one step and then another
In the past year or so, I have been in so many situations I never expected to be in. And if I ever did expect it (thanks to my anxiety!), I was convinced I will not be able to come out of those situations (also thanks to my anxiety!).
A transcontinental move mixed with house eviction in a new country mixed with health insurance claims in North America mixed with more moving and packing and feeling generally lost, it has been a lot! But I am here.
This is not to say that I have conquered all my fears, insecurities and anxieties, but it is to acknowledge all that I powered through in the hope that it would create a dent (even if the slightest) in my self-doubt.
I have always struggled with feeling self-efficacious, which in simple words is the belief in oneself to handle anything and everything life throws at you. I have had this “I get too panicky and can’t do anything right!” narrative going on for many years now. But just stopping to think back to all the situations I got out of, the (in)decisions I made and the help I sought (and got!), I can’t help but wonder when was the first time I was taught to doubt myself so much? How did it become so ingrained that despite so much evidence against it, it holds on to me so steadily?
What are some situations you have come out of that were once inconceivable for you? How can you hold space for the quiet and shaky courage with which you handled scary situations?
I hope you take the time to think about them today and give yourself a pat on the back for the same. I know that there may still be a lot that you feel unprepared to deal with (I know I am), but I also know that this only means that it is for another day, just not today. And that is okay.
I am currently in Delhi to visit my friends and family over my summer break. It has been an exhilarating experience being in this city as a visitor when this has always been my supposed home; the faint familiarity interlaced with the little pockets of newness that are easy to miss, but not easy to accept/make sense of. I have been wandering around in places feeling like something is missing? or different? or both? And the answers have been different in each case. But what has been constant is the emotional rollercoaster that this trip has been for a variety of reasons.
Amidst all of this, one of my dear friends welcomed me by bringing some of the books I had lent to her for safekeeping when I left. She said, “I know it can be difficult, how incomplete your room might feel, especially when you see your bookshelf all empty. So for the two months you are in Delhi, here are some of your books (and mine!) to keep you company.”
At that moment, my offered me two gifts: the acknolwedgement of the bittersweetness of this experience and the comfort to make it less bitter, more sweet.
As I have often said, kindness is in the moments we may usually dismiss as ordinary or obvious. In that short conversation, I received so much thoughtfulness and compassion and I am so grateful that I get to experience all of it.
Grey’s Anatomy, S18 E16
This was a conversation that the parents of a gender curious child were having as they disagreed on how to support their child through it. The mom insisted that they take their child to a therapist, while the dad said that they should see a therapist instead of their child.
How often do we as adults assume we know best and that it is always the children who don’t know yet what is good for them and who they are? How often have we as caregivers been one of the first bullies of the children in our lives due to this assumption?
‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’ by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
A friend recommended the audiobook edition of this book narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I had always struggled to get into audiobooks before this book. The author’s lyrical prose and the heartwarming moments and the narrator’s precision and tenderness with all of it make this book an experience that is extremely hard to put into words.
This book is a beautiful exploration of the lives of teenage boys in a world that is overwhelming, confusing and lonely. This book is a nuanced exploration of a delicate relationship between two people who are just learning to find themselves in the secrets of the universe. Finally, this book is a love letter to books itself.
Some priceless quotes from the book:
“Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.”
”And I knew that there was something about me that Mrs. Quintana saw and loved. And even though I felt it was a beautiful thing, I also felt it was a weight. Not that she meant it to be a weight. But love was always something heavy for me. Something I had to carry.”
Hugs in Words
I am starting to realise that life will probably always feel like something we can never truly understand or wrap our heads around. The moment we feel like we may be onto something, the rug gets pulled out from beneath us. The natural instinct that so many of us have to be perfectionists, to have that sense of control is understandable and hard to let go of, but all the more important to reconsider.
By trying to gain a sense of control in a particular situation, what outcome are we trying so hard to avoid? Can we truly dodge that outcome? Is it possible that despite our carefully premeditated steps we may find ourselves in the very same situation we so want to avoid?
I have landed in the worst-case scenarios I thought I was carefully avoiding. And understanding this continues to be a learning curve I am not entirely enjoying. But I am slowly learning to revel in the present moment and appreciate that despite so many of my worst-case scenarios becoming a reality, I am still here, living between hurting and healing.
I am truly sorry if (m)any of your worst-case scenarios have also become a reality. I know how hurtful and infuriating it is. I hope that you can find comfort in the fact that there are so many of us out there and we are all getting by, one step and then another.
Love and light,
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