Why I think I’m failing at life when I’m actually totally killing it.

Alternate title: Hopeful. by Marina Vitale on Unsplash

Maybe you can relate.

I wake up and my heart is still racing. I wonder if I even slept. Yesterday held a few disappointments. Yesterday was a good day for lessons. Lessons about communication and clarification, the importance of asking questions and having as many details as possible.

I’m glad it’s Friday, but I’m still disappointed in myself for feeling like I’ve wasted half of this week. I’ve been getting stuck in unhealthy thought patterns — losing time comparing myself to others, remembering wounds, judging myself and others, feeling sad. I feel behind. Everyone else seems to be crushing the game while I’m still searching for my footing.

It was seven years ago this week I experienced a horrific trauma. The trauma itself only lasted a week, but the affects are still with me. It was a week full of fear and doubt and incredible challenges. I spent a week in the hospital with my friend who suffered a head injury leaving him in a vegetative state. They ran scans and tests to determine his level of brain activity before offically announcing that there was none. On Friday of that week, he would undergo surgery to extract his still functioning organs for donation and would later be unplugged from life support.

Myabe you have a similar tale of trauma or maybe you can’t relate at all. It doesn't matter. If you haven’t gone through anything in life yet, I assure you that you will sooner or later. I don’t mean to scare or alarm you, but life is a funny, beautiful, painful, unpredictable thing.

This was not my first experience with trauma, but it was the most intense and the one that tends to haunt me the most. I have to remind myself how strong and brave I was this week seven years ago, and how strong and brave I still am. I’ve done so much in seven years, earned a masters degree, traveled to two continents, started a business.

The fear I had seven years ago stays with me, more than the other emotions. The fear is paralyzing at times. What if things don’t work out? They might not, just like I feel that things aren’t working out as well as they could be this week. The thing about life is we just don’t know.

I survived a trauma. I still get distracted by details of the past and demons I haven’t conquered yet. It’s a lifelong journey of processing and growing. I’m trying. Sometimes all we can do is try. I fear more the day I’ll stop trying.

I meditate — 115 days in a row now. I go to counseling. I paint and work on personal projects. I haven’t written as much as I wanted to this week. Today is still very early and there’s always tomorrow. I think I spend too much time in the self and it’s not healthy. Our demons do not dwell outside of ourselves. And we have to get out of ourselves to see clearly, to live purely. I want so much more than this life has afforded me thus far. I’m not sure if my dreams are too big or if my desires are greed. I want more so I can give more and do more; I never feel like I’ve done enough. Maybe this is the fear talking, discounting my successes.

Maybe you can relate.

If you feel fear or feel behind in life because of something that happened, I have some words for you, which are often the words I tell myself. Even if you’re crawling through quicksand to move forward, you’re still moving forward. Those other people may be flying foreward in their path, but we all have different paths. Don’t get affected by those others. You’re still doing it. And by the simple act of doing, you’re also killing it. Everyone will start something. Not everyone will finish. Attempting to create somethng is hard; staying with it takes courage. So by simply doing, you’re one step closer to finishing.

Am I self sabotaging by getting distracted in my fear? Maybe. Stranger things have happened. But I continue to try everyday. And that, I don’t think, is an act of sabotage at all. It’s grit and determination and it’s heart. When it’s so easy to get distracted and sidetracked and caught up in everything under the sun, past, present, and future (which will inevitably happen), the simple act of trying again later or the next day is an accomplishment. The power is already in you. The power is already in me.

Artist. Entrepreneur. Sustainability Advocate. Musings on the intersections of life, the environment, art, & fashion. www.sewnapart.com

Artist. Entrepreneur. Sustainability Advocate. Musings on the intersections of life, the environment, art, & fashion. www.sewnapart.com