One of the ongoing challenges for me in my life right now is working out the balance between doing things and talking about things. I am striving to live more transparently, but it’s a process that I often find really painful. My mom tells me that even as an infant, I would practice new skills privately before I used them in public, and I still have that instinct. Add to that the 18 formative years I spent in a town where my discomfort was a prime source of entertainment for my peers, and you kind of start to get the picture of why I’m so cagey and reserved.
In particular, I have an instinct to go underground when stuff is hard. I imagine that people won’t like me when I’m down, and I hate sharing my pain, and I also hate admitting that I have uncertainty. Yeah, even though I know that other people also have plenty of uncertainty, and that they can be of help to me in my time of discernment, and also, sharing my own discomfort helps other people find comfort in their own.
Even knowing all of that, I still want to hide. But hiding isn’t an option. So here it is:
I am in a really bad mood. I am angry, frustrated, tired, and full of uncertainty. My body hurts. My heart hurts. I am the cause of most, but not all, of my problems this week, and the difficulty I am having getting out of them is also pretty much entirely my problem. I am unhappy, I am the one with agency to find my own happiness, and I cannot find the beacons to get myself back on track.
I acknowledge and believe the platitude that “happiness is a choice, not a destination,” but that doesn’t seem to help me here. I feel lost, and I don’t know what actions will get me back on track, and I deeply fear getting further afield than I already am. I already had a significant depressive episode this year, and I am fucking tired of them.
Also, I realize the irony of not wanting to share my bad mood when my whole personal brand is “Grumpy.” One of my favorite professors in college told me that I was at my best when I was grumpiest, because it was when I did the best cutting through BS. But here’s the thing: I don’t really like being mad at the world. I like being able to say “that’s nonsense,” but I feel like I lost that power somewhere along the way. What happened to me?
I feel like, at 32, I shouldn’t still be in this place where I’m struggling to find my place in the world. I’m mad about it. I am mad that I don’t know how to fix it. I am mad that I’ve let it get so sideways. I am scared that my decisions will leave my kid feeling this way as an adult. I’m scared people close to me aren’t going to like the choices I’m going to make. I’ve spent my whole life looking for approval, and it hasn’t done me very much good. I need to let go of it, and I’m scared. And mad.