My entire life I’ve beat to the sound of my own drum, I’ve defied the odds time and time again. If I had a dollar for every time someone doubted me, told me I should quit while I was ahead, or that I’d never succeed in my career or life dreams, well, quite frankly, I’d be very well off. That is the sad truth, other than a handful of people, from a very young age, I’ve felt as though it’s been a consistent battle, me against the world.
After a head injury when I was only 15 my world came tumbling down. I wasn’t able to learn the same, to think the same, or function the same. Due to the enormity of all that I felt was taken, I let this consume me for years. I was told by doctors not to try too hard, by teachers to give up, and that I shouldn’t even attempt college. Mind you, throughout all of this I was able to mostly maintain all A’s with a few B’s. The only difference was, after the accident I had to work extremely hard for it, when prior I didn’t need to try at all. My life wasn’t a cake walk prior to this, I was undiagnosed Celiac until age 6-7ish which meant I was sick my entire young life. I was bullied due to my religion, due to not coming from as much or having as much money as the other kids, I never truly fit in. The only time’s I was genuinely happy that I can remember as a kid, I was on the back of a horse.
The downfall didn’t end there unfortunately, when so many people doubt you, and tell you what you aren’t capable of, you start to believe it. I believed it, I believed I wasn’t smart enough, good enough, strong enough, for anything. I battled depression and anxiety, I already had PTSD from an accident when I was only 12 years old. It seemed never-ending. I allowed it to consume me, to the point I ended up in one bad relationship after another, I took on so much verbal and emotional abuse, that I no longer had confidence in myself. It took two failed, and abusive marriages for me to begin the journey to finding myself again, but along the way, several more unhealthy and abusive relationships.
Even up to nearly 7 years ago when I applied to graduate school I was in a toxic relationship, when I ever said I was debating graduate school or law school he told me it was a terrible idea, that I’d just be in debt, and couldn’t do it. I applied anyway, this time I had something to prove, not to him, but to myself and everyone who ever doubted me, silenced me, or treated me poorly. I was going to change my life, I was going to accomplish something that I was passionate about, and I did. With flying colors I kept almost consistent A’s throughout graduate school while maintain a job. My social life suffered, but those who didn’t stick around while I was manifesting my future, didn’t have a place in my life, I learned that they didn’t deserve it. Those who stood by me, who understood I was too busy to go out on a weekend evening or to the beach on a summer day, they are my people, and each and every one of those people who understood what I was doing, who supported me then, are still in my life to this day.
It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen overnight, but in time I learned my value, I remembered how bright I am (something I still struggle with, because sometimes being smart is extremely uncomfortable for me,) it’s a constant work in progress, and the end goal isn’t perfection, it’s overall happiness and being comfortable in one’s own skin.
Due to so much doubt, my confidence being kicked down over and over, to all the negative relationships that allowed me to put myself in, I have come so far, but still have my own fears and doubts stemming from them. I struggle to communicate face to face sometimes, to allow myself to be vulnerable, I struggle to believe sometimes that people see value in me, that people think I’m worth their time, I struggle to believe people aren’t simply using me or that they think I’m just convenient. Trauma takes a toll.
My story, my journey, there is a lot of trauma. Our brains are hardwired to be able to jump to the negative more quickly than the positive, this is because it takes our brain so much more time to process something negative, bad, or traumatic than it does the things that make us feel good or happy. That’s not to say there haven’t been a lot of wonderful things in my life as well, however, science tells us that’s not the stuff that we easily pull out of our memory bank.
To this day in relationships I struggle, I struggle to have conversations that make me feel vulnerable. Sometimes I struggle to believe others see worth in me at all. I suffered for years with depression and a mean eating disorder, all because of the actions of others and how powerful words are, some say actions speak louder than words, but words can do a lot of harm on their own, both those that are said, and those that are left unsaid. I finally have a career that I love, and not only do I love it, I am good at it. I never would have said that a decade ago, not because I wasn’t good at my first career, but because I didn’t believe in myself. I have started to build only healthy relationships, and have no time for the latter. I found happiness in an intimate relationship, and can say honestly, without a doubt that I have never truly been in love until I met this person. The relationship with my partner and their children has changed me, it’s made me realize how beautiful and precious life can be. I’ve been able to smile bigger, laugh louder, and enjoy things more fully. This isn’t to say there isn’t fear involved, because if I am being honest, it’s petrifying to have my wall taken down and be so vulnerable to heart ache again, but there is no growth if we stay in our comfort zones.
The past 7 years I have dedicated my life to building not only a career, but a life worth living. To bettering myself, 1% each day, and starting to truly believe in myself and the process in which we call life. If you made it this far, first, I thank you, secondly, I encourage you to think about the things that serve you v.s. the things that don’t. Ask yourself, what is included in that life worth living for you, what goals do you have for yourself, who do you want to take along for the journey. No matter how big or small your goals, no matter how silly or outlandish they may seem, they are yours and they are worth putting effort into. We are as limitless as we allow ourselves to be. We can all do so many things, however we can’t do everything, and without trying, we won’t know how much we are truly capable of.