I could do so much more.

 

As someone who has decided to dedicate my career to health services– to helping others and wanting to play a role in creating fuller lives– I feel like life just gets harder. And I think that people who want their lives to be of service to others in general–whether it’s the drive to work for nonprofits, the aspiration to use your skills for those in need, the ambition to save lives in a multitude of ways– have to struggle a lot more than the typical, Average Joe (e.g., those who want to work in these areas have to pursue graduate school, obtain advanced degrees and specialties, earn titles that gain them some momentum in administration, etc). Not to say that these sufferings and burdens are greater than those that others experience, but it seems almost unnecessary (or even unfair) for those with a burning passion to make direct improvements in society to be put through so many hoops and hurdles to get there.

Let me unleash my nerdy side for a moment. The 10th Doctor, who dedicates centuries of his lives towards making the universe a better, more peaceful place, is still morally forced to relinquish the being he is and loves in order to continue saving people, species, and worlds. Granted, this was self-motivated, in this case, to save Wilfred, but regardless, he continues to sacrifice himself over and over for the sake of others. Other than to tickle the fantasy of being comparable to the brilliant David Tennant’s Doctor, I can really sympathize with him. I feel like I’m expending more of my emotional, mental, physical, social energy when compared to those around me who have not needed to go to grad school. if I didn’t have to go through all of these burdensome processes, I probably could do so much more and accomplish so much more. I’ve been struggling a lot with understanding what it means to be so passionate to want to put yourself through the madness and stress that encompasses “becoming who you want to be.” Does it make me less passionate to consider these hardships in such a negative light? I should be willing to push through anything for my dreams, right? Or is it mere envy speaking when looking at those who were able to polish off 4 years of college and live in their immediate fulfillment?

Love is kind of like this, right? It’s the other face of passion. We love to fall in love so much that we’re willing to let it hurt us in the process of loving. But with that logic, how much do we let love continue to hurt us until love is not worth loving anymore? What is the extent of our passion? I know that I still want to become a speech-pathologist and pursue the things that drive me towards that success, but at the same time, I can’t help but look at those who have already sought satisfaction in their 9 to 5 jobs and don’t need to have that fire in their bellies to drive them forward towards what they want out of their careers. And this makes me wonder: How do I know that this is all I can/want to do? Is feeling only satisfied the antithesis to this suffering for success and fulfillment? ‘Cause I don’t want to be only satisfied either. Once again, I’m sure they go through their own kinds of suffering, and it’s easy to say that I’ve got it worse than most other people when I’m not in their shoes, but come on. They get to go to happy hours with their friends and take up hobbies that they never had a chance to try before while I’m doing homework and thinking far too often about how I’m going to pay off my student loans. I want to help people with neurodegenerative conditions and am going through all of these tests of life to get there while Joe Shmoe gets by without dreaming of a day when he can start changing lives.

I know I must sound like some whiny millennial here, but these are just thoughts that have become more and more present in my mind as finals and projects have started to kick up. I would love to make this an open discussion though. Does anyone else ever feel this way? I know there is an end to this stress and anxiety ahead, and there’s really no other careers I would/want to take on at this point, but I’m really struggling with the ideas of delayed and immediate gratification in relation to jobs and, to be honest, life overall.

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“The Feels”

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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not someone to shy away from expressing my thoughts and feelings. Typically, I’m very open with how I feel and have found that relinquishing the pent up emotional energy I’ve stored within has helped me grow and mature as a person. I’ve always taken a firm stance on being honest, and I’ve thought that being upfront and allowing for open discourse about your feelings is a part of being honest with yourself and others. Honesty is the best policy, right? But recently, I’ve been been challenged to protect myself (and others) from any of the repercussions that result from these talks of honesty by withholding my feelings and choosing to suppress them in order to prevent any sharp turns in relationships with the people I care about. And, in case you were wondering, yes, I am actively trying to avoid using a specific cheesy term from a very popular Disney movie.

I’ve been told that I’m often too “point blank” with my feelings. I’m a person who feels SO MUCH and goes crazy if I don’t share, express, or explain these feelings I have about the someone/something. It’s just the way that I find myself able to process and overcome these harbored emotions (as you all already know through my rants and literally everything else in this blog). This can be seen in my experiences with having crushes and feeling compelled to ask someone out or tell them that I like them even though I know the evidence shows that the odds of feeling the same way or accepting my feelings are slim. I also have a track record of stirring up a ruckus in my family by addressing how I feel about an issue, or someone’s tone of voice, or an unnecessary comment that was made about the As, Bs, and Cs in my lifestyle. I just have this instinctive need to let it all out in order for this wave of relief to settle in, and I also want the immediate “yes,” “no,” “stop,” “go,” “I’ll change,” “I won’t,” “we can’t,” “we shouldn’t,” “let’s move forward,” “let’s just be friends,” “let’s never speak again,” strict and decisive answers from these conversations. But recently, I’ve hit a wall. In a couple of circumstances, I know that sharing my feelings could mean the probable end to a relationship with people that I care about, and I’m not sure if I’m ready to risk those bonds in exchange for temporary emotional relief. I used to unquestionably trust the way I feel and trust that I must be feeling someway for a reason– one that requires action in order to benefit a situation by clearing a path towards resolution– but now I’m not too sure. For the first time in a long time, I’m now so unsure of what to do with my feelings because I’m scared of the damage they could cause.

I’m just so indecisive of what to do with the way I feel now. I’ve been put in a position where I am now realizing the trouble that comes with being emotionally self-aware. I know that acting upon what I feel could be really dicey, especially considering the time it takes to pick up the pieces after the storm settles, but I feel stagnant in these relationships where I have to restrain myself from putting my feelings into the mix in order to maintain the peace. I’m just sitting on my hands, trying to convince myself that keeping these feelings pent-up and restraining even the smallest twitch of an eye is what other, typically-aware people do when confronted with the dark, unrelenting chasm of reality. Not going to sugarcoat this, it’s pretty painful. I’m just not too confident in the idea that this tendency is actually “bad.” Like, how bad could it be to be so willingly honest within emotional contexts? I go back and forth on this all the time, and I’m starting to reach the conclusion that it’s not the willingness to share your feelings that’s the issue; it’s the why.

What am I hoping for when I’m emotionally open with another person? Why do I put myself out there over and over, making myself vulnerable to life’s punches in return of my honesty?

I’m still trying to figure out the root of the why, but I think it’s because, in addition to feeling a wave of relief after opening up to someone about my feelings, I also want that reciprocation. To some capacity, I also expect someone to be vulnerable with me because I’ve allowed myself to be read like a book and lay out my emotions in large-print text so that there’s no possible misinterpretations of intent or mistaken persuasions. I want people to see and understand my feelings because I wish it was something I could easily have in return. I also don’t like it when people make situations so difficult to decipher. When was the last time you wished decoding someone’s language and behavior was easier? We like to sneak around passive-aggressives and pretend that everything is alright without ever confronting someone to seek resolve. Why? Because we’re so accustomed to playing mind-games that being so straight-forward about what we actually think and feel has become such an anomaly.

I believe the issue now is how much I am willing to gamble for that emotional reciprocation and relief (assuming there is any). I’m tired of carrying this giant sack of emotional potatoes over my shoulders, but I’m also tired of constantly getting shutdown by people who don’t really know how to handle the emotions I put forth. So, instead of choosing to set the feel-y, teary bloodhounds free, I’m tugging on their leashes, paralyzed with this indecisiveness, and calculating every possible outcome and whether or not it’s worth it. This leads to the question of “if not now, then when?” When is it the right time to let your emotions roam free, and is there very a right time? What is the point that leads someone to the decision to share their burdensome feelings with others, and is it selfish to put someone in a strange/awkward position of receiving these feelings despite the immediate satisfaction it might give you?

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