It has been hell of a week, month, year. So far most of it has been hell ish. I feel as if I am growing at the speed of light and shedding a skin I was oh so comfortable living in. I like comfort, security, safety, certainty. I always have. I seek it out the way a fish does water, but in trying to find it I sometimes hurt myself, I sometimes hurt others.
Ever since I was a little girl I have been running away from something, or towards something, I am not sure which but it is safe to say I run. I have run across the world in my quest for this certainty. Twice! And yet here I am again on the other side of some destruction I have caused feeling anything but certain about, well anything.
I have an abundance of self-awareness. A curse and a blessing. Self-awareness is vital in the work that I do and in my professional life it serves me well but in my personal life I fear it causes me more harm than good. I dig deep. I look deep. I pull things apart, myself apart, others apart. I do this to grow, to learn, to aspire, to become unstuck. Sometimes this brings joy and happiness and peace of mind and other times it brings what I have now. Pain and fear and regret.
I hate regret. It is the hardest of all things to navigate. Regret usually involves choices that cannot be unchosen and this is where the pain lies. Sometimes we choose things that are the best for us, sometimes the best for others. We believe these choices to be the only way forward when we choose them but the emotional fallout after the fact can take us off guard teaching us that maybe we have made a mistake. Maybe I have made a mistake. Maybe I have chosen badly. Maybe in my quest for certainty I sacrificed something that was vital to my exisitence. I chose to ignore what is in hindsight the solution to it all, the uncertainty of things.
A wise man pulled this out of me last week. He didn’t have to pull very hard. My stitches had unraveled long before I sat in his chair. “Let’s talk about uncertainty”, he said. “Why”, I asked. “Because this is where your freedom is”, he replied. And so followed a painful, powerful, joyful quest of discovery that took a lot of courage on my part to take down off the shelf my book of fear, open it up on my chapter of uncertainty and begin to read the words. The words were decades old. They have been a part of my story since before I was born. Generations of women before me carried them, moulded them to their bodies and passed them down through the ages to me. I did not ask for most of them. Most of us do not. We are products of the words that come before us. We are products of someone elses fears, hopes, dreams, as my son is of mine. That is the way we work. We try to pass only the good, the hopeful, but we cannot help pass the pain, the confusion, the uncertainty and I was handed an armful.
I cannot remember ever feeling comfortable with the feelings that uncertainty brings. The panic, the fear, the unshakeable worries. I used to sit halfway up the stairs at night when I was seven listening to hear the sound of my parents voice through the door, unable to slumber until I was certain they were OK. I have lived all my life from this place on my step that was half way up the stairs. Stuck between the light at the top and the darkeness at the bottom. I have craved certainty all of my days and I became comfortable living my life from this place trying very hard not to rock the boat, not to allow the uncertain feelings come my way. I had become a champion of sorts, a champion only to myself it seems as I now try to figure out why.
Things stay in our lives mostly unnoticed if they keep working for us. It is only when a pattern we have, a choice we make stops working that we sit up and pay attention because it will probably have brought with it some kind of chaos, some kind of pain. This is how I know that my pattern, my choice, my need to remain half way up the stairs no longer serves me because it hurts. God, it hurts like hell. I sought the certainty I thought I needed only to find that all along it has been the bearer of bad news my chapters filled with missed opportunities, lost loves, broken dreams. Could it be that the freedom I seek lies in the uncertainty of things? A wise man who knows me well would suggest so.
How then do I peel myself off of my step on the stairs and walk the steps with uncertainty? I have been sitting here for most of my life. It is safe, it is familair and my God is it certain. But I am lonely here on my own halfway up the stairs and I don’t want to be lonely anymore. It looks like it is time to stand up and face this uncertainty I fear, this uncertainty I seek. It’s funny how they can exist side by side, the fear and the hope. The certain and the uncertainty. I never noticed until now.
I cannot undo the pain I have caused trying to stay in my certain. I wish I could but it is not mine to fix anymore. What I can do now is try my best to take the steps to the top of the stairs where all things uncertain lie. To be brave, to write a new chapter, one in which I am no longer afraid to take chances, to follow my heart and not my head and to learn to be ceratin that the freedom I seek lies in the uncertainty of things, a place I never looked in until now.