at me in stride, and not let it completely derail me from doing what I need to do to feel happy and satisfied. It took a lot of hard times for me to figure out how to conduct a sound relationship with life and realize she wants the best for us all, even if she has a funny way of showing it. It is my mission to use the hardships of the past, present, and future as fuel to learn and grow.
While covering physics with my students, we discussed Newton’s Laws of Motion. According to the third law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The word for this in the spiritual world is, of course, “karma.” Most things in life are binary, and there are two sides to every coin. I use these cliche expressions because what I have learned is, although my life experiences lead me to distrust and believe everything was dark and negative, trust, light, and positivity are always accessible if you look for them. I no longer feel ashamed of my past, and know there are people in my life I can lean on when the demons start creeping in. Again, life has our best interests in mind, and it is up to us to be open to her lessons so we can better understand both her and ourselves.
It took me 28 years to open myself up to life and let her teach me vital lessons. I am learning to listen to my heart and to trust in others and in myself. Even though I am not where I “should” be in the hard eyes of society, I feel I am exactly where I should be in my life. Too many people get lost to the demons, whatever theirs may be, and settle for the comfortable, the familiar, and the known. I have done this already in my life, and I have decided I can’t live a lie any longer. I took a huge risk leaving teaching, but I think an even greater risk would have been sacrificing my potential, my happiness and my life’s truth for comfort. Being single and living with strangers are the unintended results of the decisions I made out of comfort and fear, but I know they are short-term and are more lessons life is giving me to fuel my growth. Nothing is a death sentence, and every seemingly destructive and painful circumstance only has a constructive and alleviating life lesson attached to it. All we can do is accept this and be willing to believe the dust will settle.
#selfgrowth #careerchange #whatsnormalanyway #lifelessons #thereisnodarkness #onlylight #transformation #metamorphosis #1000wordsaday