There are times I feel like I am hiding from the world, from people I know, from people close to me, from myself and from God. I know that I am in a place in my life where I am transitioning my mind, my well being and my interactions with the world around me, but there are days like today when I wake up and wonder what it is that I’m feeling and why I don’t like it. There is a certain panic attached to this feeling.
I know it’s an irrational fear based upon things I cannot control, but it is a panic nonetheless. I feel this need to do something fast, do something in a committed manner and do it now to prevent rational things from occurring due to my irrational fears. I feel like there are things I want in life and when I don’t get them, I try and create some way to make myself feel better. And, sadly, many of those things are superficial. It’s like being an alcoholic and filling the proverbial hole in my soul with booze – eventually, you realize it just doesn’t work.
I think, on some level, I am at a place in my life where I find that I feel inadequate about a lot of things in my life and fighting desperately to make myself feel better as a means to compensate for that. For example, lately, I have been working physics problems. Yes, I pulled out my college physics text book from 30 years ago and made a commitment to work every single problem in the book. Four weeks later, and I’m not even half way through chapter two’s problems. And as I woke this morning and began thinking about what I was really doing: I’m trying to convince myself I’m still intelligent. I have this fear – irrationally – that I have gotten dumber (I actually hate using this term, but I couldn’t think of a word to use for the moment) over time. I feel like my degree in Chemical Engineering no longer matters because I’m not finding good paying jobs. So, I wanted to try and reclaim that aspect of who I am; I wanted to reclaim my intellect. I felt inadequate about my intelligence and I wanted to prove to myself that I’m still smart.
It seems silly, but I have been doing things like this a lot lately. I feel a need to prove to myself that I have worth, because I am not feeling very worthy in most areas of my life. I feel like I might have been trying to hide how I feel about myself – hiding my inadequacies, by deflecting away from how I feel about things in general. I’m avoiding how I feel. I do this in my marriage. I have done this in my profession. I have done this in my faith. I have done this in my parenthood. And it has me thinking that maybe nothing I believe about myself is really all that authentic. Or are they?
But that is the real inadequacy, isn’t it? The real inadequacy is losing the ability to understand yourself. It’s losing the ability to see yourself in a good light or in a positive way. It’s the “guck” of your life interfering with the luster, I think. And as I write this and make the realization that I need to focus on the flecks of bright light I see within myself, I feel a little better than when I began. Maybe it’s not that inadequacies should be hidden, because they are a part of who we are, but maybe they need to be overshadowed by the bright little pretty lights we all have. Maybe those lights need to be shined a little more brightly.
Pardon me, while I pat myself on the back a little…
…and shine a little too.