A Journey of Affirmation, Confirmation, and Acceptance: Part III Reality Check

Part III - Reality Check

Do you know that feeling when all of your decisions have led you to a place that you don't quite know how you got there? When you realize that more than half of your choices have been miscalculations and you aren't quite sure what you did wrong? This is where I was. Not to mention the three deaths in my family that happened nearly back to back; I wasn't sure what I did to deserve my life at this moment. I didn't know who I was, what I wanted, or where to go from there. I wanted to throw everything I could fit into my car and run away. Anything to avoid my car payment, house payment, credit card debt, student loans, the fact that I didn't have a job and had so many employment jumps back to back that no one in their right mind would want to hire me…to put it simply: I felt like giving up.

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Somewhere along the way, I lost that self-confident woman who moved to Mexico City just because, which gained her a city and culture she loved and finally felt at home in. I lost the woman who traveled to England at 21 to spend two-plus weeks with a bunch of video game friends she'd never met in person, yet in doing so, gained a set of friends who she would call more family than anything else. I'd lost that woman who dreamed of moving to California with my two best guy friends because, why the hell not?  The woman who dreamt of moving back to Mexico City because this was my endless sea of possibilities, challenges, and dreams.  The woman who was going to hike Machu Picchu. The woman was making these plans and dreams and then working to accomplish them. Though in reality, I went to work in jobs I didn't really like, in fields I wasn't interested in, and with professionals (men and women) who were constantly competing and all about making themselves look good. That chips away at a person.

I remember a conversation with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Greenfield, when I asked him for a recommendation letter to the business school that went something like this:

"You aren't going to pursue an MFA?"

"No. I think I'll have a better chance at making money and financing my dreams if I go into business."

"Rachael, you need to write. You have a passion for it, and you're going to get out there, and I'm sure you'll succeed, but you won't ever be happy. You won't know what you're missing… until you do."

I laughed. I was uncomfortable. Maybe this was a bad idea to ask him for a recommendation.

"I appreciate all of your support and encouragement Dr. Greenfield. But this is what I want to do. Would you be willing to write me the letter?"

"Yeah, of course I'll write it. But don't forget where you're passion lies. You'll come back to it".

I look back at this conversation, which I know isn't word-for-word, but it blows me away at how right he was. How if I ran into him today he probably wouldn't even remember the words he shared with one of his many students in one of his many classes. How these words have sat in the back of my mind, waiting and piping up at inopportune times.

Then I remember the girl I was at that time. No, not a girl; a woman. I had been married and divorced. I had been in an abusive relationship and left adrift in a city that I didn't know. I came to realize that I had no one there. I'd traveled and lived out of the country on my own. I was a woman.

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A woman who used to write poetry about sex, and beer, and bicycles. I wrote about orgasms, and the way Mother Nature can take something so human, so wasteful, so toxic, and make it beautiful in a single moment. A woman who was challenged in her poetry final to write about sex from the perspective of a gay man who never actually gets the fulfillment or actualization of the joy.  A woman who used to be passionate about Latin American Magical Realism and seriously considered an offer to teach English in Brazil. Who read a book a day, attended poetry readings, saw plays in foreign languages with men thirty years older than her so they could have conversations about the nuances of emotion across language barriers. A woman who attended piano bars in foreign cities and danced with strangers; sometimes sober, sometimes slightly inebriated. Making friends with a nearly seven foot tall Swede who twirled me around the dance floor but spent far too much time sneaking off to play soccer. A woman who traveled to the wrong city in Mexico, saw no pyramids, but instead stayed for a goat festival and lived like a local. A woman who was happy, lived within her means and took midnight walks to dance under the moon barefoot in a park. A woman who dreamed, seized life and knew that there wasn't only one place for her, but rather the whole world was her place.

This is that woman; I am she. Somewhere deep inside she stirs. She is rumbling, growling, and stretching. This skin, these societal expectations, the burdens, the assumptions, the idealistic version of ‘adulthood and responsibilities' are not for her. They are not for me.

My truth. My path. My way. It doesn't have to be anyone else's way, or their version of happy, or their version of success. I do not need to apologize for what I want and what I need. But I do need to apologize to me. I need to apologize for forgetting myself. For letting fear guide me. For being uncertain and instead of seeking opportunities, to learn I take the path of least resistance.

This glorious, gorgeous, and true realization comes with a price though. It comes with the uncomfortable moment when I realize I'd trapped myself in a life of conveniences and inaction. To get free and to be happy, I'll have to shake things up. It's so easy to just do the job that pays the most and try to make it work.

I'm still trapped in this cycle, but I'm doing it for a cause right now. I'm making what I need to support myself as I write, grow my portfolio and pursue my passion. I apply for these crazy dream jobs that I'm sure I'm not 100% qualified for because why the hell not? Maybe, just maybe, a job will hire me to be a remote writer, or travel blogger, or video game reviewer/streamer. These are the things I love, and if we only have one chance at life, shouldn't we do what we love?