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Monday, June 6, 2016

The Courage it Takes to Press "Enter"
& the Friends Who Help You Get There

It started last Saturday night.

This pressing. This feeling of overwhelm and the inability to get a good, deep breath in while I was asleep. I leaped out of bed, ran to the living room and threw open the sliding door to our balcony and stood there.

Taking quick breaths. Breathing fog as thick as cotton candy.

This had happened before. Once in college. Another time in graduate school. This feeling that something – this unfinished task, this unfulfilled dream – was chasing me. Gnawing at my heels.

You're not there, yet.

You're crazy to even try.

There are others out there. Doing the same thing. Only better.

Most days, the good days, I can recite a Bible verse. Read a few chapters of a Shauna Niequist book. Maybe throw on a few Bethel songs for good measure. And I speak to these thoughts like how I speak after I've fallen down:

I'm good.

I'm okay.

I'm not hurt.

Just a little banged up.

If I don't talk about it, I'm fine.

But the heat of the moment, the middle of the night caught me off guard. I yelled my husband's name and he stood beside me in the dim light of the living room. Watching me, sleepy, concerned. We watched a few episodes of Frasier together, the cool blue light from the television sparking our tired faces awake.

Until we drifted off. Too tired to be afraid to fall back asleep.

These late twenty-something days are busy with work, and words, and phone dates and emails and scheduled Tweets and Bible studies and rehearsal and running schedules, and meal plans and laundry loads and somehow, yearning to pursue writing. To have time to carve out moments of the day just to sit and get lost. In words. In launching them into the blogosphere.

And yet, still feeling that in so many areas, I'm letting the people I love down. By not being there. By trying to meet goals and deadlines in the sanctuary of the after hours. By shooting off texts that feel half-baked. By missing birthday parties because something came up. By feeling that no matter what, it's never enough. I'm not doing, I'm not being enough.

All the while feeling guilty that this season, with lack of any real struggle (apart from first-world problems) has been stressful.

I've thought about going back to counseling.

It's the first step, isn't it? Thinking about doing something?

And while there's no condemnation for going to counseling (I'm a big fan, and a firm believer that everyone in their early twenties should go, just to check-in), there's something more to it that requires a little more...thought this time. The thought of going back. Again. Retreating.

It's making me stall out.

I remember the woman I was when I went the first time. I'd entered a relationship with a boy who was engaged to someone else. It wasn't me. It wasn't who I wanted to be. It wasn't who I thought I'd become when I was a little girl.

I was fed up with myself and my choices. And I wanted to understand why. Why was I living and behaving this way? What was it about myself that made it a game to see if I could hurt others in the late, lonely hours?

I wanted to understand all of it.

So, I went. I cried. The hour flew by. And I went again, and again, and again. Once every week. Then every other week. Then maybe once a month. Until things were right. Until I was strong. And I truly believe that what I learned from sharing and unearthing my struggles with a stranger-turned-friend.

Now, life looks completely different. I'm figuring out life with a forever-partner. I have a job I enjoy. Friends I adore. A church community that loves and supports me - and gives me opportunities to love and support them back.

And I can't figure it out: why this unrest? Why this feeling of not living up to my potential? Of letting everyone down? Why the resistance? This person could help. This person could alleviate the emotional pressure. This person could remind me to breathe every once in a while.

I have the email drafted in my inbox. My fingers have hovered over the "enter" key for the past few weeks. And I'm lucky to have friends who encourage me to press "send." To begin a new journey without shame or doubt.

Even with this blog, there have been times when I've hesitated to push publish. Knowing that I'm sharing one of my more vulnerable moments. Knowing that I might regret what I say. Knowing it might be too much.

This is definitely one of those moments.

But I know that so often, we all need a gentle push, a nudge, someone saying that it's okay. It's okay not to have it all together, no matter what your life might look like to the outside world. No matter how dependent you are on your reputation, or resting on the fact that you've healed from one wound, and are trying to ignore another. For the sake of being fine. For the sake of feeling accomplished.

I'm here to say, just as many of my friends have coached me: just press send. Press enter. Publish. Whatever it is. Start the healing journey.

And don't forget to breathe.


photo credit: via photopin (license)

photo credit: Little Sister via photopin (license)


Whitney said...

This is a pretty brave thing to talk about. Being open about what your problems are (whether or not you think they are significant or not) will really help other people reach out to you and remind you that you have a circle of friends waiting to aid you. Just from my own experience, at least. Beautifully said! *internet hugs*

Brett W. Tubbs said...

Thanks, new friend! It's scary to put it all out there. But it's true. And I'm thankful for the people who help me be brave <3 If we writers won't say it, who will? :)

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