CANDACE STEVENS BOEHM
THE BAJA POST/STAFF WRITER
I’ve been asking myself that a lot. A lot. I spent the last year writing and expressing and opening up and being vulnerable. Writing became my outlet. My therapy. My purging and promising and holding myself accountable. I started to hope and set goals and started really living for the first time in a long time. It felt like climbing the tallest mountain and finding the most beautiful view that you knew was there but had just never seen before. I became who I always wanted to be.
So what the hell is wrong with me now? Where are the words? I know the story is there. I know the lessons are there. I just don’t know how to say it. I don’t know if I can say it. I am struggling with this. I’m struggling because I don’t want to admit what I know is true. I don’t want to talk about what I know is true. I don’t want to stay I stopped moving forward. I don’t want to admit I took steps backwards. Several steps backwards. I don’t want to be this me again.
This me doubts everything. Am I good enough? Am I messing up? I know I’ve disengaged. Am listening to my own children and hearing what they say? Am I making the most of all the moments I have with them. I don’t think I am. Am I walking into my classroom and being the best version of myself I can? Am I making a difference? Am I making the kind of difference I am capable of and have made in the past. I don’t think I am. Am I focusing on living and being present and appreciating everything I’ve got? No. I’m definitely not.
This me is surviving. I’m existing. I hate that. I’m getting through each moment. Each hour. Each day. But I’m not enjoying my time. I’m not laughing. That really sucks. Laughing is important. So is smiling and having fun. I went to work last week one day and my only goal was that I was going to just enjoy my students. Just smile with them. Just have fun. We didn’t. I didn’t. I got stressed out and hung up on everything that wasn’t done and everything I needed to get done. I cut out the fun activity and I got the paperwork done I needed to, but it wasn’t fun. It’s really too bad it worked out that way.
This me is afraid. Afraid of every damn thing. I know this me very well. This was who I was for a very long time. Hiding behind a smile. Hiding behind the expectations. Creating an image, a life, a picture that just wasn’t true. Being strong and capable and keeping it all together for others to see, but falling apart in the moments I was alone. I don’t want to be that me again. That scares me. It scares me more than anything.
That is the fear that keeps me focused on the ground I lost. The steps backwards. The pain. The frustrations. The anger. The helplessness. The focus on everything around me that isn’t good. That isn’t right. That I can’t control. And you know what it’s been exhausting. It’s not realistic. It’s not attainable. It’s just not good for me.
So I’m not where I want to be. I took steps backwards. I’m a little stuck, but maybe sometimes we need to sit in the dark and maybe sometimes we need to stay there awhile. Maybe sometimes the strongest and the bravest thing you can do is just hold your ground. So I am going to just be where I am right now. Own my shit. Cry if I feel like crying. Yell if that feels better. Control what I can. Pray. Maybe pray some more. Sit down. Relax. Survive. Accept.
And you know what? It already feels a little better. A little lighter. Maybe the laughter is the shitshow that I’m in or maybe it’s knowing they are my monkeys and this is my circus. But I’m laughing. Maybe the smiles come from the repeated times I think “Seriously”, “Not again”, and “Oh Good Lord” every single day. But I’m smiling. Maybe the strength comes from accepting I can be patient and I can wait. Maybe the words aren’t here yet, but they’re coming.
Last time I rushed to the top of the mountain and couldn’t wait to write about everything I saw at the top. It was amazing and beautiful. It was living. I will climb back to the top of that mountain and I will see those views again. I know it. But I also know the journey will be a little slower and a little harder and I’m going to be pretty worn out, but I’m doing to do it. And when I do, I’m pretty convinced the words I find may be the most powerful ones yet.