Life belongs to the brave

Last night’s sleep was filled with nightmares. I don’t normally have them. When I woke up this morning, I was so glad that I was in my bed and had to go to work. I have this dream that repeats whenever I’m obsessing over something. The dream is that I’ve gone through the crucible of my mental health crisis and my parents don’t know what to do with me. I’m not quite ready to be left by myself, so they re-enroll me in high school. In the dream, I’ve already graduated college with my first degree and I’m in my mid to late twenties. I spend my whole dream trying to find how to not be forced to go through high school all over again. I try to explain to the teacher doing lunch duty that I don’t belong there. One time when I had this dream, I was trying to explain to the school counselor that I needed to go home. I told her I didn’t want to get in trouble for being in high school with teenagers when I’m an adult and I’m not there because I want to be. Once again, I’m shot down and told to go back to whatever class I was in. This dream is representative of a situation that I’ll be experiencing in my waking hours where I don’t feel listened to. I can see disaster creeping ever closer and whoever I’m trying to warn won’t listen. During the dream, I feel an overwhelming sense of panic and being trapped. I just want to find a way out and be left alone. I also have dreams where I’m part of a missing person search. One dream that repeats is about a girl who went missing on the beach. They have found a part of a shoe, but aren’t sure if it’s hers. With this dream, there’s a sense of never getting closure. There’s never anything to tell me or anyone else trying to find this missing girl what happened to her. Not having answers is something that drives me crazy. I like everything to be logical.

I recently had a situation where I experienced an overwhelming sense of not truly being heard and not having answers for why things ended the way they did. I was seeing someone for about six weeks and I thought it was going well. I could tell he was having a hard time making space in his head and heart for me. I brought this up to him and he told me it would be fine, he was working on it. We had this conversation at least twice and I was shushed both times. I had this deep sense of foreboding. When it comes to me being in romantic relationships, I’m direct with you. If you decide that you would rather ignore what I’m saying because it’s inconvenient or you just don’t have the space to hear it, the relationship will be destroyed soon or later. I can only be honest and vulnerable so many times without being listened to before I’m ready to run for the hills. There was what I would call a come to Jesus conversation this morning. I knew how he took my concerns and my being upset would determine how we proceeded. I always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I was reminded that I’m not a focal point in his life whatsoever, I must fit around the life he already has. There was no empathy, understanding, or validation. It was clear I was being put in my place. 

I always have this hope when it comes to last-ditch efforts in romantic relationships, that there will be a rom-com moment. The guy will realize he was such an idiot about x, y, or z. There will be a moment of self-reflection and they’ll apologize. Even if it’s not the typical ending where the relationship is reconciled, there will at least be closure and answers. I was disappointed on both fronts. The relationship went up in flames or circled the drain, whichever metaphor you prefer. I thought there would be a bit of effort put into the conversation. The amount of callousness that was present astounded me. I don’t think I’ve felt so disposable in a long time. I was willing to do a lot for that relationship and I was told to do more. Take up less space. I had found the source of the nightmares the night before. Once the conversation was over, I felt infinitely better. 

The longer I try to date and just understand people in general, the more I’m surprised how many people are willing to see destruction and do nothing to avoid it. They don’t show up emotionally and invest in the people who are trying to get to know them. The more I have the experiences, the more I want to be the opposite. I want to listen to people when they tell me something I’m doing is distressing them and address it the best I can, even if I have to make sacrifices. I don’t want to avoid vulnerability because it hurts. I want to show up and be present each day. I don’t regret the time I spent with this person or the nice things I did while we were seeing each other. I ended up being hurt, not chosen, and disposed of. There’s a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that has been speaking to me lately “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great …”. I encourage anyone who reads this, to choose bravery, vulnerability, grace, and dignity. The credit for a life well lived belongs to you. 


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