The plan was simple, wasn’t it?
The plan you made years ago. The one that involved studying and working, qualifying and practising. It had seemed so simple, so pure, like one of those luxury white marble top kitchens - all expansive space with perfect accent touches. Open. Clean. Relaxed. Ready.
Does your life feel like that marble topped kitchen now, all white and sparse and disinfected ready for use, that slight smell of Zoflora hanging in the air.
Or does it feel more like the cramped and filthy kitchen of a cat lady hoarder? Filled with tat and rubbish and things that are being saved for a rainy day or for best or for just in case?
Life is just like the washing up, it tends to pile up whilst you’re not looking. So whilst you were busy looking left to cross the street some magician performed a sleight of hand to your right and filled in your diary with appointments, filled your nights with terrors about your to do list and someone somewhere set a never ending alarm tone that sounds suspiciously like your phone’s ringtone.
Ring, ring ring, more work, more demands, more screaming why haven’t you done it already.
It’s noisy, and it’s filled with absolute shit you do not need; one more committee meeting about something that nobody actually gives a fuck about but that you went to because no-one else volunteered and someone had to do it.
It’s a noisy and it’s dirty, getting covered in the sweat and blood and tears from everyone else around you.
And all the time it’s clawing at your throat and you’re struggling to breathe through all the fear and panic and worry and doubt.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
It wasn’t supposed to be so complicated.
It wasn’t supposed to be so LOUD.
It wasn’t supposed to stink like this.
The plan was simple. Study, qualify, work, be happy.
What the hell happened to Happy? Probably fucked off with the other dwarves when they realised you were less Snow White and more Maleficent waiting to happen.
You can feel it day by day.
The essence of who you were slipping away. The causes you were so passionate about and still think about occasionally but never have the time or energy to devote to.
All the things wrong with the world waiting to be fixed but who are you to do that when you can barely function in your own life, who are you to get shit sorted?
Every day you slip a little further from who you thought you were and you’re disappointed.
Disappointed in what is happening.
Disappointed in the work you do.
Disappointed in everyone around you.
Disgusted at yourself, at your inability to hold your shit together for a single minute more.
But here you are.
Barely breathing in the tiny space you take up.
Whilst every day more and more of the things that made you you slip away.
The needs that go unmet.
The wants you dare not speak.
The endless, relentless feeling that somewhere, sometime, you picked the wrong door.
You switched to someone else’s path along the way because this life, this mess, this fucking unholy crater you keep falling in to.
Well, this can’t be mine? This can’t be meant for me?
I’ve worked too hard for too long for this to be where I end up.
In this hole that I can’t seem to climb out of, but damned if I’m not digging it deeper every single day.
And deep down in some dark part of your soul, you long for something to change it, to shake it up, to make it all different.
You’ve tried to make a difference, you’ve tried to change it up, but you don’t dare burn it to the ground, start from ground zero so instead you dust here and adjust there and really you know that all you’re doing is moving the same dirt around the floor, shifting it from here to there but never getting it clean.
So instead there’s this dark longing within you that something will happen. That God, or the universe, or some asshole who isn’t looking where they’re going will make it change. That something, somehow, will shake it all to the foundations.
Oh you don’t want anything too bad to happen and you would never admit it out loud but god, please god, you just want permission to stop. To sleep. To hide away from the world and create your cocoon. Maybe if you did that for long enough, a day or two, you would emerge and become a beautiful butterfly.
Maybe then you would be worthy of the clear white kitchen with the marble counter tops that smell faintly of Zoflora or Milton or happiness.
Maybe then you would be worthy of someone else noticing just how much you’re struggling and of their time to ask ‘how are you doing?’
Maybe then, when the stakes were higher and you were less of a mess, you would reach out to someone and say ‘hey, I’m struggling, can you help?’
But you won’t.
Because you’re ashamed.
Because you think you’re the only one struggling like this.
And you know that other people have it so much worse and who am I to say this and who am I to complain. After all there are people who would die to have a life like mine. Or at least, a life they think is mine.
Because isn’t that the problem?
That everyone else thinks you have the beautiful expansive expensive kitchen with the disinfected white marble counter tops and the beautiful, tasteful accent touches.
Whilst you’re convinced that you’re actually a mess, not even a cute flakey mess, but a great big festering pile of problems, that no-one would like or love if only they knew.
We all feel like this, anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar.
We all feel like we could be doing so much more.
We all feel like we could have our shit so much more together, with shinier hair and a perkier butt and a whiter smile.
I want you to know that you are perfect just as you are, even with everything you can barely bring yourself to admit you hope and desire for.
You don’t need to cover up your mess in order to be worthy.
You’re completely worthy as you are.
What I do know is that he longer you sit there, confused and overwhelmed and sinking into the crater, the longer it takes to recover, the more difficult it becomes. Not because you’re not worthy or not loved, but because not asking for help becomes a habit. Feeling like you don’t deserve it becomes the story you repeat 1,000 times a day and, unless you reach out and tell someone how you feel, there’s no counter-narrative. There’s no-one there to hold up the mirror and show you what they see instead of what you hate.
The longer you sink into unworthiness and uncaring for yourself and struggle, the more compounded it becomes.
And the single biggest lie you’ll ever tell yourself is that you have to have your shit together in order to be enough, in order to ask for help, in order to laugh at the ridiculous stupidity of the ubiquitous struggles we all experience and how obstinately we refuse to help ourselves, as we kill ourselves to help others.
You deserve more than to struggle alone.
You deserve more than to sink.
You deserve more than to think you’re alone.
You deserve more than to wait until you’re perfect to admit you’re not.
Yes, it’s vulnerable and scary.
That’s why we’re here for you, waiting.
Are you going to let yourself be seen?
Or are you going to continue hiding in the crater you’ve made for yourself?
The choice is yours.
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