Nearly every day, my mind plays the same draining tape: “You are lazy. You accomplish nothing. You should be ashamed.”
Eight or nine hours worked six days every week? They don’t count. Any preparation for my masters program this coming autumn? It wasn’t enough. Any cleaning or other task? I should have done it weeks ago.
I was able to go to Shanghai Disneyland which was wonderful.
Knowing limits is good. I need to remember that I do not have the superpower of speed to get ready for the day in five minutes. Nor can anyone read minds. We cannot fly, breathe under water, live without food or water, etc. Limits can be helpful.
However, they can also be a hinder. So many times, I have let limits on myself – whether inflicted by me or others – that have hurt me. There were things that I was and wasn’t, limits set and dreams shattered.
This past year has shown me that I am more than my limitations. I need to stop living bound to my past or my struggles.
2017 was filled with many challenges but so much growth.
When I look back at the year 2017, my head spins a bit. So much happened in a fairly short time. My life changed dramatically as I moved from Florida to China in 2016, settled there more in 2017, and then moved back to the USA.
However, I changed even more than my geographical location. Not understanding a word around me but having to find my own apartment and find directions taught me to ask for help even if I looked clueless. Teaching children and planning creative lessons taught me to trust myself more as a leader and artist. Working with children and feeling alone in a new culture taught me that I did want a family one day. Having a happy relationship continues to teach me that I’m lovable with all my quirks and faults.
Throughout youth group and college chapels, the ideas of modesty and purity were drilled into my head. Even at a younger age, I was already being told what I shouldn’t do or wear or say. Being good was one of my main goals in life, so I took all of these lessons extremely seriously and still do.
However, one talk that no one in my youth group ever gave me was how to stay safe. No one spoke about abuse, assault, or manipulation at my university. If the concept of safety even came up, it was quickly glossed over as one of the pros of being modest or acting like a good girl. Thus, all I could discern about staying safe was the more innocent and pure I was, the safer I would stay.
My feet are firmer on the ground than previous times in my life. My heart does not trip over itself while scrambling to get away from a new person quite as often. My smile usually feels real instead of plastered onto my face.
Yet, there are still moments when the shaking starts. When my head begins to whirl and my breath comes in rapid puffs. When I feel like if I see another person or anyone touches me, I will break down in tears.
Living in recovery (or at least attempting to) is strange. At times, the current sweeps you under and pins you under the water until you feel your lungs about to burst. Other times, the water seems like a calm pool, perhaps even enjoyably cool and refreshing.
Then there are days, weeks, months, years when you are just treading the water. You aren’t about to drown, but your feet certainly do not touch the ground to stabilize you. Each recovery-based choice takes considerable effort and seems like a waste most of the time. However, making those healthy choices is not impossible.