I’m sitting at one of my favorite Starbucks in Miami, staring out the window at the sky. On my left, the sky is covered in ominous clouds that threaten rain and fill me with a tinge of despair. On my right, a bright light blue sky with white streaks of shapeless clouds fills me with hope. I’m sitting in a green strapless sundress (given that my tanned /slash/ almost sunburned skin can not handle much clothing at this point), sipping my tall nonfat dirty chai, needing a pick-me-up as I attempt to work on the final presentation of my internship year /slash/ graduate education /slash/ formal education overall after a calm, sunshine and humidity filled morning at the beach alone…and I can’t help thinking “how the hell did I get here?!?”
Having a clear ending to a part of your life (i.e. via a significant event like graduating with your doctoral degree) can cause you to reflect on your life a little…or a lottle. I’m feeling a bit too old to bring back the whole “who am I?” thought. But I can’t help wonder about the people in my life, the relationships I’ve held onto that I shouldn’t and the ones that I really should have put more effort into but didn’t. Moving out of state and away from your home-base can put some of those questions into perspective and provide some answers…but other questions linger. It’s kind of up to you /slash/ me to figure out the rest. And that’s why we’re here, folks. Shall we?
fo’ sho, Clouds. Let’s do this.
Love the enthusiasm, friends.
Alright, so I’m guessing that not every one of you has difficulties trusting others or establishing significant relationship and all that jazz…but, I’m going to bet that quite a few of you do. And for those of you that don’t, I, as a recently self-identified gambling (wo)man as evidenced solely by the pattern emerging in this post, am also going to bet that you at least know someone who fits the description. This is my target audience.
I won’t go into how we got to this place. We all have our own unique stories of traumatic events, failed relationships, abusive histories, trials and errors, and/or fears of connection. They are unique yet similar in the most human sense of the experience. I want to (for the time being) ignore the question of how I/we got here and focus on “where am I/we right now and where am I/are we going?” [*momentary caveat: if you are a reader of previous posts, you know well more than anyone that I tend to be found of both sides of the experience, past and future, origins and predictions. However, I’ve lived in those places too long. So, for the moment, I want to reflect on the moment. Trust we’ll go back there at some point. But for now, I’d like to keep our/my feet grounded…mostly because I don’t think I can handle not doing so].
We’ve gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain’t kids no more — Adele
Pick your cliche.
- you can’t drive forward if you’re always looking in the rear view mirror
- holding on to the past keeps you from moving toward your future
- fill-in-countless-others…my creative juices are obviously running low at the moment, but you get the idea
The point is that’s the idea we’ve been fed. We can’t keep going back there. We know this. Yet, life happens and we are instantly taken back to an event, a memory, a relationship that forces us back there. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like going back there. Back there is filled with hurt and pain and sadness and anger…and voicelessness. Regardless of the specific past, most of us struggled/struggle with that last part, the voicelessness. We were kids (or adolescent or young adults) and didn’t have control over much. Or if we did, we maybe didn’t execute our desires in the best way we could or wanted to. We didn’t voice our needs or desires in a way that left us feeling good. So here we are. Haunted.
Ahh, I can see why Adele’s lyrics are so fitting. Good one, Clouds.
But seriously, I don’t know about you, but I feel haunted at times. And I really want to let go of it all. But, at the same time, I can’t deny the impact those events, memories, relationships had on me and who I am and how I currently live my life (in both positive and negative senses of the idea). Point is I can’t simply let go. But I can acknowledge that we (you and I) are not kids anymore. We do have voice and choice and power over where we are and where we are going, over who is in our lives and who isn’t. *I know, I know, some things are admittedly out of our direct control; some ties cannot be cut off and some situational details cannot willfully be made magical, but our voice in these things is still ours. This is where the focus should be placed. Not on ignoring the past, pretending life didn’t happen or forcefully shutting out the ghosts (because Casper the Friendly Ghost should’ve taught you a thing or two about this).
Focus should be placed on using our voice and admitting to ourselves and others that we are no longer who we were, that we are accepting ourselves where we are, and moving toward who we want to be, simultaneously.